The Killer Killer Whale Doc: Blackfish at Sundance

January 22, 2013 | Marina Galperina

How about we stop dragging gigantic mammals out of the ocean, sticking them into glorified bathtubs and humiliating with them into doing dumb trick for scraps while sweaty crowds of gawkers cheer on?

Oh, no?

In 2010, Sea World’s Tilikum a 12,000-pound “performing whale” caused the deaths of three people including a highly skilled orca trainer.

How about now?

Director Gabriela Cowperth has just presented her documentary film Blackfish at Sundance. With “shocking footage and emotional interviews” the documentary focuses on the trainers and the sea-park industry but also appears to reveal many, many, many reasons why maybe this indentured whale industry isn’t a good idea. Maybe. We hope.

In an interview, Cowperth explains:

It’s scary how little I knew. I knew they were intelligent, mischievous, and I knew some outdated pop science about their sonar capabilities. Once I started filming, I couldn’t believe several things; that they can live to be 100, that males live with their mothers their entire lives, that there’s every indication that they speak different languages, but I think the most amazing fact I learned was that they have a part of the brain that we don’t have—a part that we can’t even identify. This suggests that they sense, understand, and even feel more than we do. It still blows me away to think about it.

This is just terrifying. Let the whales go already.