In this feature, originally published inHelen O'Hara explains how a low-budget documentary forced a huge sea park company to clean up its act. This week SeaWorld announced that it will phase out the orca shows at its San Diego theme park within two years and attempt to rebrand as an animal conservation rather than an entertainment company. Incredibly, the downturn in this American insitution's fortunes can almost entirely be ascribed to one film: A still from Blackfish:
The press row access also allowed me to talk to director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and some of the trainers featured in her movie. The documentary is directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who used to take her twins to SeaWorld and after not feeling what the enthusiastic crowds felt, she questioned the purpose and history of these shows, focusing on the record and effect of one particular killer whale: Tilikum weighs 12, pounds and he made national news for killing trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb.
The case is still open due to Sea World appealing the decision, and an OSHA investigator at the screening of the film declined to discuss the case with Patch. Tilikum also killed a trainer in his former home in Sealand of Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, as well as a year-old man inwho entered the orca tank.
Cowperthwaite told the Sarasota audience that even if she did obtain the footage, she would never show it out of respect for the family. Still, Cowperthwaite did an impressive job of patiently waiting to obtain video through public records requests and seeking proprietary footage to purchase to make her case.
But I do believe that there are some documentaries that if they want to have the impact they want to really challenge people to make a permanent change, they have to be heavy handed.
The movie even shows pages and pages of injuries OSHA has recorded involving killer whales in captivity since the s. Is it possible that SeaWorld and similar multi-million dollar parks will have to shut down its whale shows?
Nothing was more impactful for me than what the former SeaWorld trainers said after the movie during an audience Q-and-A. Which is amazing considering all the damning evidence presented.
An audience member asked what would happen to the whales if SeaWorld had to shut down. Some whales destroy their teeth on the steel gates separating the pools.
Some whales, the panel said, have their teeth bored out, and some removed, so eating in the wild would be difficult. So, if these are not animals capable of unpredictable aggression in captivity, why do such a thing to their teeth?
Deciding to remove teeth or drill holes?A Poem Is a Naked Person () Les Blank’s documentary about the legendary rock musician Leon Russell was filmed more than 40 years before it was released. The film about Russell, an enigmatic. This is a wonderful, emotional film helmed by the award-winning director of “Blackfish,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
“ Megan Leavey ” is in theaters now. Head over to the film’s official site for tickets and screening information. Blackfish may be getting a lot of media attention, but there is clearly some troubled water swirling around the film, as evidenced by the comments of people who worked on Blackfish and who now.
Blackfish, a new documentary about the well-known theme park, finally might prove them right. Directed and produced by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film follows the story of Tilikum, a baby orca captured in the open North Atlantic Ocean in Mar 31, · The popular documentary Blackfish spurred the public to boycott SeaWorld due to their questionable treatment of orcas.
In the two years following the release of the documentary SeaWorld saw an 84% loss in profits (SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., . If the film and filmmakers were up front with the audience that Blackfish was an animal rights advocacy piece, I probably would never have started typing.
No, the point of this series was that Gabriela Cowperthwaite was trying to sell Blackfish to the public as even handed, fact driven journalism when I do not believe it was.