Controversial Dox

The Islands and the Whales

Mike Day
Screening time  
28.02. / Tuesday, 22:00 - 00:00 Theatre 1  
A story about seabirds and pilot whales hunting tradition on Faroe Islands.

In the remote Faroe Islands, inhabitants have hunted seabirds and pilot whales for millennia. An isolated culture based on food and folklore, the Faroese built their traditions around survival. In the past, nature was giant and humans tiny and now it's the other way around. Soaring aerial cinematography shows a community, historically dependent upon and devoted to nature, losing connection with the natural world. Native sea birds are disappearing and a local doctor discovers that marine pollution is making the whale meat toxic. Suddenly, their ancient way of life may have an expiry date. A surprise visit from celebrity animal rights activist Pamela Anderson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society injects a perceived cultural imperialism and ignorance into an already complex debate involving health, identity, environment, and human and animal welfare issues.


Mike Day

Mike Day is Scottish director and cinematographer transitioned from a legal career to documentary filmmaking in 2009. His previous film, The Guga Hunters of Ness (2011), also set in the North Atlantic, screened at international festivals as well as on the BBC.

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The Islands and the Whales

Denmark, Great Britain
2016, 82'

Directed by:
Mike Day

Mike Day

Edited by:
Mary Lampson, Nicole Halova, Claire Ferguson, Mike Day, David Charap

Antony Partos, Mike Sheridan

Mike Day

Produced by:
Intrepid Cinema

Festivals & Awards:

HotDocs 2016 – Emerging International Filmmaker Award; DOC NYC 2016 – Viewfinders Grand Jury Prize; Heartland Film Festival 2016; Scottish BAFTA 2016; Zurich Film Festival 2016; Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016; San Francisco International Film Festival 2016; American Film Institute Docs 2016