Blackfish, a new documentary that just premiered in New York and shortly scheduled to be released across the country tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. The documentary is directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and includes shocking footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts to explore the extraordinary nature of orcas, their cruel treatment in captivity, and the inner workings of the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. The film also goes to great lengths to illustrate why SeaWorld may have deceived the public about the true nature of what happened in the tragic death of one of its most highly skilled orca trainers, Dawn Brancheau, in 2010.
The New York Times reports that in an unusual pre-emptive strike on the documentary “Blackfish,” SeaWorld Entertainment startled the film world last weekend by sending a detailed critique of the movie to about 50 critics who were presumably about to review it. It was among the first steps in an aggressive public pushback against the film, which makes the case, sometimes with disturbing film, that orca whales in captivity suffer physical and mental distress because of confinement.
Go watch the documentary while you can. Here’s the film’s screen schedule, and you can watch the trailer below: