Blackfish: The Film That… Made Me Want Change

Blackfish, Seaworld, Lauren Wise, Kettle Mag, Film
Written by Lauren Wise

The power of cinema lies in the effects films have on people. Films can make you cry, laugh, alter your opinions, influence you, be representative of a milestone in your life and can even change your life. Our new weekly film column, ‘The Film That…’, explores the impacts of cinema on people. This week, Media Editor Lauren Wise shares why Blackfish made her want change!

The first time I watched Blackfish

2013 was a pretty big year for Seaworld. Gabriela Cowperthwaite released a controversial film featuring ex-Seaworld trainers, who revealed the reality of life in the tank for orcas. Blackfish revealed the cover-ups of Seaworld staff, and the blatant lies they told the public.

But it wasn’t until 2014 when I saw the film. With a couple of my university housemates, we settled in for a chilled evening of netflix and snacks – I don’t think any of us expected to be bawling by the end of it. Safe to say, it had an impact on all of us. 

One of the most troubling parts of the film to watch was the description of Tilikum’s capture by John Crowe, who was part of the orca capture team, and who sadly passed away in June this year. His honesty and emotion supplied the film with a realisation of Seaworld’s inhumanity towards ‘killer whales’.

What happened after Blackfish? 

The film raised awareness of the capture and captivity of wild orcas at Seaworld, as well as concerns about their health. In the Consumerist’s 2014 poll, Seaworld was voted as one of America’s Most Hated Companies – so it wasn’t just me the film had an impact on. 

Celebrities took to Twitter to vent their anger at the company, and help raise awareness about the cause. 


What’s changed at Seaworld? 

Shockingly, not enough. Tilikum still lives in a tank in Seaworld, who have argued they were falsely represented in Blackfish the film. They also described it as ‘propaganda’ rather than a documentary. 

Luckily, there are a lot of campaigns Blackfish created which have gained awareness since the release of the film. Cracks began to show in December 2014, when CEO of Seaworld, Jim Atchison, resigned. A petition led to the proposal of the orca bill; under which scenario import, export, and breeding of orcas would be banned whilst Seaworld San Diego would have to move its ten killer whales out of tanks and into larger sea pens. The bill was put on hold until later this year. 

To see how you can help, have a look at this website.

What’s the film that made you want change? Leave your comments below!