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(written from a Production point of view)
Pieter Folkens is a marine mammal expert who served as advisor, designer, and sculptor for the mechanical whales George and Gracie on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He worked close to Industrial Light & Magic project supervisor Walt Conti on this project.
Beside his work as illustrator and author who published several books about marine mammals he is also working as lecturer for several science centers. Folkens is a founding board member of the Alaska Whale Foundation and a life member of the Marine Mammal Center.
Folkens worked close to Walt Conti and his company Edge Innovations since the early '90s and advised and created the mechanical whales, sharks, and dolphins on projects such as the adventure film Free Willy (1993) and its sequels Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995) and Free Willy 3: The Rescue (1997), the science fiction series SeaQuest DSV (1993-1995), Ridley Scott's drama White Squall (1996), the adventure Flipper (1996), the comedy Zeus and Roxanne (1997), the television documentary The Science of Whales (1998), the adventure The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), and the comedy Failure to Launch (2006).