By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

THE WHALE to Premiere in Whaling Territory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, August 16, 2011 – In a surprising turn in the global fight over the killing of whales, normally fought at sea or in political conference rooms, THE WHALE, a new Ryan Reynolds-narrated documentary about the friendship between humans and a wild orca, will have its world premiere in one of the oldest active whaling communities on the planet, the Faroe Islands, on August 20 in the Islands’ capital city of Tórshavn. It will then be distributed theatrically in the US by Paladin in September.

“We could either have a red-carpet premiere with celebrities at a theater in LA, or we could do something specific to help whales,” said Suzanne Chisholm, the film’s producer and co-director, who will be in attendance at the premiere on behalf of the film. “So when people in the Faroes invited us because they love what this story means, we jumped at the chance.”

The spectacular and remote Faroe Islands archipelago is a self-governing territory of Denmark, located between Scotland and Iceland. The Islands’ traditional pilot whale hunts have recently become the focus of international opposition to whaling. This opposition has dramatically increased this summer with the arrival of an activist ship and television crews.

“Having the world premiere of THE WHALE here will hopefully inspire people, enlighten everyone, raise awareness and increase the understanding of animals,” says Rúni Nielsen, a member of the board of the Faroese Animal Protection Organization, which invited THE WHALE. “The film is a very positive story about a whale. We agree with the theme of the film, that ‘Friendship is bigger than we know.’”

The Faroese Animal Protection Organization protects pets, wildlife, farm, and work animals on the islands.

“I would like to express my deep appreciation to the people of the Faroe Islands who have welcomed us to their country,” said Ady Gil, founder of Ady Gil World Conservation, a sponsor of the event. “They are giving us the opportunity to show the other side of whales, and how compassion can be built between humans and other species.”

“This shows a terrific open-mindedness to new ideas about who whales are and how to respect them,” Chisholm said. “We’re delighted to recognize the open hearts of Faroe Islanders by having the world premiere of The Whale in a place where, in fact, many people think whales are more valuable as friends than as food.”

The film, which rolls out in US theatres starting September 9, tells the astonishing story of what happened in a remote fjord in British Columbia when a young killer whale, nicknamed Luna, lost his family and tried to make social contact with people.

Ric O’Barry, the star of the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove,” describes THE WHALE as “an important film, but it’s also funny and moving and unforgettable. Everyone should see this movie.”

The film is narrated by actor Ryan Reynolds, star of “The Proposal,” “Green Lantern,” and “The Change-Up.” It is executive produced by Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Desatnik, and is distributed by Paladin. Suzanne Chisholm and her husband, Michael Parfit, author of many Smithsonian and National Geographic magazine articles, co-directed the movie.

Hunting pilot whales and other marine mammals is an ancient tradition for the Faroese. Today, on average, 800 pilot whales are taken in the islands every year. The whales are used for food, but in 2008 the Islands’ medical officers announced that the whales’ flesh contained dangerous levels of mercury, PCBs, and DDT residues. However, the hunt continues because of its traditional cultural importance.

Protests against the hunt have increased, and this year outside opposition has been highly organized. Animal Planet has announced that a spinoff to its highly-successful Whale Wars series will focus on the Faroe Islands controversy.

Chisholm, who will attend the world premiere, said she has always seen the Faroes as a special place, and is proud to be visiting with the film.  “The Faroese are facing a tough dilemma,” she says, “How to honor long traditions while adapting to meet the needs of the future. We can think of no better way to show respect for the hard choices faced by these strong northern people than to give them the chance to meet the whale we knew as a friend.

“As the film points out,” Chisholm continues, “contacts with whales who choose to meet with us are probably as close as we can get on Earth to meeting intelligent extraterrestrials. I’m sure the Faroese already know more about the pilot whales here than anyone else on earth, and if they could adjust from killing them to showing all of us how to learn from them, a whole world of scientists and those who love animals would set sail for their shores.”

Pilot whales, like killer whales, are large dolphins. This puts them in the sub-order of whales known as odontoceti, or “toothed whales,” which also include sperm whales, beluga whales, narwhals, dolphins, and porpoises. They are known to have large brains, complex intelligence, culture, and intricate social lives.

For more information about the documentary, please visit http://www.thewhalemovie.com or http://www.facebook.com/thewhalemovie.com.

For more information about the Faroe Islands, please visit http://www.faroeislands.com/.

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7 Responses to “THE WHALE to Premiere in Whaling Territory”

  1. I am so glad that so many people are helping the fight to end whaling. If our oceans die, we die too. I can’t wait to see this film. What a great day for the whales!

  2. PhilBeeNZ says:

    It’s curious and sad that “the Faroese Animal Protection Organization protects pets, wildlife, farm, and work animals on the islands”…but has no worries with the brutality of the grindadrap several times a year.

  3. Doug Williams says:

    I am so happy to see a film that will give whales HOPE. Is there some way to set up undersea projection facilities so that they can see this wonderful film?

  4. Lynn Rubin says:

    This is great news and I’m from Victoria BC where abouts Luna was and when I sail I see beautiful whales and they are wonderful. Whales and dolphins are very important to me and I work for the causes as well as going to a course in Austrailia to be a Marine Mammal Observation and passive acoustics worker and its all about whales and keeping them out of danger!

  5. Sapphire Moon says:

    This is great! But I’d like to know how Ady Gil could do this then turn around and eat whale meat while he was there?????

  6. Annie says:

    Ady Gil didn’t eat whale meat! That’s just a false rumor created by Paul Watson, i guess he’s just jealous of Ady’s success in the Faroes.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin