Scottish film maker Mike Day turns his focus on the ethical and environmental concerns surrounding the Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago in the Northern Atlantic between Iceland and Norway, with his new documentary The Islands and The Whales, a winner of the DOC NYC Grand Jury Prize and the Hot Docs Emerging International Filmmaker Award in 2016.
Airing October 9th on PBS, Day's documentary explores the lives of Faroese whale hunters and shows how their ancient hunting practices are exposed to modern day international and local pressures. Since the islands are often exposed to extremely cold temperatures, the Faroese people have always depended on the ocean around them to provide food for their community. That is until they started to feel the effects of environmental pollution.
While this remote area is not as polluted as more populous areas around the world, pilot whales can travel great distances and as they return to the islands they bring back with them the effects of contaminated water. Pál Weihe, a doctor on the Faroe Islands, warns the locals about the dangerous effects of eating seafood with high mercury levels. After testing hundreds of children on the islands for over a long period of time, he discovered that consuming toxic whales can cause brain impairment in children and is linked to other serious health problems in the community.