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Press Release

From Idaho to France: Life By A Whisker Film Featuring The Marine Mammal Center Goes International

September 29, 2021
  • Climate change

From Idaho to France: Life By A Whisker Film Featuring The Marine Mammal Center Goes International Post-COVID

The large format film that showcases the work and mission of The Marine Mammal Center has gone international. ‘Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker’ has showings throughout the world, after its initial public release was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The film has already been licensed in over 20 locations throughout the world, including the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, IMAX Melbourne, and the Guangdong Science Center. The film highlights the mission of The Marine Mammal Center, the world’s largest marine mammal hospital, as a model for global ocean conservation.

The film has also won placement and awards in international festivals, including “Best Ecosystem Film” at Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, official selection in the prestigious Wild and Scenic Film Festival, and winner in the “Children and Young Adult” award category at the International Wildlife Film Festival. ‘Life by a Whisker’ is also coming soon to the Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam in Oct. 2021.

‘Life by a Whisker’ is a large format film, produced for IMAX and other giant screen theaters, that documents the story of Australian sea lions and Dirk Holman – a marine scientist who monitors the native sea lion population along Australia’s southern coast. The film takes viewers on a deep dive into the life of one Australian sea lion in particular, Otto, and details the trials and tribulations of a sea lion living in increasingly harsh conditions due to climate change.

It's incredible to see the reach this film has, and we’re pleased to see our mission portrayed so beautifully throughout the film.

“It’s incredible to see the reach this film has, and we’re pleased to see our mission portrayed so beautifully throughout the film,” said Dr. Jeff Boehm, CEO of The Marine Mammal Center. “The story of Otto underscores a call to action to help this endangered species of sea lions before it’s too late.”

The United States has bookings on both coasts and America’s heartland:

  • American Museum of Natural History (New York City, NY)
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History (Atlanta, GA)
  • Connecticut Science Center (Hartford, CT)
  • Kentucky Science Center (Louisville, KY)
  • Longway Planetarium (Flint, MI)
  • New England Aquarium (Boston, MA)
  • Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (Omaha, NE)
  • Herrett Center at the College of Southern Idaho (Twin Falls, ID, Dec. 2021)
  • Orlando Science Center (Orlando, FL)
  • Pink Palace Family of Museums (Memphis, TN)
  • San Diego Natural History Museum (San Diego, CA)
  • Tyler Junior College Earth and Space Science Center - Hudnall Planetarium (Tyler, TX)

Life By a Whisker Education Guides

These in-depth teacher guides for upper elementary and middle school students were created to accompany the “Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker” IMAX film. Each guide comes with a digital version and a print version.

The list of international licenses ranges from France to China, including:

  • Biarritz Aquarium (France)
  • China Science and Technology Museum (Beijing, China)
  • Guangdong Science Center (Guangdong, China)
  • IMAX Melbourne (Australia)
  • IMAX Victoria (Canada)
  • Otago Museum (New Zealand)
  • Science North (Canada, Mar. 2020)
  • Montreal Science Center (Canada)
  • Telus World of Science Edmonton (Canada)


“The entire production of this movie – from filming in Australia to Sausalito – was a special experience,” said Director Amelia McCarten. “Seeing the list of theaters, festivals, and countries that our story is reaching is incredible, and is a testimony to the mission of those fighting to save these magnificent animals on the front lines, like Dirk Holman and the entire staff at The Marine Mammal Center.”

By expanding communities’ access to ocean conservation and marine science learning opportunities, The Marine Mammal Center aims to provide the next generation of engaged citizens with not only inspiration, but also opportunities to address ocean health threats. 

Those efforts led the Center’s award-winning educators to release a series of online learning resources as an aid to families and teachers amidst the national school shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources are designed to help students in grades 3-8 learn more about marine mammal health, science, and conservation and include educator guides with curriculum based on the ‘Life by a Whisker’ film.


For more information or to set up an interview on this topic, please contact us at media@tmmc.org.



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Jeff Boehm
California Sea Lion