One with the whale

documentary i Pete chelkowski & jim wickens

In St. Lawrence, Alaska, a remote island in the Bering Sea where hunting whales is a matter of life and death, a shy Native teen, Chris Apassingok, became the youngest person ever to harpoon a whale for his village. His family gets blindsided by thousands of keyboard activists brutally attacking him online—without fully understanding the importance of the hunt to his community’s survival. “One with the Whale” chronicles the obstacles Chris and his family face, amidst larger currents of food security, environmental racism, climate change, cultural genocide, and social media. The livelihood of the Apassingoks and their village are threatened as they search for a balance between modernity and a traditional subsistence lifestyle.

TRT: 87 minutes

Release: April 23, 2024


Distributor: Independent Lens


Pete Chelkowski

Pete Chelkowski is a producer/director. His debut feature film was “Carnival Roots” and his other works include “Life Below Zero: First Alaskans,” “Who Runs the World,” “Ocean Warriors,” “Fighting Tuna,” and “I Learn America.” He regularly works undercover for Ecostorm, an environmental detective agency. He specializes in producing the difficult and making it seem easy.

jim wickens

Jim Wickens is a leading storyteller on the frontline of environmental conflicts. His work has screened on Channel 4 News, Animal Planet, CNN, and ITV. His uncompromising style has earned him numerous awards, including the Royal Television Society (RTS) Independent Filmmaker of the Year and the Wincott Foundation Award for Journalism. This is his first feature documentary.

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.


Project Coordinator​

(Hataža Mani Winga)​

"Cinema Aficionado"

Role: Jordana is excited to engage with different Native/Indigenous communities. Her passion for working with youth will help develop the Native Youth Media Project. She will also assist with the Creative Shorts Fellowship (CSF) to help organize deliverables for filmmakers.