Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Written by Eli B. Despres
“Blackfish ensures you’ll never go to Sea World again” – IndieWire
Imagine you’re an Orca, or “killer whale” weighing 12,000 pounds, you’re separated from your family as a calf, bullied by other whales by having your skin raked and to top it off you’re held in a small dark tank for fourteen hours a day. The opening movie Blackfish for the Sarasota Film Festival on April 5th at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at 7:00pm; suggests it’s some of the causes of what drove Tilikum the Killer Whale at Sea World Orlando to kill three people including veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010.
Magnolia Pictures and CNN’s Films picked up the controversial movie directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. It examines whales held in captivity, like Tilikum, who was born in the wild near Iceland in 1983 captured and sent to a Marine Park in Vancouver before being sent to Sea World Orlando.
The trailer starts with a 911 call from Sea World Orlando stating it there is a trainer swimming in the tank with a killer whale that is not authorized, the second call to 911 tells them that a whale ate one of the trainers.
Thad Lucinick, Former Sea World Head Trainer who brought Tilikum to Sea World Orlando interviewed by GMA saying the whale was likely intrigued by Brancheau’s ponytail mistaken it for a toy. He goes on to say, ‘If Dawn was standing here today, she would tell you it was her mistake in allowing that to happen.”
“Emotionally powerful ” – The Hollywood Reporter
Former employee’s and organizations like animal activists PETA have claimed the Sea World has manipulated the investigation. These sort of claims make this film controversial. Sea World trainers will be attending the opening night film as well as Gabriele Cowperthwaite; Director. There will be a moderated Q&A held after the film and an opportunity for a few attendees to ask questions.
With so many families bringing their kids to Sea World Orlando and it being so close to home, will you bring your kids there after seeing this film?
“A mesmerizing psychological thriller” – Variety
Opening Night Feature Film: BLACKFISH
Genre: Environmental Interest, Animal Welfare
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Time: Red Capet 6:00pm / Film Starts at 7:00pm
Cost: $25.00 Film / $75 After Party (9:00pm) Van Wezel