On Saturday the new documentary ‘The Whale,’ a film about an orphaned orca named Luna looking for human friendship, premiered in the capital of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn.
Why not L.A.? N.Y.? A place where celebrities could line up on the red carpet to show their support? The film is narrated by Ryan Reynolds and has Scarlet Johansson as an executive producer so they’re not exactly lacking star power.
Turns out it was a decision to further the cause. The Faroe Islands are known for their annual pilot whale hunt. About 800 pilot whales are killed each year for food, even though the Islands’ medical officers have warned that the whale meat contains dangerous levels of mercury, PCBs and DDT residues. However, at this point, the hunt is still considered to have cultural significance. The Faroese Animal Protection Organization invited ‘The Whale’ to premiere on the island to bring more attention to the issue.
Ecorazzi has been in touch with the co-directors of the film and they offered us this exclusive take on how the film was received. (Stay tuned for early next month when we’ll have an exclusive interview with the film’s directors Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisholm!)
Suzanne Chisholm, the co-director of the film, told us about the premiere, “I had no idea what to expect – there’s a lot of tension here over the issue of the pilot whale hunts. Sea Shepherd ships are patrolling the shores, and nobody likes being told what to do by foreigners. But here I was, a foreigner, premiering a film which shows a whale as a friend, not food.”
Chisholm went on to say about the success of the event, “But there was a great crowd, and they applauded loudly, and then a bunch of kids and adults came up afterward for autographs and Luna postcards. It really did feel like a world premiere. They loved it. And they loved Luna. Maybe that’s because THE WHALE doesn’t tell you what to do. It just tells a story about the strongest of emotions, about friendship across boundaries. So maybe what we were doing in the Faroes was connecting heart to heart instead of shout to shout.”
Even more publicity is on its way to the Faroe Islands. Animal Planet has announced a spinoff of ‘Whale Wars’ that will follow how this controversial issue develops. Let’s hope that the premiere is just the first step of many to a new nonviolent relationship with whales in the Faroes.
‘The Whale’ premieres in the USA on September 9th in Seattle. Take it from a girl who was lucky enough to see it early, you’re going to want to watch this film. See the trailer here.