Knights of



"Last Knights of Nature" follows a passionate group of conservationists and scientists, spotlighting their efforts to discover and preserve marine biodiversity. This documentary navigates through multiple scenic locales, from the volcanic islands of Capo Verde to the bustling labs in Tenerife and northern France, encapsulating a broad spectrum of marine research and community involvement.

The film features Jesus, a veteran marine biologist with a lifetime of species discovery, alongside his friends Leo and Carmen, a couple deeply involved in marine conservation. Their journey begins in Capo Verde, where they collect marine specimens with basic yet effective tools, showing a blend of enthusiasm and scientific rigor reminiscent of Darwin's expeditions.

The narrative unfolds with their return to Tenerife, where they join an international scientific mission. They meet scientific divers who look like astronauts and a young self-made submarine pilot.
A brief nostalgic interlude with Checho, an old professor who reminisces about past glories, captures the passing of the torch from one generation to another.

Significant portions of the film are driven by the uncertainties of discovery and the looming question of how many species remain unidentified due to the declining number of taxonomists and rapidly changing biodiversity. The documentary explores how these "knights" of nature come together to combat environmental and funding challenges to unveil the unseen life beneath the waves.

Scenes transition from the rugged landscapes of São Vicente to the technological confines of submersibles and high-tech labs, illustrating a stark contrast between the natural world and human intervention.

A crucial turn in the documentary involves Daniela, a young taxonomist in Brest, Northern France and her efforts to create community-driven research initiatives, promoting a new approach to conservation through public participation. Jesus, Leo and Carmen join her to be part of something bigger, an international community of explorers and scientists who come together to amplify their conservation efforts.
The protagonists of this film are not only human. The microscopic species found become central characters and fill the screen, giving unprecedented access to an until now invisible world.

Through the scientists' experiences, we witness an extraordinary expedition that challenges stereotypes and showcases their deep motivations. These hands-on explorers reveal their passion, and every tiny sea creature they find is a profound step forward.

The documentary underscores a powerful message—we can't protect what we don't know. These undiscovered species offer potential solutions to our terrestrial challenges and serve as crucial indicators of our planet's health, illuminating aspects of our own evolution."


Jesus, the Taxonomist of the mission, has dedicated his entire life to the discovery of new species. In his 50 years of exploration, he has identified nearly 1000 new species, telling a story of an ever-changing world.

Alongside his friends, he has traveled the globe to uncover the missing puzzle pieces, providing insights into our oceans and ourselves.
Scott, the submarine pilot of the mission, was born in Kansas amidst cows and spaceships, always dreamt of becoming an aquanaut exploring the depths of distant oceans.

After selling his wedding event business, he turned his dream into reality by purchasing and refurbishing an old submarine, becoming one of the few submarine pilots in the world.
Daniela, the cybtertaxonomist of the mission, is committed to making the invisible world of our seabeds visible, demonstrating our commonality with these tiny creatures.

She bring the newest technologies in to an otherwise traditional field to illustrate how the ocean might hold solutions to global challenges.
Tardigrades, the ocean's unseen warriors, are tiny powerhouses essential to the marine carbon cycle, transforming organic debris into carbon dioxide with their near-invisible presence.

Thriving in the harsh environment of the ocean floor, these minuscule creatures can turn into crystalline forms to outlast extreme conditions, safeguarding their future generations in a dance of survival and resilience.
Deepsea Shrimps, guardians of hydrothermal vents, inhabit the pitch-black depths of the ocean, thriving in extreme conditions through symbiotic relationships with internal microbes.

Their alien-like adaptations allow them to withstand boiling and freezing temperatures, offering a glimpse into one of Earth’s most isolated and extreme ecosystems.
Foraminifera, the ocean's time capsules, resemble grains of sand but hold ancient Earth's secrets within their shells. These tiny organisms act as  historians, recording ocean temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels throughout their lives by capture carbon into their shells.

As they die, their shells settle on the ocean floor, forming sediment layers that last for millions of years and serve as vital bioindicators of marine health in our changing world.

Film Team

Helene Steiner
Helene Steiner is the director of OpenCell, a company dedicated to lowering the entry-level to biotechnology. Her passion for telling the story of biotechnology has led to collaborations with figures like molecular gastronomy chef Heston Blumenthal and musician Alex James from Blur.

Helene's contributions to science have been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences and have received over 20 international awards and been published in leading journals like Sciences Advances. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including the Pompidou and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

She serves as a Steering Committee member at the SynBio IRC, University of Cambridge and worked in prominent research institutes such as Microsoft Research and MIT Media Lab, the Bauhaus University, Royal College of Art, and Imperial College London.
Jan Stöckel
Co-Director & DOP
Luca Ciriello
Assistant Director & Sound
Luca Ciriello, is an Italian filmmaker from Naples, and member of the European Film Academy (EFA).
His educational journey encompasses a degree in Modern Philology and the completion of a Masters in Cinema at the Naples Film School, "Pigrecoemme." Luca also expanded his expertise in documentary cinema through his studies at Atelier del Cinema del Reale, "FilmAp."

In 2017, Luca initiated the production company "Lunia Film Srl" after securing the MiBACT "Cultura Crea" tender. Luca's current project, "Wasantha, the Snake Charmer," is a testament to his unwavering dedication to capturing captivating stories from diverse corners of the globe.
Lunia Film
Production Company
Lunia Film is a production company founded in 2017 and based in Naples (Italy). It specialises in the ideation, production and post-production of feature-length and short films, mainly concentrating on creative documentaries.

Lunia Film produced several successful projects such as the backstage and social content for the film “Ultras” by Francesco Lettieri, produced by Netflix and Indigo Film, “L’armée Rouge”, a feature documentary which premiered at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence and “Quaranta Cavalli”, a short documentary film which was shown during the Giornate degli Autori at the Venice Film Festival in 2020.
Giulio Gobbetti
Assistant Director & Sound