A Film by Jonathon Kay



NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN is the fantastic animated action adventure of NAYA The Golden Dolphin Princess (Academy Award Nominee Quvenzhané Wallis) whose father, King of the Golden Dolphins (Gerard Butler), sends her on an urgent mission to eight corners of the Earth that are rich and fluid with dolphin energy, to unite the dolphins and save the oceans. Through her global quest, she learns true courage and uses her magical powers to complete her ultimate destiny.



NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN is the fantastic story of NAYA The Golden Dolphin Princess (Academy Award Nominee Quvenzhané Wallis) whose father King of the Golden Dolphins (Gerard Butler) sends her on a mission to eight corners of the world to unite all the dolphins and save the oceans. The Earth is in trouble and the dolphins all over the world are in danger. The adventure of the Golden Dolphin Princess takes her to eight regions of the Earth that are rich and fluid with dolphin energy. In each region, there is a magical porthole which NAYA journeys through. NAYA must find a special treasure in each country, to share with humans. As a Golden Dolphin, NAYA has the magical ability to shapeshift into any form, blending in with each Dolphin Tribe along the way, becoming one with them. Through her global quest, she learns true courage and uses her magical powers to complete her ultimate destiny.

Touched with humor and alive with thrils, breathtaking cinematography captures the awesome beauty and staggering you are there incredible adventure of NAYA Princess of the Golden Dolphins, through the oceans of Hawaii, The Bahamas, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mozambique, and the Amazon River of Brazil.

Predators hunt them, Pollution of their environment endangers them, but these intelligent beings continue to live effortlessly as the guardians of the sea.


For the very first time in cinema, after five years in the making, Director and Producer JONATHON KAY brings to the screen this enchanting film about nature's most wonderful miracles.

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The dolphins initially lived on Earth more than fifty million years ago as air breathing land dwellers. They became enchanted by the oceans of the world, and eventually evolved to live under the sea. They are the most efficient swimmers in the world, swimming five times faster than the speediest human being. Their brains are larger than the human brain, with a capacity 40% greater, making them one of the most intelligent creatures on Earth. The dolphins have been part of our culture, embedded in the human psyche since the beginning of time. Ancient Greeks have depicted them on coins, saving children from drowning at sea. They are famous for helping fisherman in times of need, saving humans from attacks of the great white sharks, and celebrated in paintings, sculptures and various art forms across the planet.

But no one has ever talked to them and seen the world through the eyes of the dolphins... until now.

My goal is to pull from the sea a story that has never seen the light of day for want of a teller. My desire is to tell a real story evoking the legend of the dolphins and their message to humanity through an extraordinary cinematic journey through the oceans of eight corners of the world where the dolphins have evolved to live… from the mysterious pink dolphins of Brazil that came from the salty waters of the sea up the mouth of the Amazon River to become freshwater dolphins, to the Orcas of Canada, the largest and most powerful dolphins in the world, to the Common Dolphins of South Africa who thrive on giant shoals of sardines in a home shared with Great White and Copperhead Sharks, a home that is wild with danger and excitement. The dolphins and their destiny have always fascinated me. It is time for the legend of the dolphins to be told.

NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN tells a tale of legendary proportions, portraying the strange, spectacular destiny of these powerful and emotionally involving characters; a tale rich in beauty, courage, humor, mystery, and messages to humanity.





There has never before been a comprehensive feature-length film portraying the beautiful legend of the dolphins in an enchanting adventure throughout the oceans of the Earth. Our task was a large one, requiring a constant change in crew and adaptation to weather conditions as we traveled to the Amazon jungle of Brazil, Mozambique, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bimini, and Hawaii. Becoming one with the locals in each country, we were able to travel to the most remote areas to film each dolphin in its natural habitat. Sometimes, we were forced to return to shooting locations on multiple occasions, as the initial visit had unpredictable weather conditions causing the inability to capture the necessary footage required for this film.

The majority of the species selected for this production are hidden from the world, and unknown to the general public. Often the Bottlenose Dolphin, which we also filmed, is the dolphin species that everyone knows; however the mysterious Boto, the pink dolphins of the Amazon, the Spotted Dolphins of Bimini, the Hawaiian Spinner dolphins, the Dusky and Hectors Dolphins of New Zealand - these are all extraordinary beings that many will see for the very first time in NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN.

Finding the right location to shoot within each country was challenging, but we succeeded through years of extensive research. This involved travel to many of the countries at various times.  Director Jonathon Kay traveled to the Amazon four times before finding the perfect location for filming the Boto, the mysterious pink dolphins.

Filmed in Super 16mm to convey the full visual impact of these magnificent creatures, NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN is filmed underwater, bringing audiences into the world of each dolphin species and taking them on a wild adventure. Experienced underwater divers using specialized cameras were able to capture every aspect of each dolphin in breathtakingly beautiful detail.






How does one become the director of a film like “NAYA Legend of the Golden Dolphin”?

I always wanted to make a film on dolphins. My first personal encounters with them began in January 2001, when I had the wonderful opportunity to swim with wild Bottlenose Dolphins off the coast of Western Australia with my two daughters, Natasha and Sinead. We had an incredible underwater encounter with the Bottlenose Dolphins.  It was like visiting with an extraterrestrial life form in their own world. Years later, I was driving down a highway in Maui. I picked up a hitch-hiker named Rafael and his three-year-old daughter. I asked what he did for a living, and he said he takes people out kayaking with wild dolphins. Upon his invitation, I joined them and went out to sea off the coast of Maui. There were hundreds of dolphins frolicking and playing in the sea and appeared to be trying to communicate with the humans that interacted with them. It was a fantastic experience. I felt their sonar permeate every part of my mind and body.  The spirits of the dolphins touched my soul. It was at this point that I was inspired to make the film.

How did “NAYA Legend of The Golden Dolphin” evolve?

I started this project about five years ago, and slowly over months it began to take shape. It all started with doing extensive research on dolphin sonar and the awesome healing encounters of children and adults alike, whom I met with on the island of Maui after the kayaking experience with Rafael. I interviewed other kayakers and swimmers, finding that many had experienced awesome healing encounters with dolphins.

I began to look for funding for this film, and attended the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii monthly meeting on Maui, at which Alicia Silverstone was the featured guest providing insights into veganism. During the intermission, I went outside and was talking in the parking lot with a twenty year old man who recommended that I contact a man named Isaac. He said Isaac was the man who invented the Veggie Burger and would be a great source of funding of the movie. He wrote down his number for me and when I reached Isaac, Isaac advised me that he did not invent the Veggie Burger but he was a great lover of dolphins, and he invited me to the Big Island of Hawaii to meet with him and experience the wild Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. He introduced me to many members of the dolphin community including my wonderful friend JOAN OCEAN. The Big Island is a Mecca for dolphins, a wonderful island to which the dolphins come to rest, to play, and to mate.

I commenced filming of the Spinner Dolphins on the Big Island and experienced many fantastic encounters with them, and was fascinated by the remarkable effects of dolphin sonar on the human body and mind. I researched countless stories over a two-year period with various children who had had miraculous healing encounters with dolphins. Now, I was committed to make a feature film on the dolphins.

The story evolved from healing encounters to become a rare adventure and exploration into the lives of the dolphins around the world, their message to humanity and the importance of their survival. I was on an awesome adventure.


Weren’t you put off by the fact that you were embarking on a film that took you to an underwater world, with unknown territories and sometimes-extreme conditions?

No not at all. Even though I was born in Winnipeg, Canada, a town in the Prairies surrounded by land with no water or marine life, I’ve always been drawn to the ocean. My mother remarried to an amazing Australian named John Wyndham, and I lived in Australia during my teen years, where I had the wonderful experience of living by the sea and enjoying marine life.

Some areas in which we filmed were very challenging. When we went to the heart of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, we were in extremely remote conditions, so neither the crew nor the footage left the shoot before the story wrapped. There was no Federal Express, no safe way to transport footage back to the film lab for development. These were very extreme conditions but our journey to the Amazon was a remarkable experience, bearing some of the best footage of the movie.


Were there unexpected dangers?

In the Amazon jungle of Brazil where we were filming the Boto, the pink dolphin of the Amazon, there were several natural potential dangers that were eminent to both director and camera crew. There are many parasites in the Amazon river, such as the Candiru. This is a worm-like parasite that digs into your body at nighttime, and can kill you in about six hours, particularly if they hit blood vessels, your heart or the brain. Other challenges in the Amazon included anacondas, caimans, and piranhas, which all reside in this tropical domain. At one point, when swimming in the river outside a remote village, I felt a piranha biting my leg. Children of the Amazon were most terrified of the Anacondas, as they can surprise you underwater when you least expect them, and coil themselves around you until you drown, before having you for lunch. But when we were filming in the underwater residence of the pink dolphins, we felt relatively safe. The anacondas, piranhas and caimans seem to respect the domain of the dolphins.

Our underwater cameraman in South Africa, Mark Gerasimenko, was attacked by a Copperhead shark during the filming of the sardine run in which dolphins, sharks, Brides Whales and Cape Gannet birds all come together in a great feeding frenzy.  Of course, Mark was filming the whole time, the dedicated cinematographer that he is, and he managed to save his own life by fending off the shark with the underwater camera housing, which is quite heavy and quite large. On the same shoot in South Africa the boat captain actually lost me in the sea for half an hour because I was wearing a grey wetsuit, (with a color much like the dolphins) and he could not differentiate me from the dolphins in the chaos of the wild South Africa currents. He was so happy to see me when I came back aboard the boat!

More dangers in South Africa include the Cape Gannet birds. One after the other, with their long sharp spindly beaks, they would plummet down from the sky like missiles, deep into the sea, to feast on sardines. I wondered how good their coordination skills and their eyesight were. One day there was a 15-year-old Russian boy on the boat’s lookout tower and a Cape Gannet bird struck him right in the head. It was a painful experience for him and he had to have stitches applied by the emergency medic in the village. Luckily he survived.

At Bimini, an island surrounded by coral reefs in The Bahamas, which is said to be the location of the lost continent of Atlantis, we filmed the Spotted Dolphins. Unexpectedly there was hurricane weather for about two of the three weeks we were there. Filming during that weather was extremely dangerous. The waves were treacherous. And it was almost impossible to find the dolphins in a sea filled with white caps. We persisted but with the hurricane weather, we had no choice but to go to shore and wait for better conditions. We were forced to return in a subsequent year in which there was sunny weather and a calm glasslike sea, to accomplish our mission.

In South Africa and Australia, one of the dangers that are lurking in the sea and could affect us at anytime were the Great White sharks. The year before we filmed in South Africa, one of the divers had half of his face eaten off by a shark, because he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Australia is also the home of the Tiger Shark. When filming in Cape Perrin, off the coast of Western Australia, there were extreme risks anytime we went into the water. I was camping near Cape Perrin by a sandy desolate beach where you would not see a human for miles. It was so hot and the conditions were so fierce, I occasionally went for a swim in the sea. At one point a fisherman came into shore and warned me not to swim at all as there were VERY large Tiger Sharks in these waters and they would eat me up for lunch in a minute.

While filming the Spinner Dolphins off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, I was bit on my arm by a jellyfish. When I saw the doctors they never did find a remedy for it, but through time and natural healing the pain subsided. These were some of the challenges of making a movie that is ninety percent underwater, but we were driven by the spirit of the dolphins and always did what we had to do to keep the cameras rolling.


What do you think are the greatest challenges and menaces for the dolphins?

One of their greatest predators is the shark in Australia, Bimini, and South Africa. South Africa and Australia is the home of the Great White Shark and dolphins are on its menu. The Tiger Sharks in the warm waters surrounded the Island of Bimini have attacked and killed young dolphins separated from their parents and wounded dolphins many a time. Sharks can bite off the dolphin’s long bottlenose and mouths until they bleed to death.

But by far, the largest dangers for dolphins are the humans. Fishing nets are like curtains of death to the dolphins. Nets both for commercial or sport kill a million dolphins a year. Sadly the Hectors Dolphin tribe of New Zealand has become an endangered species, primarily due to drowning in gill nets.

In the Amazon region of Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, the real threats are disastrous logging practices and toxic waste from oil refining and gold mining, with their lethal mistress, mercury. This can cause death to the pink dolphins of the Amazon and the whole family tree.

Other challenges for the dolphins and their survival are pollution, fish farms, plastics being thrown into the sea, various forms of garbage, chemicals poisoning the dolphins…noise pollution is another challenge for the dolphins. Many attribute the beached dolphins in Australia to the dolphins being disorientated by artificial sonar from navy ships or from various forms of noise pollution, which impede their navigational abilities and echolocation.

It is my sincere hope that upon seeing this film, international audiences will voice their concerns about the importance of the conservation of the environment of the oceans and the rivers of our planet, and participate in encouraging a series of measures to stop the destruction of the underwater domains of the dolphins and all life under the sea before it is too late.


Why do you think the dolphins are the most intelligent species on the planet?

My experience with the dolphins has shown me they have incredible levels of intelligence. The dolphins have an unusually large brain. An average adult Bottlenose Dolphin possesses a 1.7 kg brain, while the human brain weighs on average only about 1.4kg. A dolphin’s brain is not only big but also complex with large brain hemispheres remarkably extended circumvallated on the cortex. I’ve filmed first hand the dolphins’ hunting for food using their sonar. They can “see” through sand, matter and even human bodies, similar to Superman’s X-ray vision. They use their sonar to find fish to eat that live deep in the sand. They can also use their sonar to see tumors inside humans swimming beside them and to see the baby inside a mother’s womb. The dolphins can hear sounds from miles away and they can sense dangers such as volcanoes about to erupt or the start of an earthquake - any extreme condition that can affect their sustainability. There have been many times throughout history where dolphins have used their intelligence to outsmart Great White Sharks and to rescue humans from shark attacks.

In making NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN, I’ve seen the dolphins help in the healing of children, enrich the human spirit and lift it up beyond people’s wildest dreams, beyond imagination.

Man has always assumed that he is more intelligent than dolphins because he has achieved so much...the wheel, electricity, gasoline powered cars, computers, the smart bomb, wars, and so on.... while the dolphins have been playing effortlessly in the oceans and rivers of the Earth, with no need to destroy or dominate the planet. Conversely, I believe the dolphins are more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons.

If you listen to the dolphins, you will learn the secret to mans survival: Peace.


How long did the shoot last?

The whole production, including research and development, took more than five years. We filmed in eight different locations around the world. The actual shooting time within that period was two years, providing twenty-one hours of images. The underwater filming of this story, which spanned the oceans of the eight corners of the world and all the way up the Amazon River, was extremely time-consuming and required incredible patience and endurance.


How did you get the wonderful cast of 11 stars, including Oscar winning Kate Winslet, to narrate the film?

NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN is an unusual film in that it was entirely filmed from the point of view of the dolphins. I spent much time, care and thought looking for the appropriate star narrators to best convey the characters and incredible spirits of the individual dolphin tribes featured in this legend. In selecting the stars to tell the story, I conducted extensive research and searched for actors that had previous encounters with dolphins and the protection of the environment of the oceans. I especially wanted actors that could tune in to the spirit of the dolphins… the magnificent beauty and intellects of the dolphins, and their messages to humanity… to record their story evoking the passion, the magic, and the charm of the dolphins of the world that unite in this film.

