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Over the past two decades, wildlife photographer Scott Portelli has devoted himself to documenting and capturing the behaviour of humpback whales in Tonga, a group of islands in the middle of the South Pacific. 


Produced and directed by Ocean Imaging's Stefan Andrews, Swimming with Gentle Giants explores Scott’s close connection to these animals and showcases a fascinating variety of unique whale behaviour. From competitive ‘heat runs’ where up to 20 males chase a female to mate, to curious calves experiencing their world for the very first time, this film exposes both heart racing moments and the affectionate nature of these wild and wonderful underwater creatures. 

Click here to watch the full film


The film will be premiered as part of the Ocean Film Festival World Tour beginning February 2020. Currently touring in Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, China and the UK, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour screens over 2 hours of the most inspirational, educational and entertaining films related to the ocean from independent film makers around the world. Each of the festival’s films conveys a deep respect and appreciation for the world’s oceans and the creatures that call them home.

The film has also been selected to be screened at the 17th annual International Ocean Film Festival at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco this March. Through this festival, the power of visual storytelling and independent films, audiences of all ages are inspired to become better ocean stewards, and help to protect our oceans. 

Most recently announced, the film will also be screened at the Elements Film Festival in Vancouver this April. The films in Vancouver’s Environmental Film Festival's 2020 program come from filmmakers in 10 countries. Each of the films presents a unique perspective on the issues of climate change, plastic pollution, deforestation, human-wildlife conflict, and habitat destruction.

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Stefan Andrews descends on a large humpback in Tonga . Image by Scott Portelli

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