Scottish filmmaker Mike Day turns his lens on the isolated North Atlantic archipelago of the Faroe Islands with The Islands and the Whales, which won the DOC NYC Grand Jury Prize and the Hot Docs Emerging International Filmmaker Award in 2016. The longtime hunting practices of the Faroese are threatened by dangerously high mercury levels in whales, decimated seabird populations and anti-whaling activists. Day explores the undeniably timely tensions between the environment, health, tradition and culture.
In their remote home on the Faroe Islands, the islanders have always accepted what nature could provide and been proud to put local food on the table. Because their soil yields little bounty, the Faroese harvest their seas. As a result, the islanders are among the first to feel the impact of our ever more polluted oceans. Contaminated by the outside world, the whales they capture are toxic. What once ensured their survival now endangers their children, and the Faroese must make a choice between health and tradition.