IN THE WHALE - with director David Abel in-person


Cinema Arts Centre - Cinema 1 Fri, Mar 1 7:00 PM



The Greatest Fish Story Ever Told
Friday, March 1 at 7 PM

In Person: Filmmaker David Abel
$18 Public | $12 Members


From award-winning filmmaker David Abel, an amazing documentary chronicling the journey of Michael Packard, a Cape Cod lobster diver who survived to tell the tale of being swallowed by a humpback whale, and the events that followed when the reclusive fisherman was thrust into the international limelight. Ultimately, it’s a love story — how a fisherman's love for the sea and a father's love for his family helped him survive in the whale and has helped him survive in another whale, his depression.


In the shark-filled waters off Cape Cod, Michael Packard has long tempted fate. For several months a year, Packard and his longtime mate, Josiah Mayo, cast off nearly every morning around dawn and navigate through the half-light to their diving grounds off Provincetown, the idiosyncratic, isolated community where they grew up at the tip of the Cape. Packard buckles on his scuba tank and plunges into the cold waters to hunt on the seafloor.


As the region’s last-remaining commercial lobster diver, the aging father has had his share of harrowing experiences, which include close encounters with great whites, nearly drowning, and having to pull up the body of a fellow diver. He even survived a plane crash in the jungles of Costa Rica, where he ran a charter fishing business. But what happened to him on a routine dive during a clear June morning was something he never imagined possible, and many around the world refused to believe.


In an experience of biblical proportions, Packard was engulfed by a humpback whale, caught in the watery cavity of its massive mouth. The publicity was similarly dizzying for the reclusive fisherman, whose survival story spread around the world in news dispatches. But what came after the limelight dimmed was even more significant for Packard. (USA, 2023, 81 mins, color, DCP)


David Abel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers environmental issues for The Boston Globe. He is also a professor of the practice at Boston University. Abel’s work has won an Edward R. Murrow Award, the Ernie Pyle Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting. His most recent film, “Entangled,” which was broadcast by PBS’s World Channel, was nominated for a 2022 Emmy, won a Jackson Wild award, known as the Oscars of nature films, and Best Feature Film at the International Wildlife Film Festival, among other awards. Abel previously co-directed and produced “Sacred Cod,” which was broadcast by the Discovery Channel. He also directed and produced two films about the Boston Marathon bombings, which were broadcast on BBC World News and Discovery Life. His other films include “Lobster War,” which won “Best New England Film'' at the Mystic Film Festival, and “Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys,” which won the Miami Film Festival’s Knight Made in Miami Award. Abel, who began learning to make films as a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, is IN THE WHALE’s producer, director, writer, and cinematographer.