In 2019, our Sound Science team members spent a grueling field season in Frederick Sound, Alaska doing a particularly difficult playback experiment. Our goal was to determine what the function of a humpback whale call actually is. Simply put, we were trying to understand what the whale is saying when it calls.

We were joined in the field by a documentary filmmaker Drew Xanthopoulos. He directed and filmed “Fathom”, a film aimed not just at glorifying humpback whales, but at understanding whales and the biologists who risk everything to study them. For our part, Drew followed us through the field as we conducted our research. In watching the film you can see what the process (warts and all) of doing this work actually looks and feels like. We are extremely proud to announce that Fathom premiered at the Tribeca Film festival on June 16, 2021, and will premiere globally on Apple TV+ on June 25, 2021.

The trailer for the film Fathom, premiering on Apple TV+ on June 25, 2021.
Fathom premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. From left to right: Executive Producer Andrea Meditch, Producer Megan Gilbride, Director Drew Xanthopoulos, Director Dr. Michelle Fournet, Assistant Director Dr. Leanna Matthews, and Research Associate Natalie Mastick Jensen.

Fathom will also be playing in select theaters:

  • Village East – New York, NY
  • Monica Film Center – Los Angeles, CA
  • Roxy Theater – Missoula, MT
  • Smith Rafael Film Center – San Rafael, CA
  • Heritage Theater – Sandwich, MA
  • City Lights Theater – Georgetown, TX

To read about Fathom and hear more from our founder, Michelle, check out the links below.

Listen to Dr. Michelle Fournet and Director Drew Xanthopoulos on All of It with Alison Stewart on WYNC.

Listen to Dr. Fournet on StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Read about the integral Maggie Knight’s experience in the field during the filming of Fathom in this article from LSU.

RogerEbert.com gives the film 3.5/4 stars in this glowing review.

Producer Megan Gilbride and Director Drew Xanthopoulos are interviewed for this piece in the Austin Chronicle.

Watch Director Drew Xanthopoulos’ interview with Samantha B. of Kids First below. Make sure to watch Samantha’s 5 star review video, as well!