Gabriela Cowperthwaite and Jeffrey Ventre Talk Blackfish, Working without SeaWorld’s Participation, Deciding Not to Include Graphic Footage, and More

In her new documentary, Blackfish, opening July 19th, filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite uses the story of a notorious performing whale, riveting interviews and never before seen footage to reveal the devastating consequences of keeping intelligent, sentient creatures in captivity. February 24, 2010 is a day whale trainers and fans of sea parks will never forget when veteran killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau was brutally attacked and killed at SeaWorld Orlando by one of the park’s oldest residents, an orca names Tilikum. Her death became the catalyst for former SeaWorld trainers Jeffrey Ventre, Samantha Berg, Dean Gomersall, Carol Ray, Kim Ashdown and John Hargrove to speak out. During my recent interview, Cowperthwaite and Ventre talked about what led them to tackle this subject, how the film’s financing came together, the challenge of making it without SeaWorld’s participation, how the trainers’ perspectives changed over time as they became disillusioned, why they became
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