Andrew Williamson, director Mirjam Leuze, cameraman Simon Schneider and sound recorder Millar Montgomery at the Kitimat viewpoint overlooking Douglas Channel.

Documentary focuses on whale researchers

“Wray and Meuter are involved in groundbreaking research.”

A Vancouver-based film crew was in Kitimat last week to film footage for a documentary being produced featuring whale research duo Janie Wray and Hermann Meuter.

Wray and Meuter established their research station on Gil Island in 2001, 100km from Kitimat at the entrance to Douglas Channel.

Documentary producer Andrew Williamson said the documentary is being produced by the National Film Board of Canada and German TV network Arte and will focus on the two researchers, the only two people that are allowed to live on the island.

“Wray and Meuter are involved in groundbreaking research,” said Williamson.

“We will be producing a feature-length documentary on their work.”

The researchers were given permission to live on the island on condition that they share the results of their research with the Gitga’at Nation, as part of the Gitga’at’s campaign opposing the laying of new pipeline in the region.

“This documentary will look at all sides of the argument. We’re in Kitimat because this is a resource-based town and jobs are important,” said Williamson.

He said the documentary would also enable the producers to show international audiences Gil Island, Hartley Bay, the Douglas Channel, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

The documentary will look at the complexity of protecting the natural habitat while still protecting jobs.

“That approach is very important, particularly to this area,” said Williamson.

The crew started shooting footage last week and will be in the area for three weeks in May, and will return in September for more footage.