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Films about Orcas in Captivity

If you’ve seen orcas swimming and existing in nature, you’ve experienced how majestic they are. Adversely, if you’ve seen dolphins or orcas performing at sea parks, you’ve experienced how unreal it all is for entertainment purposes. As the reality of the absurdity of circus-type shows with animals sinks in over the generations, attendance is also sinking. For the second quarter of 2013, attendance at SeaWorld’s 11 theme parks dropped by 9% compared with the same period a year prior. See the article in Time magazine

BLACKFISH_Film_PosterThere are numerous whale movies in existence, both entertaining (Namu, Big Miracle, Free Willy) and personal (Saving Luna). Currently in theaters is an investigative movie called Blackfish, which shows this absurdity and fallout of capturing and using wild animals for folly.

Blackfish is a 2013 documentary film directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2013, and was picked up by Magnolia Pictures for wider release. Blackfish focuses on the orca Tilikum and dangers of keeping the species in captivity. It opened in theaters in July 2013

Along this same vein is a fascinating movie called Lolita: Slave to Entertainment, which does a great job in educating us about dolphins and orcas so we may better understand how they’re captured, and their habits and behaviors in and out of captivity.

Within this film, you’ll follow the life of a captured orca named Lolita and the global support for her (as-yet unrealized) release from a sea park in Miami, including interviews with Ken Balcomb, an orca expert at the Center for Whale Research and Ric O’Barry, who began by capturing and training dolphins in the 1970’s (including the dolphins used in the Flipper series), but soon turned to releasing them and being their advocate, as seen in The Cove.

See a recent article by Stephen Wells in the Huffington Post. Lolita: a Lonely Life at the Miami Seaquarium.

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