In the summer of 2013, a young filmmaker from California named Jonny Zwick set out on a three-month journey around Iceland, intent on understanding the contradiction that makes the country both a burgeoning whalewatch center and one of the only countries in the world to kill whales—including endangered fin whales—for commercial purposes.
The result of this effort, BREACH, is a compelling feature documentary film that chronicles the evolution of Icelandic attitudes toward whales and whaling. Through interviews with scientists, business owners, students and even whalers themselves, the film provides a unique insight into the whaling industry’s battle to survive, apparently at all costs, in a country increasingly dependent on live whales for its thriving tourism industry.
While all those interviewed in the film are Icelanders, they do not all share the same outlook. Whalewatch company representatives and environmentalists stress the positive image that whales represent for their country. The whaling industry, on the other hand, appears focused less on building the country’s image and economy, and more on individual profit.
BREACH is visually stunning, featuring the country’s deep, icy fjords and rugged, snow-draped mountains as backdrops (familiar to any Game of Thrones aficionado). Majestic footage of live whales is judiciously balanced against short scenes of whales being harpooned and processed. The latter are shocking reminders of the cruelty that is an inherent part of the commercial whaling industry, and the film should be of supreme interest to anyone concerned about the conservation of whales.
BREACH has already appeared at several film festivals, including the New York City International Film Festival and San Francisco’s Doc Fest. Narrated by actor Billy Baldwin, BREACH is executive produced by Michael Rosen of August Road Entertainment and Rimin Fathie of Viceroy Films. To view a trailer and for more information, visit www.breachthefilm.com.