The Narwhal's Wake - Feature Documentary Film
Baffin Bay is home to 90% of narwhals on earth as well as their lone defender: Mayor Jerry Natanine.
Our Documentary Team Needs Your Help to Film Narwhals in the Arctic!
'The Narwhal's Wake' feature documentary film tells the story of Mayor Jerry Natanine of Clyde River, Nunavut and his inspiring crusade to save the threatened narwhals from potential extinction.
In the face of climate change, oil exploration, and seismic cannon blasting the future of this rare whale is in jeopardy. Our documentary team plans on traveling to the Arctic Circle to film narwhals in the wild; feeding, calving, diving, and tusking, as well as the Inuits of Clyde River as Greenpeace Canada trains the community members in peaceful protest techniques before the big showdown with Big Oil.
Seismic Cannon Blasting - the second loudest man-made noise on earth only behind an atomic bomb detonation - is slated to happen in Baffin Bay during the ice free seasons. These blasts will go off every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for the next 5 years. These sounds can liquify marine mammal organs, deafen narwhals, and disrupt ancient migration patterns in an already fragile ecosystem.
It happens that Baffin Bay is home to 90% of narwhals on earth as well as their defender: Mayor Jerry Natanine. People and organizations have rallied around his cause and are supporting his legal fight to stop what he, and the residents of Clyde River, know to be a deadly and deafening practice of oil exploration.
The Clyde River Solidarity Network - composed of Greenpeace Canada, Amnesty International, Idle No More, Emma Thompson, Lucy Lawless, and many more - has rallied around the cause of Mayor Natanine and brought their Inuit Human Rights case to the Canadian Supreme Court. They're not going to allow their waters to be destroyed by the interests of oil & gas exploration at the expense of Clyde River residents survival in the Arctic.
Narwhals are a type of cetacean, or whale, that live in the Arctic. They are unique in that they have a spiraling tooth that protrudes from their head and can be up to ten feet long! Narwhals are the origin of the myth of the unicorn. Vikings used to hunt the narwhals off of Greenland and were very protective of their secret fishing grounds so they would never reveal where they got the tusks from, nor what animal. They would sell these tusks as magical talismans to southern Europeans whom grew to believe that they came from a magical horse with a horn. Thus the myth of the unicorn was born. Narwhals are known as 'the unicorns of the sea,' grow to be about 20 feet long, are the second deepest diving whale, live in pods of 15-20 whales, and migrate from the southern tip of Greenland up to the northernmost part of Baffin Bay in the summer. They are prey to Polar Bears and Walruses and can get trapped by shifting sea ice and lack of breathing holes, called polynyas, to surface and breath in.
'The Narwhal's Wake' Production Team
Our team of experienced documentary filmmakers have come together to bring this fascinating story to the wider world.
Director of Photography Alexander Falk
Our Director of Photography is the acclaimed Alexander Falk. His past credits include; Dream Big (IMAX), Worst Case Scenario with Bear Grylls, America's Great Outdoors (IMAX), American Made Movie, Unceded Lines, & the stunning film Samsara. Falk has filmed large format epic documentaries as well as being very experienced at filming in the Arctic, including aerial and underwater filming, and has previously filmed narwhals and polar bears in 3D for Polar Bears 3D. He received the Canadian Academy Award for Best Cinematography for 'Polar Bears - A Summer Odyssey,' and is well trained in wilderness survival and rescue. All in all, he's amazing!
Producer Catherine Hartwell
Hartwell has helped create content from the isolated Australian Outback to the Amazon basin and now to the northernmost reaches of the Canadian Arctic. Prior to The Narwhal's Wake, recent field work includes the Emmy-Award winning climate change documentary series Years of Living Dangerously and the 2015 Netflix series Cooked based on the work of author Michael Pollan. She has also contributed to CNN’s Death Row Stories and This is Life with Lisa Ling. Hartwell is a Boston University film and television alumni. She prides herself on issue and character driven stories, and loves the challenge of working in remote locations.
Producer Vanessa Bergonzoli
Bergonzoli, an Award-winning producer has managed all stages of production, supervising large crews and international shoots for film, TV, news media, and contemporary art. Three of her most recent projects garnered award recognition: The HBO, Academy Award Nominated documentary Mondays at Racine (2013), the CLIO winning commercial Selfie (2014) for DOVE, and the Emmy Award winning Sesame Street special, Growing Hope Against Hunger (2011). Bergonzoli is a graduate from Emerson College in Boston and received her Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School University in New York.
Scriptwriter Max Botkin
President and Founder of Tasty Pictures, Botkin is a Los Angeles based scriptwriter. His most recent project ‘What Happened to Monday,’ a dystopian science fiction film directed by Tommy Wirkola, starring Glen Close, Willem Defoe, and Noomi Rapace. Botkin will be consulting and advising on crafting the story arc, the narration, and the script.
Producer/Director Ian Rowan
A writer and filmmaker, Rowan has always been close to the ocean. He grew up with the whales of the Pacific Ocean and the dolphin of the Caribbean on a sailboat in central America with his family until he was twelve. A graduate of Vassar College, Rowan has since traveled the world seeking out stories that intrigue and images that evoke, but ultimately transcend, the foreign. Rowan’s writing and photography has appeared in Men’s Journal and Vice Magazine. He has previously worked with Academy Award winning documentarian Cynthia Wade. Rowan is currently a director and producer with Black Powder Works, creating music videos, short comedic films, commercials and impact oriented content for non-profits.
Press Coverage for The Narwhal's Wake.
Risks and challenges
Filming in the Arctic poses a number of challenges. From getting a small crew and a lot of gear up to the Arctic circle via multiple small plane hops, to the expense of each flight (which averages $2500 round trip from Ottawa to Clyde River), limited accommodations in Clyde River (there are only two very small hotels that are $250/night/per person), to guides and support crew to camp out on the ice flow to film narwhals, multiple boats and underwater filming equipment - in freezing cold waters no less - will be a big challenge as the Director of Photography can only be in the water for 10-15 minutes at a time.
And the biggest challenge is to actually find the narwhals - they're very shy and elusive and other film crews that have attempted the feat have waited for weeks on the ice flow for them to come by. We'll have our local guides and traditional knowledge to aide us in finding them but there are no guarantees when it comes to spotting narwhals in the wild.
- (45 days)