Lost in Previews: Blackfish

Blackfish PosterI should start off this trailer post by saying that I work with captive animals in a zoo setting (and the views in this post are mine alone, and not of my employer).  Nonetheless, I was utterly shocked by the trailer for Blackfish, which examines orcas or killer whales in captivity.  For one, this look like a very well made documentary, not a bunch of PETA/IDA people putting together a propaganda piece.  Secondly, this film is being released by Magnolia Pictures, not some small distribution company.    Thirdly, if I worked with captive whales or was a facility that had them, I would be a little worried about how widely this documentary could spread.

We all heard about the SeaWorld trainer that was killed recently by a killer whale.  Her case is examined in the film, along with the history and disposition of the whale that killed her. The trailer appears to broaden the scope of the film to also the point of capture of these whales in the wild.  That alone is disturbing enough.

I am very eager to see this film.  I probably have a skewed view of captive animals, but I have never worked with any marine mammals.  It will be hard to keep an open mind while seeing this, but if it is legit, it will be hard not to believe some of what is being shown and said.

“Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black and white mammal is like a two-faced Janus—beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. Blackfish unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who—unlike any orca in the wild—has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong?

Shocking, never before seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.”

Blackfish is in theatres July 19, 2013.

Source: Magnolia Pictures

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