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The Islands and the Whales

.
Mike Day / 2016

The whale hunters of the Faroe Islands believe that hunting is vital to their way of life, but when a local professor makes a grim discovery about the effects of marine pollution, environmental changes threaten their way of life forever. As the islanders come to terms with the health revelations, they face increasing pressure from the outside world to stop the whale hunts.


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Running Time: 81/52 min.
Subject(s): Animals, Children, Current Affairs, Ecology, Environment, Food, Health, Nature and Wildlife, Politics
Language(s): Danish, English
Subtitles: English
Director(s):
Producer(s): Minette Nelson, David Eckles
Cinematographer: Mike Day
Editor(s): Mary Lampson, Nicole see all »
Production Company: Intrepid Cinema

Press

  • Mike Day's gorgeous and complexly woven The Islands and the Whales carefully dissects the delicate situation unfolding in the Faroe Islands.
    IonCinema
  • The film is as thought provoking as it is beautiful to behold.
    Independent Critic
  • An enveloping look at a community whose centuries-old way of life may be ending.
    The Hollywood Reporter
  • Despite the title, “The Islands and the Whales” is about people and their precious traditions that are challenged by modern-day pollution and scary messages from scientists. This documentary is captivating and touching, as it goes under the skin of a faraway population and makes you feel the paradoxes that face them. Apart from the beauty of the scenery and the excitement from the dramas, the film provides food for numerous discussions that should stimulate cross-disciplinary student populations, whether from the humanities, political science, medicine, or environmental studies. This film is particularly well suited to expose different perspectives, as there is no finger pointing or finger wagging. It has multiple dimensions, and they are all beautifully depicted.
    Professor Philippe Grandjean, Harvard University

Festival & Awards

  • Doc NYC - 2016
    Winner, Grand Jury Prize
  • HOTDOCS - 2016
    Winner, Best Emerging Filmmaker
  • San Francisco International Film Festival - 2016
  • AFI Docs - 2016

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  • Long Synopsis

    In their remote home in the North Atlantic the Faroe Islanders have always eaten what nature could provide, proud to put local food on the table. The land yields little, so they have always relied on harvesting their seas.

    Hunting whales and seabirds kept them alive for generations, and gave them the way of life they love; a life they would pass on to their children. But today they face a grave threat to this tradition.

    It is not the controversy surrounding whaling that threatens the Faroese way of life; the danger is coming from the whales themselves.

    The Faroese are among the first to feel the affects of our ever more polluted oceans. They have discovered that their beloved whales are toxic, contaminated by the outside world. What once secured their survival now endangers their children and the Faroe Islanders must make a choice between health and tradition.

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