Barbara Webb - panelist for Film Festival event

REEL TALKS: THE PURPOSE OF CONNECTION - Edinburgh International Film Festival

Directed by Drew Xanthopoulous, 'Fathom', is a passionate documentary which showcases the curiosity, collaboration and dedication of leading scientists in the dynamic process of discovery.

The film features Dr. Michelle Fournet (Oregon State University) and Dr. Ellen Garland (University of St Andrews), who focus on the study of humpback whales: their song, their culture and their structures of communication. In Alaska, Fournet attempts to open up a dialogue with humpback whales by playing previous recordings of a distinctive ‘whoop’ sound. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in the south Pacific, Garland uses their song to map out the whales’ journey across the vast oceans.

Following a screening of the film, Barbara Webb sat as a panel member for REEL TALKS: THE PURPOSE OF CONNECTION.  The panel explored the purpose and power of connection and how broadening our understanding of the natural world, and how other species communicate, can lead us to a greater understanding of human connection.

Drawing inspiration from Fathom and the pioneering research of Dr Ellen Garland and Dr Michelle Fournet on the function of humpback whale song and communication, the conversation highlighted women in STEM, climate change and compassionate filmmaking at its finest.

'Fathom' is available to watch on AppleTV+ and will be shown in selected theatres from 25 June.

Useful links

EIFF 2021

Drew Xanthopoulous

Dr. Michelle Fournet (Oregon State University)

Dr. Ellen Garland (University of St Andrews)