Alex Finn: Becoming a Whale Heritage Site

Alex Finn: Becoming a Whale Heritage Site

About the Project

Becoming a Whale Heritage Site is a short, interactive online film (with 2  extra, one-minute, clickable, embedded 360 degree/VR video inserts (using a combination of interactive video production software and YouTube-hosted 360 degree video) that tells the story of one destination's journey to becoming a Whale Heritage Site. 

Told from the perspective of an individual whale watching tour operator in Vancouver Island North, with contribution from the World Cetacean Alliance, the viewer will get an immersive, interactive insight into the operator's life, business and the reasons for, and benefits of, becoming part of an accredited Whale Heritage Site. The film will tell the story of how one region has evolved from capturing Orcas to studying and celebrating them. With embedded, clickable 360degree video sections which will give the viewer an immersive experience of a whale watching tour, and an insight into the  environmental, social and economic benefits which will result from the implementation of Whale Heritage Sites, this project will be targeted at the decision-makers in potential Whale Heritage Site destinations around the world.

Whale Heritage Sites will be a globally recognised way to identify destinations that implement and celebrate responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. Whale Heritage Site accreditation will be awarded to destinations leading the way in sustainability and responsible management of whale and dolphin watching, and generating an appreciation of the culture and heritage surrounding cetaceans and their habitats.

They will provide the travel industry with a clear marker to identify and support sustainable practice, and create a platform for destinations to promote their whale related culture, heritage and biodiversity.

Whale Heritage Sites will give tourists a clear way to select responsible whale and dolphin watching holiday destinations, encouraging them to experience these incredible animals in their natural habitat in a sustainable and responsible way.

Whale Heritage Site status will be designated to destinations that:

  • Maintain the highest standards of responsible whale and dolphin watching
  • Celebrate the cultural importance of whales and dolphins by engaging communities and tourists with the arts, science, music, education and events
  • Designation of a destination as a Whale Heritage Site will facilitate marketing and promotion, boost visitor numbers and the incomes of tourism providers, enable sustainable management of marine resources and celebrate history, the environment, and cultural identity.

The film is intended to promote Whale Heritage Sites to the tourist boards of prospective destinations in order to motivate them to apply to become a Whale Heritage Site. It will also showcase an exemplary Whale-watching destination and inspire operators and tourist boards in whale-watching destinations worldwide.

About the Grantee

Alex is a self-shooting producer, director and editor from the UK, with over twelve years experience in broadcast documentary production. He has worked on a range of TV series and one-off observational documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, Al Jazeera English and the Discovery Channel, also produces and directs short films and promos for NGOs, Educational Institutions and the public sector through his production company, Itinerant Productions and delivers media production training to charities and NGOs so that they can generate their own content.

Before he started working in TV back in 2004, he was a SCUBA Instructor living and working in several different countries and has a continuing close connection the seas and oceans. He has filmed observational documentaries all over the world including one three-month stint filming as part of the first independent documentary crew allowed to film on the Greenpeace flagship Esperanza as they journeyed from Cape Town to the Canary Islands documenting pirate fishing off the coast of West Africa. Alex has a particular interest in telling human stories that emotionally engage an audience and address some of the universal problems and situations that people face across the world.

Project Updates & Milestones

In September, Alex was awarded this $10K grant at the Camden International Film Festival after being one of three finalists for the Action Grant.  Stay tuned for project updates in the coming months!

Below is Alex's finished film, as well as two additional short films: