Photographer Nick Hawkins documents the necropsy of a North Atlantic right whale on Miscou Island, NB | HitPlay Productions

Nadine Pequeneza’s Last of the Right Whales Signs with Off the Fence

4 mins read

Toronto-based filmmaker Nadine Pequenza recently signed a deal to have her latest feature documentary Last of the Right Whales distributed by Off the Fence. The production and distribution company was recently behind the hit nature documentary My Octopus Teacher, which won the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Documentary Feature and scored worldwide distribution through Netflix.

Last of the Right Whales chronicles the fight to save the endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which approximately 400 remain worldwide. Like My Octopus Teacher, Last of the Right Whales promises a compelling study about the relationship between humans and the non-human animals of the world. Shot in 4K, Last of the Right Whales uses a mix of cinema verité footage of the right whales and activists in action along with character-driven drama to capture the stakes in the fight to save the whales from extinction. The film follows characters including Charles “Stormy” Mayo, senior scientist, co-founder, and chair of the Department of Ecology at the Center for Coastal Studies; Kim Davies, assistant professor in biological science at the University of New Brunswick Saint John; snow crab fisherman Martin Noel; photographer Nick Hawkins; and Barbara Zoodsma, coordinator of the NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Region’s North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Program.

The film is executive produced by Joanne Jackson (The Woman Who Loves Giraffes) with Sholeh Fabbri (Entertainment Tonight Canada) as Impact Producer. Partnerships include NGO the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and Canadian Whale Institute.

“Last of the Right Whales is an important story of hope, impact and action, all of which plays into Off the Fence’s strengths as a distributor,” said Loren Baxter, head of acquisitions at Off the Fence, in a statement. “Nadine and her team at HitPlay Productions have incredible access and use stunning visuals of these Great Whales to reinforce why it’s so important we save these animals who are on the brink of extinction. We’re very excited to be working with such a talented team and look forward to bringing this project to our international clients.”

“Off The Fence is the perfect distribution partner for Last of the Right Whales,” added Pequeneza. “Loren Baxter and her team have been tracking our progress since the start of production and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them take this incredibly important story into the world.”

Through HitPlay, Pequeneza’s previous credits include the feature documentary The Invisible Heart, which studied the role of Social Impact Bonds; Next of Kin, which explored the lives of young Canadians in foster care and was broadcast on CBC; and 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story, a portrait of an American teen facing a life sentence in prison. 15 to Life won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing, while both 15 to Life and The Invisible Heart were nominated for the Donald Brittain Award.

HitPlay retains rights in North America for Last of the Right Whales and has previously confirmed deals with SWR and ARTE, European public service channels in Germany and France; and CBC in Canada. The film will be released in theatres this fall by IndieCan and CBC plans to air the documentary in 2022.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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