You did it! we hit the target! we're so grateful for your support, and the community that is now built around the film. I'm looking forward to sharing the finished film with you all soon.
Now that we have this funding we can go into the edit and finish cutting the film, then have the sound track composed and an orchestra hired, anything over the 30k is still needed for all of this, we also need to do sound design, graphics, posters, print the film for screening, colour grading, and all the other costs of getting this out to the world, so everything over the target goes into telling this important story.
Thank you and Takk Fyri!
Filmed over four years in the Faroe Islands we gained intimate access to the unseen world of this unique community with a message for us all.
Our story begins in the Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland. Providing traditional local food for the table is a point of pride for many in the Faroes. Seabirds and pilot whales are eaten by the islanders as they have been since their Viking ancestors arrived in the islands around a thousand years ago. But many Faroese believe this way of life may soon end.
Images of the blood-red bays and pilot whale slaughters have been widely publicised. While the Faroese argue that the whales are not endangered, that they are a sustainable local food source, while anti-whaling protestors disagree and arrive to try and stop the hunts.
This film does not take sides on the whaling issue, and whatever your opinion on the pilot whale hunting the reasons why this way of life may be ending should concern us all.
The oceans have become so polluted with mercury, plastics, and manmade chemicals that marine life around the world is contaminated. This pristine far corner of the world are among the first to notice the effects in the whales. A 30-year study of thousands of Faroese children in conjunction with Harvard University has revealed that exposure to these levels of mercury can cause permanent cognitive impairment to those exposed. Children are especially vulnerable. But the problem is not confined to whales, or the Faroes, the same pollutants are also present in very high levels in many species of fish that are eaten around the world, including tuna, swordfish and halibut.
The situation is only set to worsen if the pollution from coal burning power stations and gold mining continues, but there is a positive take away from the film. The Harvard study group also found that the mercury levels will return to normal in a relatively short time if the emissions are cut. The UN is trying to ratify a global treaty to that effect in the next year, so the film is timely to raise awareness in the public of how this affects us all.
Prof. Pál Weihe, a Faroese medical doctor, has tested thousands of Faroese children throughout their lives to discover the effects of eating the pilot whales.
“The Faroes have a very strong argument to accuse the international community of polluting the sea, you have harmed our children. I believe our mission in the Faroes is to document the bill we had to pay, that we had to sacrifice our way of life to protect the health of our children.”
- Prof. Pál Weihe
It is not only the whales that are disappearing from many families' dinner tables. Seabirds also formed a part of the diet, but many species in the islands, including the much loved puffins, are disappearing due to changes in the local eco-system.
Ornithologist and taxidermist, Jens-Kjeld Jensen has spent decades meticulously monitoring the catastrophic decline of the seabirds, and reporting on the large amount of plastic found in their stomachs. His message is simple, the human population is now so high in the world that we must take our responsibilities of stewardship seriously or risk the consequences.
Director Mike Day started this project after meeting Faroese sailors on two sloops in Stornaway in 2010 while filming The Guga Hunters of Ness (reviews here and here and the behind the scenes footage here). In 2011 Mike headed to the Faroe Islands and so began this next film...
"I wanted to explore beyond the blood-red bays, and I found a story that affects us all. These faraway islands provide a stark warning. Our seas are polluted by industrial contaminants that can harm us all. There are solutions to these issues, and we hope this film highlights the consequences of living out of harmony with the natural world.”
- Director Mike Day
You can also watch the trailer in full 1080 HD here on a vimeo link (it is in low resolution above)...
We are also pitching at Good Pitch EU 2015 in Norway to launch an outreach programme. The serious issue of mercury contamination in our seas is a global problem that will only get worse if no action is taken. Mercury levels are set to double by 2050. We want increased public awareness to lead to global reductions in mercury emissions, clean seas, and uncontaminated sea life. This programme will launch later in the year. Our outreach and scientific material is supported by Elsie M Sunderland of the Harvard School of Public Health and a growing number of partner organisations. You can read more about this issue in this recent BBC news article.
WHAT WE NEED
We are very grateful to have been supported by a number of funders and supporters who believe in our film, including The Sundance Institute, BBC Storyville, Creative Scotland, Influence Film Foundation, DR, Creative Europe/MEDIA, Wellcome Trust, The Filmmaker Fund, and Factum Arte.
Even with this backing we still have a long way to go to raise the budget to finish the film, and without your help we can't get this film onto screens. We hope this kickstarter campaign provides you with a great way to see the film, and also get hold of some very special and exclusive memorabilia and gifts, and of course be a part of getting the film made.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO
We are trying to raise money to finish the film. This means we need to hire an edit suite and an editor, and pay the filming crew and translators. We also need to find funding for a sound designer, colour grading, and our composer to score and record an original sound track and pay musicians. Filming with a crew for months and getting the film ready all costs a lot, and we still need well over £100,000 to finish the film and fund all the above. These final vital parts of making the film simply can't happen without funding. So if we go over our target of £30,000 the money will be going on the above.
We also are very excited to be pioneering new techniques in the sound recording on this film. We are set to be the first Dolby Atmos documentary. We have painstakingly recorded this film with a Soundfield microphone which allows us to remap the source sound in full 3D, including a vertical axis. With the Dolby Atmos 128 speaker array we can bring an audience into the exact sound space of the islands with sounds above the audience, the ring dances, the hunts, and the sea, completely encapsulate the audience in the sound as it was to be there. It is also a spine-tingling experience in 5.1 surround at home and we are very excited to bring this new experience to audiences.
We are working on using this technology to its full potential in California and Germany and part of this Kickstarter funding is to help make that possible. Due to us using this technology the digital downloads, blu-rays, and DVDs of the film will feature a truly unique experience in real surround sound, and will be a little bit of cinema sound recording history for you to own.
In addition to getting the HD downloads of the film, and signed limited edition prints of the stunning imagery, our rewards include a hardback illustrated recipe book with a collection of Mike’s recipes cooked for the crew and also some very unique local recipes we came across while filming.
Examples of frames of the film available for signed postcard prints... more available here with further images of frames from the film being released throughout the kickstarter campaign.
We have a range of frames of the film to send you are prints of the stunning landscapes of the Faroe Islands, and high resolution stills photography that can be printed up to 40" x 30”. There will be a catalogue of available prints that can be sent if you are interested in other images.
Some of the high resolution stills available...
It would help us enormously even if you could share the link to this kickstarter page to help us reach our goal and get this film on a screen near you!
Thank you for reading all of this, we hope to thank you in person one day.
Music on trailer by Ross Garren and recorded the Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Sound.
Risks and challenges
It has taken a lot of time, effort, and cost to film in the Faroe Islands and return with some very unique footage.
We have, of course, suffered setbacks to bring this footage home! We have been through hurricanes, broken cameras, snow storms, fog bound helicopters, descended sea cliffs, overcome vertigo and seasickness, and kept smiling! But getting enough funding to finish the film could be our greatest challenge yet!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)