The film, produced by Mara Kerr and Mark DiOrio of Akua Films and directed by filmmaker Lou Douros, provides a close-up view of the challenging and sometimes dangerous work of rescuing 40-ton humpback whales from life-threatening entanglements with marine debris. It spotlights the courageous efforts of a community and a trained network lead by NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) as they work to disentangle humpback whales trapped in ropes and fishing nets.
The screening will include a short talk by Ed Lyman, Marine Mammal Response manager at HIHWNMS, and the opportunity to view equipment used to rescue whales. The film was narrated by Lyman.
The film recently won an award for Best Conservation Film at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival.
According to a press release from HIHWNMS, the film also won the BLUE Ocean Film Festival Award in the category of “National Marine Sanctuary Short.” BLUE is a one-of-a-kind film industry and community event bringing together films, filmmakers and leaders in ocean research and conservation. More than 100 films were screened at the six-day event, and In the Wake of Giants received one of 20 awards given to exceptional ocean films from around the world.
According to the sanctuary press release, much of the footage showing the dangerous nature of the effort was filmed within arm’s reach of the distressed mammals from helmet-mounted cameras. The 40-ton mammals often drag gear for thousands of miles to Hawai‘i.
Entanglement is one of the primary human-caused sources of serious injury and mortality to whales and dolphins with an estimated 300,000 dying worldwide every year.
The Maui Whale Festival is a series of events held from mid-November through mid-May to honor the humpback whales that migrate to Hawai‘i each winter to mate, give birth and care for their young.