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The Islands and the Whales

Mike Day 2016

The whale hunters of the Faroe Islands believe that hunting is vital to their way of life, but when a local professor makes a grim discovery about the effects of marine pollution, environmental changes threaten their way of life forever. As the islanders come to terms with the health revelations, they face increasing pressure from the outside world to stop the whale hunts.


  • IonCinema
    Mike Day's gorgeous and complexly woven The Islands and the Whales carefully dissects the delicate situation unfolding in the Faroe Islands.
    Jordan M. Smith
  • Independent Critic
    The film is as thought provoking as it is beautiful to behold.
    Richard Propes
  • The Hollywood Reporter
    An enveloping look at a community whose centuries-old way of life may be ending.
    THR Staff
  • Despite the title, “The Islands and the Whales” is about people and their precious traditions that are challenged by modern-day pollution and scary messages from scientists. This documentary is captivating and touching, as it goes under the skin of a faraway population and makes you feel the paradoxes that face them. Apart from the beauty of the scenery and the excitement from the dramas, the film provides food for numerous discussions that should stimulate cross-disciplinary student populations, whether from the humanities, political science, medicine, or environmental studies. This film is particularly well suited to expose different perspectives, as there is no finger pointing or finger wagging. It has multiple dimensions, and they are all beautifully depicted.
    Professor Philippe Grandjean, Harvard University

Festival Participation

  • Doc NYC - 2016
    Winner, Grand Jury Prize
  • HOTDOCS - 2016
    Winner, Best Emerging Filmmaker
  • San Francisco International Film Festival - 2016
  • AFI Docs - 2016

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

ROCO Films Logo
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