Mike Day is an Emmy nominated director, producer and cinematographer from Scotland.
Originally trained as a lawyer, in 2009 Mike left the city behind and headed off on a boat with a camera to the Scottish Outer Hebrides where he met the Guga Hunters of Ness, the last seabird hunters in the UK and EU. Enduring gales the small crew managed to capture the guga hunt for the first time in 50 years on Sula Sgeir, a crag of rock 40 miles north of the Isle of Lewis. But, as he was almost finished the editing, Mike became ill with encephalitis, waking up in hospital a week later surrounded by very worried family.
He had lost the ability to walk, had a severe squint from the swelling pushing behind his eyes, speech issues, and memory loss, and was told to accept that he would not be able to work again. After months of neuro-physio to regain balance and walking, he started to edit a little more each day, eventually finishing the film a year later, it aired on BBC Scotland in 2011. He then threw himself into his next film.
Not knowing if he’d be able to work again with a camera, The Islands and the Whales, shot over four years in the Faroe Islands, formed a major part of his recovery. Gaining the support of the Sundance Institute, Creative Scotland, Wellcome Trust, and others along the way, the film premiered in 2016, going on to have cinema and TV releases worldwide, winning a Peabody Award and BAFTA and Emmy nominations.
Mike’s production company, Intrepid Cinema, is now working on his next documentary about the Cowboy Poets of the American West due for release in 2022.
Mike said: “When I fell ill with encephalitis in 2010, my family and myself found Encephalitis International a huge support to understand the challenges and what we could expect in the months and years to follow. I am delighted to be able to return this support as an Ambassador and champion the work of the charity going forward.”
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Mike also appeared on the Encephalitis Podcast in 2021. Watch his interview with Dr Ava Easton below or on our channel on Google Play, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Podbean.