by Elizah Leigh
Categories: Animals, Causes, Film/TV, Internet
Tags: , .

If you’ve ever had a chance to view filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s Academy Award nominated documentary Super Size Me or his equally intriguing television series 30 Days (currently airing on Discovery), then you’re familiar with his strategy of highlighting various angles of hot button topics such as illegal aliens, minimum wage and even living off the grid in order to help viewers obtain more of a balanced stance. Even with the most well-intentioned impartial perspective, it can still be challenging for environmental sympathizers to understand the motivation behind issues such as dumping pollutants into rivers or killing endangered animals for their black market value.

Accidental whale conservationist and filmmaker Malcolm Wright – who launched his unlikely career following a hard to shake dream about “swimming with a school of humpback whales after hitting one in a boat” — takes on an incredibly volatile topic in his new film Whale Like Me which begins shooting next month. With the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) decision to suspend negotiations on a global ban still fresh in our minds, Wright’s film is incredibly timely and will undoubtedly raise more than a few eyebrows.

While it’s one thing to highlight the plight of whales, the African American-naturalized Australian is kicking it up a few notches, first by documenting what it’s like for a someone of native Japanese descent — who is brought up perceiving the annual hunt for whales as a natural part of his cultural heritage and not very different from harvesting “other animals for human consumption” — to literally swim with the whales. Wright will then turn the camera on himself by capturing his experiences as he joins in on one of Japan’s whale hunts and even shares living quarters with a whaling family.

His hope is that Whale Like Me will elicit reconciliation in the IWC community, explaining that,“we have to now shift from a moratorium on sustainability grounds to a moratorium on ethical grounds and at least have an international exchange on the issue and come to a conclusion of some sort.” Take a look at Wright’s film trailer and if you like what you see and want to support his project, sign this Care2 petition, follow him on Twitter and Facebook and cough up a little cash to help him with his filming budget!

Via The Australian

  • Kimitake Hiraoka

    Forgive my cynicism, but it sounds like more of the same anti-whaling sentimentality with a slightly less aggressive but more patronising tone.

    “Shifting from a moratorium on sustainability grounds to a moratorium on ethical grounds” – in other words, “disregard the science and embrace arbitrary sentimentality”.


    I’ll be sure to give it a miss right after I don’t watch Whale Wars.

    • From MN, with hope…

      Well unfortunately it seems the world, or at least this website, is lopsided towards the anti-whaling movement. It will be interesting though. Personally, I want to know more before I’d be interested in seeing it.

    • Malcolm Wright

      Sorry Kimitake, but you are deeply mistaken.

      The shift towards questions of ethics are based in scientific knowledge. Our understanding of cetacean social structures, cognition, neurology and other disciplines are all advancing, and it is based on this knowledge that the ethical questions arise.

      I am very sorry that your own opinions regarding whaling cause you to assume such strange and misguided things about our film – thankfully though, many others see the value in our approach.

      There are prominent pro-whaling voices in our film – just because I am against whaling, does not give you license to consider the film has a patronizing tone. We are going far out of our way to give Japanese perspectives a voice in our international project – the only way this will result in a patronizing result is if those Japanese voices opt of their free will to patronize themselves!

      However to be fair to you, the one constant I have seen in 15 years of working in film and television, is that people love to make assumptions (often negative ones) about media before it is released.