MAKAH: The Whale Harvesters
D: Ralf Marschalleck
P: SUR Films / UmWeltFilm, ARD / WDR, ARTE
supported by Filmstiftung NRW, Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg
2000 · L: (cinema version) 117 min, (TV-version) 113 / 59 min
Festival Premiere: Intern. Dokumentarfilm-Festival München
The MAKAH, a tribe of ocean-fishing Indians living at Cape Flattery on the Northwest Coast of the USA, are attempting to resume their whaling tradition. The venture arouses the international public. A growing outside controversy leads into a serious conflict by force. The antiwhaling activists together with the SeaShepherd Conservation Society of Paul Watson try to prevent the whale hunt. National Guard, Costguard and police are standing by to prevent clashes. The conflict has paradoxical features: Traditional Indian way of life, often held up as a model for modern environmental awareness, suddenly becomes an opponent.
The cultural context in which the MAKAH undertake their venture is also a challenge to themselves. Will they be able to find the inner strength and unity? In spite of all the struggle, the MAKAH finally catch a whale. Marschalleck offers an unique and fascinating insight view.