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A small otter is hiding in a pile of ropes.

SFFILM Festival

Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story

Directed by Charlie Hamilton James

UK | Documentary | 78

27 Apr
Sat, Apr 27 at 12:15 pm PT


In a place where land ends and the sea takes over – Scotland’s Shetland Islands – an orphaned otter washes up against Billy and Susan’s isolated jetty. At first utterly dependent on the couple for her survival, the “wee girl” they name Molly quickly captures their hearts, with Billy particularly besotted. This irresistible documentary spins a tale of love and longing in its depiction of the emotional bond between Billy and the playful creature. The melancholic man finds joy, a new connection to the natural world, and purpose in caring for Molly and preparing her for independent life. Billy & Molly delves deep into the workings of the human (and otter) heart, becoming a rumination on what it means to give and receive love, and questioning the limits of how far one can or should go in its pursuit. The answer, like the seas that surround the Shetlands, is eternal and fathomless.

Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Director Charlie Hamilton James

Charlie Hamilton James joined the crew of David Attenborough’s Trials of Life (1990) at 16. He went on to work as a wildlife photographer and cinematographer, winning a News and Documentary Emmy for One Life (2011). He made his directing debut with My Halcyon River (2002), an episode of the BBC series Natural World, followed The Wild Wood (2004) and Heligan: Secrets of the Lost Garden (2011). His documentary miniseries I Bought a Rainforest (2014) depicts his adventures in the Amazon after buying land there.

Film Details

Language English

Year 2023

Premiere California

Runtime 78

Country UK

Director Charlie Hamilton James

Executive Producer Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill, Janet Han Vissering, Tom McDonald

Producer Jeff Wilson

Editor Sam Rogers

Cinematographer Charlie Hamilton James

Music Erland Cooper

Closed Captions Closed Captions are confirmed for this program

Audio Description Audio Descriptions are not yet confirmed for this program

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language Interpretation is not currently scheduled for this film