New movie about Luna ready for Seattle releaseJuly 5th, 2011 by cdunagan
UPDATE: Aug. 30, 2011
The world premiere of “The Whale” took place Aug. 20 in the Faroe Islands, where promoters hoped they could encourage changes in a long tradition of hunting pilot whales. Check out reports on “The Whale” website and a blog entry by Leah Lemieux, author of “Rekindling the Waters.”
U.S. openings of the film are scheduled for Sept. 9 at SIFF
Cinema in Seattle and The Grand Cinema in Tacoma, followed by
openings in New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver, B.C. See the
It appears that the much-anticipated movie about Luna, the killer whale, will soon be released in Seattle, New York City and Washington, D.C., according to an e-mail from the filmmakers, Suzanne Chisholm, Mike Parfit, and David Parfit. A new trailer for “The Whale” (view below) was recently released.
Luna was a 2-year-old male orca who belonged to the Southern Resident community of whales that frequent the Salish Sea. He somehow became separated from his family and took up an isolated existence in Nootka Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Suzanne Chisholm and Mike Parfit spent months filming Luna and eventually produced an independent film called “Saving Luna.” But they were unable to gain mass distribution for the award-winning film until actor-producer Ryan Reynolds took an interest.
From their e-mail:
“The Whale is a new film, narrated by Ryan Reynolds. Like the movie Saving Luna, it also tells the story of Luna. In some ways you could say that The Whale is based on Saving Luna, which won 25 awards from around the world. But has been completely re-edited, re-written, and newly narrated to make it clear and accessible to an international audience of all ages.
“Our executive producers, Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Desatnik, have given us terrific feedback and suggestions for how to streamline and improve the storytelling, and we have added a significant amount of new footage as well. But, to reassure those who love the original film, it has not been turned into something crassly Hollywood. The same basic creative team has been at the heart of the new movie, and we are very happy about how it has turned out.”
The release date and advance theaters have not yet been announced.
Mike wrote an article for the July-August issue of Smithsonian magazine explaining how the project would not have come together without new digital film technology.
I’ve written before about my coverage of Luna’s story for the Kitsap Sun — including a trip to Nootka Sound, where I met Suzanne and Mike. By the time I arrived, they had made real connections with the local residents of the area — largely, I think, because they did not impose themselves on others the way some people with video cameras will do.
I was chosen by the Canadian government to be the U.S. pool reporter for print media. I was given special access to cover the effort to capture Luna and return him to his family in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A Water Ways entry on Aug. 10, 2010, updates the Luna film project and includes links to the stories I wrote.
One segment of the film (click here to view) talks about people’s desire to touch Luna, who would come alongside boats and docks and practically beg to be petted. My wife Sue, who had come with me to help out, loves animals of all kinds. A few times we were down on the docks in the evening when Luna swam up. I followed the government’s orders not to interact with Luna, who had already become “habituated” to humans, as they say. I also would not allow Sue to approach him, though it killed her to be so close and not get even closer.
“You need to stay back,” I told her. “I can see the stories now: ‘Reporter’s wife arrested for petting a whale, while he covers the story about people illegally petting the whale.’”
It was an unusual story, all the way around, and I look forward to the film version of “The Whale.” Developments can be followed on Facebook.