top of page

Spindrift Images

Documentary Film Productions

The Witness Is a Whale

Directed and Photographed by Nick and Cheryl Dean

Our current production The Witness Is a Whale reveals one of the greatest environmental crimes of the 20th Century - the secret and illegal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of whales by the Soviet Union and Japan during the Cold War. Through never-before-seen archival footage, hidden documents, and personal records kept by Soviet scientists, The Witness Is a Whale exposes this ruthless killing for the first time on film. Our documentary also recounts the post-whaling recovery of many different whale species and highlights their overall importance to the health of our oceans.

A Co-Production of: Spindrift Images, Terra Mater Factual Studios and Mark Fletcher Productions.

The Witness Is a Whale Poster_laurels FINAL.jpg

Available to stream in the UK on BBC iPlayer:

Recent Press:


The Witness Is a Whale was beautiful, elegant and initially hard to get a handle on. Was it a natural history film about whale behaviour? A lyrical eulogy to a species? An environmental exposé of the secret mass killing of whales by the Soviet Union and Japan? It was all of these things interwoven, couched in awed statements about the importance of whales to the health of our oceans.” 
James Jackson,
The Times     


“A mesmerising hour-long documentary about the largest animals that have ever lived on earth… Upsetting and beautiful in equal measure, this film pieced clues together and estimated that 300 years ago, there were five million whales in the oceans… almost all wiped out by the time a global moratorium on whaling was imposed in 1986.” 
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail 


“Jaw-dropping documentary… miraculous underwater footage… exposes the heartbreaking history of illegal whale hunting and its damaging effects” Sean Avery, Daily Emerald

2022 CFF Consevation winner Black Print Laurels.png
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Wild  Scenic Film Festival - 2022 (1).png
JWWitness is a Whale-laurel.jpeg
Cannes 2021_Silver Winner.png
Green Report.png
INFF Nominee Laurel 21.jpeg
WFFR-LAUREL_Official_Selection_2021 (1).png
LAUREL NEGRO_Winner copy.png
2022 KIOFF Laurel copy.png
bottom of page