In spring 2006 Johannes began searching for the topic of his final project for university. He found himself on Utila and enrolled on a scuba diving course with Dan as his instructor, who was known for his passion of underwater filming and in particular whale sharks. They realized their common interest in animal and nature documentaries and began working on their project ‘Big Fish Utila‘. Since the film has been privately financed and produced, the film has not been constrained by commercial interests. This has allowed the filmmakers to create a balanced account of what is known about the shark and how the human population on the island is affected and affecting, from the perspective of local fishermen, scientific researchers and the tourist industry.
The film allows interviews with a range of people to lead you along the story, rather than a narrative. This method ensured that the story was not constricted by pre-conceived ideas but that it evolved as more and more information and opinions were given. The documentary does not focus solely on the research and life of the whale shark but also the cultural impacts the whale shark tourism industry has on the island culture. It must not be forgotten that the whale shark was part of Utilian life long before the scientists and tourists arrived