Media Courtesy of wesh.com
In January 2013, Gabriela Cowperth revealed her documentary about the captivity of killer whales at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It was soon picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films for wider release, and has since made a strong impact on people of all ages.
The documentary, Blackfish
, depicts the terrible treatment within orca captivity, focusing on the notorious performing whale Tilikum. The captive killer whale is responsible for three deaths: a trainer at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia, trainer at Sea World Orlando, and a man trespassing at Sea World Orlando. In her film, Cowperth uses actual footage and interviews with trainers to manifest the orca's nature.
Because of the film, Democrat Richard Bloom of Santa Monica was inspired to pass a bill banning killer whale shows
and end their captivity at Sea World in San Diego. Sadly, the California bill has been put on hold
until next year. Dozens of animal rights activists filled the hearing room on Tuesday to support the bill. There were even supporters waiting outside because they were unable to get seats.
The public outreach over the film has been phenomenal and has inspired many more. Three elementary students were so impacted by the film, they stopped an overnight school field trip to Sea World last year. Monday, the three students delivered a petition that was signed by 1.2 million people supporting the bill.
The Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee agreed to conduct a study over the next year and then they will revisit the issue. The committee didn't take a formal vote on the matter.
Bloom plans to press a whole new measure next year.