SeaWorld Fights Back at the Critical Documentary 'Blackfish'

Photograph by Joerg Modrow/laif/Redux

When SeaWorld Entertainment emerged as one of the stars of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it wasn’t the role that the theme park, home of the loveable acrobat orca Shamu, had hoped for. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s powerful Blackfish, which opens today in select markets, focuses on the brutal 2010 killing of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau by one of the park’s whales. Cowperthwaite gained access to a trove of film footage of incidents at the park and conducted several emotional interviews with former SeaWorld trainers, some of whom knew Brancheau and had worked with Tilikum, the 32-year-old killer whale responsible for her death and those of two other individuals. Spoiler alert: SeaWorld isn’t the hero.

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