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Filmmaker’s journey of ‘shock and discovery’ becomes killer whale documentary ‘Blackfish’

killer whale mouth

Gabriela Cowperthwaite remembers hearing something about a SeaWorld trainer getting killed by Tilikum, a 12,000-pound orca, and thought something wasn't right. "Why would a highly intelligent animal attack its trainer—in effect, bite the hand that feeds it?" Cowperthwaite thought to herself about the summer 2010 incident. She set out to understand the incident that killed Dawn Brancheau "not as an activist, but as a mother (who had just taken her kids to SeaWorld) and as a documentary filmmaker (who can't let sleeping dogs lie)." She built a documentary filmmaking team and "thus began my journey of shock and discovery." The result is a documentary called "Blackfish," the trailer of which can be viewed here:

"Blackfish" is described as "a mesmerizing psychological thriller with a killer whale at its center" and "the first film since 'Grizzly Man' to show how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limits."

The 82-minute documentary can be seen at the Seattle International Film Festival through June 9, Provincetown (Mass.) Film Festival from June 19-23, Best of Hot Docs Vancouver Film Festival from June 21 to June 23, the Nantucket Film Festival from June 26 to June 30, and a number of other film festivals worldwide.

Variety calls "Blackfish" a "mesmerizing psychological thriller." The Hollywood Reporter says it's "emotionally powerful."

The trailer is definitely compelling.

better killer whales pod

Photos courtesy of Blackfishmovie.com