26 January 2013 9:57 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

A lot of documentary filmmakers make movies about the causes that consume their lives. For "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, however, the discovery of SeaWorld's lack of safety measures for both its trainers and the whales themselves caught her off-guard the same way it did many people: In 2010, head trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by Tillikum, a SeaWorld orca captured in the wild in the early eighties and responsible for several violent incidents since then. The movie digs behind the scenes for the whole story. "Blackfish" culls from shocking footage of killer whales at SeaWorld showing their frustration over poor captivity conditions while including candid testimony from ex-trainers. Both an activist cause and a wakeup call for anyone who has attended SeaWorld in the past, the movie instantly got people to start talking when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and landed distribution with Magnolia Pictures. Cowperthwaite talked to »

- Eric Kohn

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