The Whalers

Cannes Docs

Project curated by: IEFTA

The Whalers

Original title: Os Baleeiros | Qilalukkiaqtuaq

Directed by: P.J. Marcellino, Jerri Thrasher

Produced by: Pedro Soulé, Samira Pereira (Kriolscope, Cape Verde), Jennifer Holness (Hungry Eyes Media, Canada), P.J. Marcellino (Anatomy of Restlessness Films, Canada/Cape Verde), Kári Úlfsson (Kvarki Films, Iceland)

Country of production: Cape Verde, Canada, France

Runtime: 105', 90'

Expected release: January 2023

Production stage: Late Development/Financing

Budget: €1,353,380.11

Budget in place: 27.5%

Looking for: Sales Agent, Pre-Buys, Additional Funding (especially AR/Interactive funding streams)


For centuries, whaling ships roamed the seas hunting for great cetaceans, as the tip of the harpoon in a killing industry that had become essential to a rapidly modernizing world. The work was arduous, dangerous, yet handsomely rewarded. Albeit forgotten by history, it was also largely performed by intrepid Black and Indigenous men in search of adventure and a dignified livelihood, at a time when men of colour had few other options. Many were Cape Verdean. Retracing whaling routes across three oceans, The Whalers reclaims a powerful narrative of steely determination, lost ancestry, and the forging of a multiracial and multicultural floating society that still echoes today.

Director’s profile:

P.J. MARCELLINO is an award-winning Cape Verdean-Canadian producer/director. He was formerly a journalist, researcher, and political analyst. Having directed short formats, his first mid-length, AFTER THE WAR: MEMOIRS OF EXILE (2014) was shortlisted for an Obama-Biden White House SAMHSA Voice Award in 2015. His debut feature documentary, the critically acclaimed WHEN THEY AWAKE (2017) premiered on opening night at Calgary International Film Festival, collecting awards and nominations internationally. Marcellino is a graduate of Seneca College’s Documentary Filmmaking Institute in Toronto. He is also a member of the Directors Guild of Canada and the Canadian Academy, a recipient of the Rigoberta Menchú Social Award, and a fellow of Geena Davis’ BFF Foundation and Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative. He directs THE WHALERS with Jerri THRASHER (THE LAST WALK, ARCTIC CHILLS, FOOD FOR THE REST OF US).

Producer’s profile:

Pedro Soulé is a Cape Verdean producer based in the city of Mindelo, a leading cultural hub in the Portuguese-speaking world and the cultural heart of the archipelago. A business management graduate, Soulé worked in various industries before co-founding Kriolscope Agency with writer/director Nuno Miranda and finding himself immersed in film and media production. Soulé produced Miranda’s KMÊDEUS (Eat God), a 2020 Rotterdam International Film Festival and Tribeca’s We Are One Festival hit, and was the local producer for Pedro Costa’s acclaimed VITALINA VARELA, and RTPs show CLUB ATLAS feat. DJ Branko and Dino D’Santiago. In 2020 he co-founded Baobab Film Collective to produce afrocentric TV drama. He is part of the 2021 EAVE Producer Workshop cohort with Baobab’s SOLOMON & THE MACHINE (8 eps) and is a lead producer in a diverse slate of Cape Verdean shorts and documentaries in development.