Kate Winslet loves the dolphins and wanted to support the conservation of the dolphins of our world. She was especially interested in the awesome healing benefits to autistic children when encountering wild dolphins. I flew to New York, where we recorded her at Outloud Recording Studios in Manhattan. Her voice is exceptionally beautiful and charming as the voice of the dolphins that come to Mozambique to make love under the sea.

The first actor who I asked to participate as a storyteller in this documentary was Whoopi Goldberg. I met her in 1988 at a dinner party hosted by Steven Spielberg and Michael Jackson in Beverly Hills, and I talked to her about the project that I had been working on at the time, Walking After Midnight. At the dinner, I had a good connection with her. Years later, I asked her to participate on NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN and Whoopi immediately agreed. She was amazing and it was wonderful to have her on board.

Another wonderful creative force is Julian Lennon who has a keen interest in dolphins and whales, and their conservation. He participated on the making of a film in Australia about whales and the stories of the aboriginal dreamtime, Whaledreamers. Julian’s father John Lennon also has a creative presence in the film – his beautiful song IMAGINE plays an important part. Yoko Ono generously contributed the use of this song for our project.

When I was recording with Julian Lennon in New York, I wrote to Megan Fox and requested her participation. She said she would love to participate but that she was currently acting in a feature film in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were on tight time restrictions and Megan was still going to be on filming on location for weeks. I asked that we record her that weekend. Her manager was very understanding but said there was no guarantee that Megan could do it that weekend, since she was working 16 hour days on the movie set of Passion Play. I had a really good feeling that Megan would participate on our movie. I took a chance and flew from New York to Santa Fe so that I would be there in the event she could participate. I arrived and sure enough Megan’s manager called me up on Saturday and said, YES, she’s available now and would love to come into the studio with me on Sunday afternoon to record the part of the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins for our movie. It worked out perfectly. Megan’s voice is amazing.

I selected actor Diego Luna to tell the story of the Boto of the Amazon due to his wonderful mysterious voice and awesome screen presence. I asked Diego if I could record him when he and I were in Los Angeles but he was tied up at that time. He asked me to come down to record him at a studio in Mexico City, which I did. That was the farthest I had to travel to record a storyteller for this film. Diego saw the entire film and tuned in to the spirits and lives of the mysterious pink dolphins of the Amazon. He wanted this part of the film to be exceptional and it is.

For the Orcas, I wanted a strong and powerful female voice, as the women are the leaders of their tribe. I have seen the television series produced and starred in by Isabella Rossellini called Bug Porn, and I love Isabella’s fabulous energy and wonderful creativity. I especially liked her performance in Blue Velvet. I wrote to Isabella and was invited to New York City to record her at the same studio in which we recorded Kate Winslet, Julian Lennon and Whoopi Goldberg.

Gerard Butler was the last actor to participate in the story telling of NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN. I had always envisioned a Scottish actor to tell the actual legends of the dolphins, how they started off 50 million years ago and how they evolved. In searching the world for the finest Scottish voice, I listened to Gerard Butler’s voice and was immediately mesmerized. I was determined to have Gerard Butler be the storyteller of the legend of the dolphins. I asked him to participate and within days I got a positive “Yes! I would love to do this.” He told me about his wonderful encounters with dolphins in California on Catalina Island, which inspired him to participate on this film. The dolphins enchanted him and really touched his soul, so he really wanted to participate on this project. His voice is brilliant.











In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complex, gifted with extensions of the senses that we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.”

-- Henry Beston

Diviner than the dolphin is nothing yet created, for indeed they were aforetime men and lived in cities along with mortals, but by the devising of Dionysus they exchanged the land for the sea and put on the form of fishes.”

-- Oppian, Greek Writer, 200 B.C.

Dolphin societies are extraordinarily complex, and up to ten generations coexist at one time. If that were the case with man, Leonardo da Vinci, Faraday, and Einstein would still be alive.

-- Professor Yabalov