On Thursday April 19, DocuDoka, in collaboration with IDleaks, organizes a film and discussion night on Taiji's dolphin hunting practices, made infamous worldwide by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove (2009). The night in creative bar Doka will start with the exclusive Dutch premiere of A Whale of a Tale (2017), a new documentary by Japanese filmmaker Megumi Sasaki on the conflicting views on dolphin hunting between Western environmental activists, local Japanese fishermen, and everybody in between (including filmmakers). Following the screening, there will be an interactive discussion on the issue of dolphin hunting and the role of tradition, culture, activism and filmmaking in this process with the director, several experts and the audience.
The evening will kick off with the screening of A Whale of a Tale, a response to The Cove. Among the influx of media and activists in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding The Cove's release was Japan-born, New York-based filmmaker Megumi Sasaki on the lookout for unheard voices: ‘I didn’t care whether the hunt itself was good or evil but felt that minority opinions – those of Taiji’s fishermen and other inhabitants – were being ignored.’ Her findings in A Whale of a Tale aim to paint a balanced picture of a complex issue with heated arguments on every side, as her film weighs up the cultural, ethical, environmental, economic and medical impacts of hunting dolphins in Taiji. The screening of A Whale of a Tale at DocuDoka marks the Dutch premiere of the film.
After the screening, there will be an interactive discussion with several panelists. While the director will join the event via Skype, Olga Sooudi and XXX will be present to take part in the discussion as well. Sooudi is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam as well as a member of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS).
Tickets for this edition of DocuDoka are available online for €10 at http://bit.ly/docudoka10-awhaleofatale (€7,50 for students when showing their student ID at the door). If not already sold-out in pre-sale, tickets can be bought at the door as well. As seating is limited, advance ticketing is advised.
In 2010, Taiji, a small fishing town in Japan, came under the spotlight of global outrage when The Cove won the Oscar for Best Documentary. The film is a visceral, damning indictment of the town’s dolphin hunt, a practice which goes back for centuries. Every year, the fishermen drive groups of dolphins into a sheltered cove where they are slaughtered for meat or captured to be sold to dolphinariums. Vocal protests from, primarily Western, environmental activists, dispatched by organizations like Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project and Sea Shepherd, are largely ignored by a local population who are defending their traditions and livelihoods. Over the past decade or so, Taiji has become the site of confrontations between Western environmental activists and Japanese whalers. What do these confrontations say about the clash between local traditions and global discourses of animal rights? Are the confrontational strategies used by the makers of The Cove and other Western environmental activists productive to tackle the issue of dolphin hunting in Taiji? How do documentaries such as The Cove and A Whale of a Tale participate in the meaning-making of dolphin hunting? These complex questions form the basis of DocuDoka #10: Is The Cove A Whale of A Tale?