Posted on: March 17, 2011

Free Screening of Award-Winning Whale Rescue Documentary To Take Place on Friday, March 25

The public is invited to a  free screening of the award-winning documentary, "In The Wake of Giants," on Friday, March 25th, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. This free event will take place at Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center, downstairs at the Harbor Shops at Ma'alaea, and is open to the public.

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 as they work to disentangle humpback whales trapped in ropes and fishing nets.

This evening screening on March 25th will include a short talk by Ed Lyman, Marine Mammal Response Manager at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and the opportunity to view equipment used to rescue whales. The film was narrated by Ed Lyman.

The film recently won an award for Best Conservation Film at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival.  

According to a press release from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, 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 twenty 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.

"Whale disentanglement can be a dangerous and difficult task," comments Ed Lyman. "In the Wake of Giants" is a short film of how the ocean user community here in Hawaii has come together to work with people trained and experienced in large whale disentanglement to safely free humpback whales from life threatening entanglements. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, working alongside NOAA Fisheries, may lead and coordinate the efforts to free large whales of entangling gear, but it takes the support of an entire on-water community to get the job done." Entanglement is one of the primary human-caused sources of serious injury and mortality to whales and dolphins with an estimated 300,000 dying world-wide every year.

"While disentanglement efforts may free an animal from a life threatening entanglement, but it is not the long term answer to the problem," Lyman notes. "Rather, we need to gain valuable information from our response efforts as to reduce the threat of entanglement for these animals in the future."

The film screening is hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation and is part of the Maui Whale Festival.

The Maui Whale Festival is a series of events held from mid-November through mid-May to honor the humpback whales that migrate to Hawaii each winter to mate, give birth and care for their young. To learn more, visit or call Pacific Whale Foundation
at (808) 249-8811.


Note: Photos courtesy of HIHWNMS/NOAA MMHSRP permit # 932-1489