Answered by Mike Parfit, co-director and narrator of SAVING LUNA
Now that Iíve seen Saving Luna, I want to help other whales and dolphins like him. How can I do that?
If SAVING LUNA is a documentary, why isn't it boring?
Is SAVING LUNA sad?
What is the message of SAVING LUNA?
Do kids like SAVING LUNA?
I know you donít have a big distribution budget but people should see this film. How can I help?
In Canada, thereís an organization called the Whale Stewardship Project, directed by Cathy Kinsman, who met and watched Luna in Nootka Sound. Based on experience with Luna and several other lone cetaceans, she has some new ideas about how to care for whales and dolphins who find themselves on their own and try to make contact with people. Right now the project is working to help a little beluga whale near Nova Scotia whose nickname is ďQ.Ē
Hereís a link to the website: www.whalestewardship.org
In the United States, Kari Koski (one of the people interviewed in SAVING LUNA) and several other dedicated individuals run Soundwatch, an on-the-water program to educate boaters and whale-watchers in Luna's family's summer territory: the boundary waters of the U.S. San Juan and Canadian Gulf islands. Soundwatch is funded primarily by private donations.
Please visit their website, http://www.whalemuseum.org/programs/soundwatch/soundwatch.html for more information.
The Humane Society of the United States is an excellent organization dedicated to the welfare of all animals. The group has developed a number of activities designed to help animals through partnerships and ad revenue, some of them as simple as playing trivia on Facebook, sending email and recycling electronics. The HSUS also accepts donations. Visit the HSUS website at http://www.hsus.org for more information.
I know that the story of Luna is sometimes unbelievable, but it all actually happened. Yes, it's a documentary. But documentaries aren’t boring any more. They’re just as exciting as other films. Anyone who has seen “Man on Wire” or “March of the Penguins” knows that. The new documentaries coming out these days are the great secret of modern film: they’re actually as fun, entertaining, heart-warming, dramatic and memorable as any other kind of movie. And they’re real.
SAVING LUNA is all true. Those up-close underwater shots are all of Luna himself, filmed with a camera on a pole. And all that drama about the canoes and the net pen was filmed when it was happening. There are no faked scenes or re-enactments. Suzanne and I were right there pointing cameras, wondering what on Earth was going to happen next.
I think SAVING LUNA is so entertaining because it's simply a story, with a great lead character who happens to be a whale but desperately needs something we can all understand.
Here’s what one reviewer said:
[T]he story they tell, at once so leisurely and yet so gripping, strikes on so many metaphorical chords it's hard to imagine a simple documentary weaving together so many subtle threads."
--The Courier, Vancouver
There are sad parts, but this is not a dark film. SAVING LUNA is a biographical story of a great personality, so it follows Luna through his whole life, from the beginning to the end. So, as with every life story, there are funny parts and ridiculous parts and dramatic parts and sad parts.
But it is about life, not about sadness. So I think it’s like a story about a hero. You might cry a little, but you're going to laugh a lot, and in the end you'll be very glad you got to know this extraordinary being who showed us humans more than we ever imagined about the nature of love and friendship.
This is what one of the most prominent animal scientists in the world had to say:
“An outstanding story of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. . . . Science meets heart and cultures clash, but in the end compassion and concern win. . . . I learned a lot from watching this life-changing film - crying and laughing and enjoying it even the third time - and will surely watch it again and again, and share it widely. It is that good.”
--Marc Bekoff, author, The Emotional Lives of Animals
A lot of people ask Suzanne and me that. But we don’t think of SAVING LUNA as a message film. It’s a story film. It isn’t trying to tell people what to think. We made it because we went through an amazing story with a wonderful character, and we want everybody to experience the story and get to know the character.
I think that there are always many things to be learned from a powerful story. But as one of the people in the film, Eugene Amos, told me once, what we learn from Luna and this story depends on each of us ourselves. Maybe whatever lessons or messages are hidden in this story are unique for each person who sees the film.
This is what reviewer Katherine Monk wrote in the Vancouver Sun when she gave SAVING LUNA four stars:
From what this movie tells us, the animals have far more to teach us than we could possibly teach them. And little Luna . . . may have offered us the most valuable lesson of all by making us care about a life so different -- and yet so strangely similar -- to our own.
Yes! All the kids I’ve met after the film said they loved it. SAVING LUNA is not called a children's film, because it doesn't talk down to anybody, but it is definitely a family film. Kids love Luna. School groups from grade two up have come to the film and both teachers and students have told us they thought it was great.
Here's what some teachers have said about SAVING LUNA:
I am a Junior-Intermediate teacher with 19 years of experience. I took my three children - girl grade 4, boy grade 6, boy grade 9 - to see this film, and each one was profoundly affected. No one was bored or restless and there was significant discussion and “argument” afterwards. . . . There are connections to Science, Environmental Studies, English, Media Literacy, and the Arts.
--Michèle Sankar Teacher, York Region Board of Education
“SAVING LUNA is a subject that transcends the story of an orca in the Nootka Sound. The educational value in watching a very young social creature try to interact with humans and our inconsistencies and confusion, was an invaluable tool in teaching empathy and respect. The questions my students discussed could not have been provoked without experiencing this powerful message about Luna through Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit's beautiful work. I highly recommend SAVING LUNA to support Science, Social Studies and Language Arts based subjects through all grades.”
--Jill Whitehouse, President, Early Minds Education Inc.
“SAVING LUNA moved me in ways so far beyond mere words. I think you portray as well as I've ever seen the possibility and value of the true relationship/ friendship across species lines.
--Dr. Paul Waldau, Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University
“We screened SAVING LUNA with approximately 600 students - in a range of grades from 5 - 9. The students were enthusiastic and respectful, as they responded to the various events throughout the film. The Q&A could have continued much longer than we had time for as they had many comments and questions after seeing this film. It is a film that teaches all of us many things about our interactions with each other and with the world around us, and it is filled with lessons for all ages.”
--Jan Padgett, Director, Powell River Film Festival
And here was a classic exchange, reported to us by a parent of a 10-year-old boy:
Before SAVING LUNA:
“Mom, I don't want to go to a documentary!”
After SAVING LUNA:
“Mom, that was the best film I ever saw!”
1. If SAVING LUNA hasn’t come to your town yet, call your favourite theatre and ask when it’s coming. If the theatre says it doesn’t know but it’s interested in showing SAVING LUNA, please send us the name of the theatre and the name of the manger and we will work with our distributor to get it there. If you have friends who want to see it in their town, tell them to do the same thing.
2. Here’s a link to our signup page. Add your name. You’ll be notified about future showings of the film. If you know people where it’s playing, please email them and let them know you liked SAVING LUNA.
3. Here’s a link to our trailer. Please send the link to all your friends so they know about the film.
4. SAVING LUNA is an affectionate animal story, so be sure all the organizations that care about animals in your community know about it so they can tell all their members that it’s showing. In many cases even if the film has already been shown in your town we can arrange for special showings to groups. Please write us if a group is interested.