Blackfish Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite on Killer Whales and the 20th Anniversary of Free Willy

In February 2010, Orlando Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau was pulled into the water by her animal co-star — a killer whale named Tilikum — and killed. The event shocked many, including documentary filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who routinely brought her kids to enjoy shows at Sea World’s San Diego outpost. She began to wonder, why would a highly intelligent animal like Tilikum ever bite the hand that fed it? Through research and interviews with former orca trainers, Cowperthwaite unveiled a history of mistreatment toward captive whales and unfortunate encounters with humans – captured in 1983, Tilikum had killed two other trainers before Brancheau. Yet the whale continues to perform today. With blunt force, Blackfish asks, "Why?"



Want to comment on this? First, you must log in to your SideReel account!