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Cinematographer Howard Hall films Mother

Humpback Whales: A Detective Story

A Gripping Films production for BBC Natural History Unit and PBS Nature

On 12 September 2015, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Gripping Films’ Tom Mustill and his friend Charlotte Kinloch as they paddled a sea kayak in Monterey Bay, California.

Incredibly, both survived the incident, but the near-death experience haunted documentary maker Tom and left him wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them.

To find the answer, Tom returned to California in 2018 to investigate.

Tom meets those who have survived similar hair-raising encounters and the experts who know the whales best. What he discovers raises far bigger questions, not just about what happened that day but also about our relationship with whales and their future alongside us.

Behind the scenes

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