August 1 2017

Every great success story must showcase the next generation. However, in the last half century; researchers, filmmakers, and conservationists have yet to witness a birth of the North Pacific Humpback Whale. One of the most biologically significant events in any animal’s life is still a big mystery to us. The goal of this film is to, for the first time ever, capture a birth of the poster animal for the conservation movement. With that footage as the center piece, we can tell their story.

This is the story of a sentient being's epic battle to prove to the world that is has every right to call this pale blue dot its home. The North Pacific Humpback Whale was hunted to the brink of extinction. The early ‘70s brought us close to the point of no return; only about 500 of these whales were left in the entire North Pacific. Fewer than 50 years later, we are looking at a population closer to 25,000. In less than one lifetime, we have witnessed one of the greatest success stories in conservation history—one that finally culminated in August 2016 when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finally removed the North Pacific Humpback Whale from the endangered species list. Thanks to the compassion and empathy of the same species that brought these whales into the darkness, a veil has been lifted revealing a bright future. Due to the efforts of many we have successfully helped restore one of this planet’s oldest living forms of consciousness. Proof that we can make a difference. Proof that change is possible.

KOHOLA is not just a tale of love, death, and perseverance, but also one of immense hope. It’s a story that can ignite a revolution. The popular conversations of the day are those of doom and gloom, death, and destruction, with stories of success and inspiration going unnoticed. But today, more than ever, we need reasons to feel hopeful and inspired. KOHOLA, the Hawaiian word for whale, is a story that needs to be told.

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August 1 2017


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Name: Christopher Cilfone
E-Mail: ccil516@gmail.com
Account ID: 529365320

Expedition Background

It is our goal to film an event that has eluded researchers, filmmakers, and conservationists for over half a century. This winter in the warm protected waters of Maui County we will try to capture, for the first time ever, a birth of the poster animal for the conservation movement, the Humpback Whale.

My name is Chris Cilfone and I’m a marine biologist, filmmaker, and National Geographic Explorer based on Maui

We need the ocean for our survival but for the first time in the history of this planet the ocean needs us too. It has been my job for the past 7 years to spark conservation through inspiration. To show the public why these coral reefs, whales, turtles, and fish are worth saving and to show them why this ocean is worth protecting. My passion for educating the public about marine conservation has brought me all over the world. From collecting algae samples deep within the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska to teaching the nation's youth about the ocean in the Florida Keys to presenting at Le Musée Océanographique De Monaco, I have worked with people from all backgrounds.

Combining my passion for the ocean with my background as a story teller, I have educated thousands of people from around the world about the importance of our marine ecosystem. My short films promoting ocean stewardship have been featured everywhere from film festivals to online forums. I’ve won numerous awards from festivals around the world: Ocean Geographic’s 2014 Picture of the Year: Master of Competition, Best Short Film at the Blue Ocean Film Festival in Monaco, and the Hero Award at the My Hero Film Festival are just a few of my accolades. The infectious passion of my team and myself have influenced people from all over the world to think about their actions regarding how they affect the ocean.

This winter my team and I are working on a documentary film entitled: Kohola. Kohola is the Hawaiian word for whale and come this December we are attempting to be the first people ever to film the birth of a North Pacific Humpback Whale. Right now, I am in pre-production. The filming will start this December and go until the end of May.

Being that the main subject of this film will be a protected species, I had to go through a very long application process to obtain a special permit that allows us to enter the water in close proximity to the whales enabling us to get the footage we need. This permit is the first permit issued for an educational/commercial film since they have been taken off of the endangered species list. Along with the permit comes the credibility of a federal branch of the United States government: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Over the next few months I will be gather as much funding as I can, getting all the logistics in order, and preparing my team for this incredibly hard task we're about to go up against.

I'll be introducing my team as we come closer to the first day of production and tell you what incredible skills they each bring to the table.

Follow us as we try to capture one of the most rare and sought after births in the entire animal kingdom.

Be Blue, Chris