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To the Orcas with Love

What we do to nature, we do to ourselves.
A filmmaker’s relationship with orcas inspires her to restore a loving relationship with herself and this remarkable planet.
Stories of personal connections with orcas, beautiful cinematography featuring B.C’s resident orcas, and an evocative soundscape composed by Jeff Rona provide an uplifting contrast to the environmental challenges we face.

Inspired by elders including environmentalist and CBC Broadcaster, David Suzuki, whale researchers Alexandra Morton and Paul Spong, totem carver Wayne Alfred, and lifelong resident of the Broughton archipelago Billy Proctor, this film anchored by Rob Stewart’s invitation to rise up and create the world we dream for ourselves.

Viewers will come to understand the importance of the personal choices we make; it becomes clear that what we do to nature, we do to ourselves.

  • Natalie Lucier
    Director
  • Natalie Lucier
    Writer
  • Todd Lucier
    Writer
  • Natalie Lucier
    Producer
  • Todd Lucier
    Producer
  • David Suzuki
    Key Cast
  • Rob Stewart
    Key Cast
    Sharkwater, Revolution
  • Alexandra Morton
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    56 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    75,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Canada
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Natalie Lucier

Natalie Lucier, the director of ” To the Orcas with Love” is a graduate of Advanced TV and Film program, majoring in producing and documentary filmmaking at Sheridan college in Ontario. Natalie has a deep love of nature and the outdoors and hopes to inspire others to see the beauty in our natural world.

Natalie is also a graduate of the 2 year Radio broadcasting program at Canadore College. She has also attended the intensive eight day Adventure Filmmaker’s workshop at the Banff Centre, in Alberta and a Documentary storytelling and film structure workshop with Tom Schlesinger – Toronto, Canada.

To the Orcas with Love is her first feature film.

In October 2013, she directed and produced a 3 minute short documentary film “One with the Horse” – “An inspiring story of connection.” This short documentary showcased her use of natural light and raw voice to create a compelling story of the relationship between a horse owner and her horse.

In 2011-2012 Natalie worked with Rob Stewart and his team in Toronto assisting with projects including setting up a new editing suite, researching and coordinating interviews in Washington, D.C. and obtaining media rights for photography for website accompanying Rob’s film – “Revolution’ in 2012. She also assisted in the development of Rob’s NGO United Conservationists.

Natalie is passionate about supporting the growth in filmmaking in Northern Ontario. She sits on the Board of Directors for Near North Mobile Media Lab in North Bay Ontario. The Near North Mobile Media Lab provides tools for media artists, students, filmmakers and audiences in Northern Ontario to produce, present and enjoy contemporary media arts in all its forms.

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Director Statement

I was first fascinated by orcas as a child, when I read the book “ Siwiti, A Whale’s Story” By Alexandra Morton. Later, Free Willy became my favourite movie starring Keiko the killer whale. I would watch this movie on repeat as a child and I could not get enough watching the killer whale.

I have always been fascinated with the orcas. I applied to volunteer at Orca Lab for the summer of 2012 as a filmmaker to document the whales in their natural habitat. Once accepted I realized this was my opportunity to make a film with the orcas taking centre stage. I was so excited to finally be in a place where I could live amongst orcas and be with them in the wild. I realized it was where I always wanted to be. I wanted to make a film that was going to share in the world of the killer whales and raise awareness of their importance on our planet.

Killer whales are facing a lot of challenges in our ever changing planet. I knew about a lot of the issues from about what is happening with the orcas from my own research but being there to witness it was much different. Seeing how many boats are on the water each day tracking them down is shocking and Paul Spong helped me appreciate orcas as acoustic creatures and that boat noise and proximity disturbs them. Talking with Alexandra Morton about sea lice and learning about the impact of farmed salmon on wild salmon; the primary food source of the resident killer whales was eye-opening. Our oceans are changing because of human impact and it was shocking to learn about some of the other things affecting the orcas health and wellbeing that are addressed in the film; ocean acidification, dead zones and plastic pollution.

Being among the whales on the Johnstone strait was heaven on earth for me. Waking up to the morning mist and the sun peeking through the clouds was mystical. Hearing whale blows was calming and amazing and just living in the moment without worry of the daily stresses of my life back home in Ontario. I was living in a hut with nature surrounding me. At night, waiting for the moon to rise and cast a glowing light over everything was a magical experience that is hard to put into words. I am thankful for the experience of going there and it has changed my perspective about what is important in my own life.

Interviews for the film were done one-on-one in a very intimate atmosphere. I think that listening to the stories feels more personal, like the interviewee’s are speaking right to you. There is a closeness there and it is very personal. I try to bring viewers on a journey that is hopeful, without getting overwhelmed about the challenges we face.

My biggest concern, is that people need to realize that as humans we are deeply connected with mother earth and the plants and animals that live among us. We are all connected to each other in one way or another and we must respect that. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves.

I learned a lot about myself while making this film. I learned about being patient with myself and with others. Thinking back on the making of this film, I think I would not have decided to make a documentary film about the orcas, without the inspiration and support of Rob Stewart. He really taught me how to dream big and to go after my dreams. He cared so much and really wanted to see me succeed as a filmmaker, and also making this film the best that it could be. I will be forever grateful to have met and learned from Rob and it is a gift to have him featured in “To the Orcas with Love”. My hope is that his messages will continue to inspire others to care for our planet.