Blackfish

(USA, 2013, 83 mins, DCP)
Classification: PG

Showtimes

Classified PG. Under-19s welcome with adult accompaniment.

Perhaps you remember Tilikum? The killer whale was a star attraction at Oak Bay, British Columbia’s Sealand of the Pacific park from 1983 to 1992 - when he was shipped out to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The sale took place shortly after the tragic death of a trainer, Keltie Byrne, who slipped and fell into the pool. Although Tilikum was officially exonerated from the death, eye-witnesses tell a very different story. And as filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite discovered, this was not to be the last human death associated with the bull orca.

In fact there is little doubt that the brutal conditions in which he has spent most of his life in captivity have made him into a lethal threat to those people who love him most - his trainers. Meanwhile SeaWorld insists there is nothing to be concerned about here, and continue to propagate self-serving myths about the orcas even as they endanger the lives of their employees.

Despite their name, there have been no confirmed attacks by killer whales on humans in the wild. But at the marine parks it’s a different story. Featuring testimonies from experts and trainers, and with never-before-seen footage, Blackfish artfully and powerfully explores the complex relationship between the sensitive, intelligent orcas, the trainers who care for them, and the marine parks that exploit both of them for our entertainment and their financial gain.

"Blackfish has the capacity to stand the test of time as a gripping documentary synonymous with changing the way people see both killer whales and the multi-billion dollar industry that continues to exploit killer whales as playful tourist attractions" Daniel Pratt, exclaim

"A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center." Variety

"Has the potential to take our society on the first step in the right direction." Alex Koehne, Twitch