Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite


In the documentary Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite made a powerful statement that Seaworld is doing more harm than good to the killer whales they captured with stock footage of mistreatment of whales and interviews with former trainers.


The purpose to the Blackfish documentary was to show the audience that SeaWorld is doing more harm to the whales than what is being presented in the Seaworld shows. The documentary shows from the start of the whales being captured and taken away from their mothers to being put into captivity even shows the whales being assaulted by other whales with stock footage. It also shows former trainers and how they changed throughout their career because of the mistreatment of the whales by interviews.
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Whales in the Wild

After seeing how SeaWorld's whales with the collapsing dorsal and drilled teeth, the documentary showed killer whales in the wild with a straight dorsal and pointed teeth. Also they stated a fact that only 1% of Killer whales will have a collapsing dorsal but the SeaWorld instructors tell tourists that a lot of them get a collapsing dorsal and that it is normal for them when it is not. A collapsing dorsal is a sign of bad condition of the Killer whale. This shows that the whales are not in a good condition and aren't how they are supposed to be compared to what the guides tell the tourist at SeaWorld.

Tilikum Abused & Mistreated

During the documentary, Blackfish shares the footage and stories by the trainers of Tilikum being in captivity because he was abused by the other whales because Tilikum couldn't get the tricks down at first. He was abused and mistreated and could not swim away from the others because of the captivity they are put in. If he was in the wild he would be able to swim away and not feel emotionally unstable. This shows that being in captivity causes harm to the whales emotional and physical abilities.

Whale Attacks

The documentary shared the footage of the whales attacking the trainers unexpectedly and based on the footage, the trainers do not expect that they are going to be attacked. They perform their usual performance and do not realize the whales emotion. In one footage, the trainer blew the whistle that shows "good job, you did the act right" but the whale did not hear and emotionally felt that they didn't do a good job and will be punished. The whale became frustrated and acted out on the trainer, breaking her arm. This shows that the trainers don't have the idea that the whales are going to attack because of the connection they have together, but the whales are emotionally not stable and just get frustrated.


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Capturers Emotional

The people who first captured the whales from the wild, shared an interview in Blackfish about what they had to do to get the whales in the net to take to SeaWorld. They also shared that they didn't know that it was illegal but that it was just their job. They captured the killer whales in Washington, but soon enough Washington made it illegal to take their killer whales, then they changed locations to Iceland. Soon enough after capturing all these killer whales and taking them away from their mothers, the men soon became emotional also and torn seeing what they were doing them and knew it was wrong. This shows that even though this was their job, they highly regret it and know it was wrong.

Former Trainers Disappointed

These interviews really shows the viewers that what is going on is officially wrong. The former trainers shared their positive stories of SeaWorld and their connections with the whales but then shared that what they have seen is wrong. From the lies of the attacks from the whales to the media sharing that they are all the trainers fault not the whales fault just to keep the SeaWorld going. The trainers shared how they were passionate about the whales and loved them but knew something became wrong once the whales started attacking. This shows that the trainers had no intentions of harming or had bad connections with the whales cause the attacks to be their fault.

Interview With Dawn and The Whales

This was the most important interview throughout the documentary. This shows the connection and passion Dawn had with the Tilikum. They had a good bond and she was a hard worker. Trainers shared that Dawn was the best trainer out of them all. She was always concerned to becoming better and creating a connection with the whales. After the attack, the reports had the nerve to say that it was all her pony tails fault, but all the other trainers and Dawn had their hair up on a pony tail and worked with the whales just like that and nothing had happened before. Everyone knows that Dawn and Tilikum were good to each other but Tilikum become emotionally unstable and lashed out. This shows that Dawn's connection and pony tail was not the reason to the act.