Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, is seen from the air Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, following a fatal shark attack. Police said a man was found dead in the water Wednesday afternoon after being "bitten by a large shark."
(TMZ)-An award-winning TV and film director was killed in a gruesome shark attack off the coast of New Zealand today ... as authorities grabbed guns and opened fire on the animals.
46-year-old Adam Strange -- who's directed a whole bunch of international commercials for companies like Pepsi and Firestone -- was swimming at a popular NZ beach when a Great White pulled him underwater. According to local reports, at least 3 other sharks were drawn to the attack.
Local police jumped in a small boat and raced over to the scene ... joined by a helicopter. The cops fired at least 20 shots at the sharks, but it was too late.
One shark was reportedly killed in the gunfire ... and its body -- measuring 14-feet long -- washed up on shore a short time later.
As for Strange -- authorities were able to recover his body after the attack.
Strange didn't just direct commercials -- he also won Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009. He leaves behind a wife and small child.