UK/Denmark, 2016; 84 min.
Winner of top awards at the Hot Docs and DOC NYC film festivals, this visually stunning film focuses on the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands during a period of social and environmental upheaval. Long dependent on hunting pilot whales and seabirds for their survival, these descendants of Vikings get a bracing reality check when a longtime doctor discovers their customary diet is slowly poisoning them. With the arrival of Baywatch star and “Save the Whales” activist Pamela Anderson and her Sea Shepherd crew, filmmaker Mike Day observes a community at a critical crossroads and their way of life irrevocably threatened. With "sweeping cinematography," "phenomenal sound design," and "impressive access" (POV Magazine), The Islands and The Whales paints a complex portrait of the struggles between subsistence, tradition, conservation and climate change.
Mike Day is a Scottish director and cinematographer. His debut film, The Guga Hunters of Ness, screened in 2011 on the BBC and internationally. Formerly a lawyer, Day founded Intrepid Cinema in 2009 before setting sail on the North Atlantic to document the last ten Scottish seabird hunters on their traditional annual gannet hunt on the remote island of Sula Sgeir in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. This was the first time since 1959 that the hunters had allowed this hunt to be filmed.
Day was listed as one of 10 filmmakers to watch in 2012 by Independent Filmmaker Magazine. He was also one of the European Documentary Network's 12 for the Future and attended the 2014 Sundance fellows program and labs.