Flix Not To Miss: Blackfish
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Before you take the kids to Sea World this summer, watch Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary exposé Blackfish (2013). Blackfish focuses on the dangerous job of Sea World trainers, which has been the subject of OHSA review for more than 20 years. Numerous trainers have been seriously injured or killed at aquatic parks, such as Sea World, all over the world. 

Through interviews with scientists, Cowperthwaite explains orcas’ highly evolved social bonding and communication capacities, and reveals how young orcas are hunted, captured and brought to aquatic parks. With former trainers’ interviews and found footage of trainer attacks captured from security, tank, and tourist cameras, Blackfish builds a solid case with indisputable visual evidence that a Sea World trainer’s job is dangerous with few built in safeguards. 

Cowperwaite’s portrayal of orca whales majestically moving through Puget Sound within their familial pods, dorsal fins proudly pointing in the air strikingly contrasts with the twelve ton whale Tilikum, swimming alone in circles in his tank his dorsal fin hanging like a hook. The film makes a convincing argument for not keeping an orca like Tilikum, that killed Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, in captivity. 

Blackfish is a controversial piece of activist journalism and since it has forced Sea World to respond, there is a possibility this eye opening documentary could be a catalyst for change. 

Blackfish is playing at a theater near you.

– M.A ST JOHN (@theReelScoop



nywift New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media.

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