2017-05-08 A film documentary sequel to "Where the Whales Sing" Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

I need your help. I am looking for financial support from individuals and corporate entities to complete my documentary on the humpback whales in Bermuda.

 

I am well on my way to making a sequel to my award-winning 60-minute documentary "Where the Whales Sing" narrated by my then 6-year old daughter Elsa. The original was completed on time and on budget March 2010. Most of ut was filmed underwater. That fall it was one of 19 award winners at the prestigious BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, California and it went on to win numerous awards in the USA. It has shown literally thousands of times on the local CITV station and 6,000 DVDs have been sold or mostly given away to schoolkids in Bermuda. It has been dubbed in Italian and sub-titled in four other languages. It was shown on several airlines inflight entertainment.

 

With the advances in drone technology I have now obtained two seasons of aerial footage of the humpbacks here in Bermuda and in Nova Scotia. Let me first add that I have a commercial Small Unmanned Aircraft license issued by the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority and a research permit from the Bermuda Government to undertake this aerial work. These compelling aerial images reveal so much about the humpbacks' social lives. From the surface, in a boat one can only see the blows and occasional swirl of water and if you are lucky a fluke. But from the air one can see every detail of their social interactions and the more details the aerial perspective provides the more questions I have. Couple this aerial (and underwater) footage) with a meticulously compiled and curated catalogue of over 1,400 individual fluke IDs and multiple re-sightings obtained here in Bermuda over the last 11 seasons and you have extra contextual dimensions of information that are unique in portraying the complexities of the humpbacks' pelagic lives.

 

Take a look at some of the many hours of video I have recorded so far.

 

Here we have seven whales in 40 feet of water just off Bermuda. The light coloured whale with the white scars at the base of the peduncle is the female. The big bad dude with no dorsal is the primary escort who spent hours keeping at bay five other males. Why? This was late April and there must be little chance he would mate with her. seven whales in shallow water

A week later, 25 miles to the southwest on Challenger Bank we found four of these five challenging males cavorting together in what was clearly a bonding ritual. When they suddenly took off we discovered that they were once again following the same male and female, a week later and in the opposite direction to their migratory path. Six of the seven whales a week later on Challenger Bank

 

The next day we found the same primary escort on his own singing. We recorded and filmed him underwater and from the air. He did three breathing cycles and then the same female joined him and they proceeded in a northerly-easterly direction. the same singing male attracts his female

 

We have a long, unedited aerial video of a mother and calf resting in our waters combined with underwater footage of the calf nursing mother and calf part 1 mother and calf part 2

 

We have aerial footage of a 'rowdy' group consisting of five males battling it out to be the primary escort of a female rowdy group of five males fighting over a female

 

We have unique aerial and underwater footage of two humpbacks having a sand bath two humpbacks having a sand bath

 

We have aerial video footage of a humpback whale in Bermuda in April and in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia in April Aerial footage of the same whale in Bermuda and the Bay of Fundy

 

We have footage of a mother and calf and primary escort with six other whales mother and calf and escort and six other whales

 

These are only some examples of the aerial footage I've obtained over the past two seasons.

 

I have two young kids reflecting Bermuda's racial demographics lined up to narrate the film. I just need the funding now to complete the editing. Please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like to be part of this team.

 

Many thanks to the Atlantic Conservation Partnership, the Bermuda Government, the Bermuda Zoological Society, David Brown, Hiscox, Australia-Japan Cable, Cell One are some of the funding partners I have to date. A very special thank you to Judie Clee who is amazing at matching our flukes and to some of our citizen scientists like Roger Etcheberry who match our Bermuda fluke IDs with their own catalogues in the feeding and breeding grounds. Our whales have been matched from North Carolina all the way up to Greenland and Iceland.

 
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