February 2018, Pacific Whale Foundation’s founder Greg Kaufman passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer. A pioneer in noninvasive humpback whale research in the mid-1970s, Greg founded Pacific Whale Foundation in 1980 to educate the public, from a scientific perspective, about whales and their ocean habitat. ‘A Voice for Whales’ was created to tell the story of his fight to save humpback whales from extinction. A film created over the course of two years by Greg’s wife, PWF team member, and acclaimed photojournalist Selket Kaufman, the 20-minute piece tells a story of hope and of “standing up for what you believe in, no matter the odds,” according to the filmmaker, who traveled to Tonga, Slovenia, Australia and the continental U.S. to interview, friends, colleagues and people who knew him best to help tell his story.
What inspired you to create your film?
This film has been long overdue. It’s a story that needs to be told and I am honored that I have the opportunity to do so. I am very passionate about this project because it’s close to my heart. It’s a work in progress but I am enthusiastic to be producing my best work yet.
Why do you think it’s important to share your film at the Pacific Whale Foundation World Whale Film Festival specifically?
It’s an inspirational story our interconnectedness and the delicate relationship we have with the natural world. The main focus is about Greg’s conviction to stand up for those who have no voice against injustice. His unique vision fueled the creation of a mission into an organization that has become Pacific Whale Foundation.
How did you come to be at Pacific Whale Foundation?
I knew I wanted to be part of Pacific Whale Foundation somehow when I first moved to Maui, but I wasn’t exactly sure how. My background is in photojournalism with a deep passion for the ocean, so I knocked at the door several times and I took the first opportunity I was offered to start working. The more time I spent getting to know the work and the incredible people that have become like family to me, the more I noticed the impact of this organization. After working a few years with the adventure photo department, I was introduced to Anne Rillero who was the Communication Manager at the time, she had viewed my portfolio and previous documentaries and asked if I could tell Greg’s story, that’s when I knew I found my calling. Greg was a remarkable man with an inspiring story.
Since it’s premiere at the 4th Annual World Whale Film Festival, ‘A Voice for Whales’ has won multiple film festival awards.
BEST SHORTS COMPETITION
La Jolla, CA, US
April 7, 2020
Award of Excellence
TORONTO DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
May 28, 2020
Best Sound & Music
MY HERO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Laguna Beach, CA, US
June 8, 2020
Finalist for the Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award
SOUTH FILM AND ARTS ACADEMY FESTIVAL
July 16, 2020
Best Short Film By The Director
Best Female Director In A Documentary Short Film
Best Cinematography In A Documentary Short Film
Best Production In A Documentary Short Film