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Whaling City, a feature film, Post-Production's video poster

The dramatic feature film WHALING CITY tells the story of a commercial fisherman fighting to keep his boat - and his way of life. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on January 20, 2011.

The dramatic feature film WHALING CITY tells the story of a commercial fisherman fighting to keep his boat - and his way of life.

About this project

WHALING CITY is the story of Sean, a third-generation commercial fisherman whose world is threatened by soaring costs, waning catches, and tightening regulations. Unable to pay his bills, Sean fights the bank’s moves to foreclose on his boat, and the courts’ threats to strip him of the right to see his daughter. With options fading, Sean contemplates a one-off smuggling run that could put him in the clear, but could also cost him his life. Set in New Bedford, Massachusetts - once the whaling capital of the world and still one of the most important fishing ports in America - WHALING CITY is set against the changing tides of New England’s fishing industry, and the lives that are being affected as a result.

The film is the first feature of writer-director Jay Burke, who was born in New Bedford, and grew up in neighboring Dartmouth, MA amongst fishermen during the commercial fishing heyday of the 1970s and 80s.

WHALING CITY has won multiple screenwriting and production awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and was one of 37 projects selected worldwide to participate in the 2008 IFP No Borders Co-Production Market.

What are we doing?

We are trying to raise $25,000 to complete WHALING CITY - and at least $12,500 from the Kickstarter community. If we surpass our $12,500 target on Kickstarter, backers can still support us on Kickstarter before our campaign ends.

The first draft of the script was written in 2000, and through extremely hard work, perseverance and enormous sacrifice, we finally were able to shoot the film in October 2010 (ten years later!), on an absolutely shoestring budget. We still have substantial post-production costs that we must incur to be able to finish the film. These include costs for editing the film, labor and other fees for composers, film color correctors, sound editors, minor re-shoots, and much more.

All the money we raise here will go up on the screen, to help produce the highest quality, most compelling and entertaining film we can make. So please help.

To get to where we are today, we have received outstanding community support. We have made it a point not to ask for any form of popular financial support, until now, during post-production. We felt it extremely important to have the film “in the can” and to share a hint of it with the public, to clearly demonstrate that our supporters’ money will be put to very good use.

Why this film is very important

While WHALING CITY is a fictional account about one commercial fisherman and the choices that he makes under desperate circumstances, the film seeks to capture New Bedford, its rich history, and its people authentically and honestly. The story is part-and-parcel of the history of Greater New Bedford and of commercial fishing.

A documentary thread runs through WHALING CITY, with actors performing side-by-side with real people from the fishing industry. Most locations that were employed – fishing boats, processing plants, streets, bars – appear as they do in real life. And many actors were drawn from the local community. There has never been a film made about the breadth of challenges facing commercial fishing– we hope to address that before it is too late.

How you can help

If you can, please donate any amount here through's secure payment system. And if you can’t, then simply please forward this link to everyone you know to help spread the word.


To learn more about WHALING CITY, become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and visit our website:


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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    20 backers

    Special Thanks on our website, regular updates on the film, our eternal gratitude, and pride because you’ll know you played a role in bringing an extraordinary project to the big screen

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    21 backers

    All of the above + a copy of the official WHALING CITY postcard signed by the WHALING CITY creative team

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    12 backers

    All of the above + a limited editing WHALING CITY t-shirt (courtesy Screenworks, Fairhaven MA)

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    27 backers

    All of the above + a special-edition WHALING CITY DVD (when complete)

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    14 backers

    All of the above + tickets to the New Bedford "sneak peek" screening of WHALING CITY + "thank you" in the closing credits of the film

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    7 backers

    All of the above + tickets to Pre-Screening Reception with stars & creative team from the film and "sneak peek" New Bedford screening

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    All of the above + an invitation to spend a day on the set of a reshoot day, in the editing room, or with a member of the creative team

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    All of the above + Executive Producer credit in the opening and closing credits of the film

Funding period

- (35 days)