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BLACKFISH Hitting the Waves on CNN

October 24, 2013


UPDATED February 15, 2014:

While continuing to shock, mesmerize, and inspire moviegoers worldwide, the documentary film BLACKFISH splashed its way onto CNN with a series of interviews, teasers, and unprecedented promotional advertising leading up to a nationwide broadcast on October 24, 2013. CNN also aired numerous encore presentations in the days that followed and the film is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix and for download at iTunes (see below for ordering info).

After debuting at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, this critically acclaimed film has gone on to receive praise at numerous film festivals around the globe, and has seen a successful run amid sold-out crowds in movie theaters worldwide and has raised the social consciousness about the captivity and exploitation of killer whales . “Blackfish” has been nominated for “Best Documentary” by BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) and was short-listed by the U.S. Academy Awards for “Best Documentary”.

Brought to us in conjunction with Magnolia Pictures, CNN Films and distributed by Dogwoof, this outstanding documentary film has received rave reviews from movie critics for its exceptional work bringing the controversial yet important realities of keeping orcas in captivity to attention of millions of viewers.

About the film (from Dogwoof):

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.

This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

Watch the official film trailer below:


Did you miss the premier of CNN Film’s BLACKFISH on Thursday, October 24, 2013 and the numerous encore performances shown on CNN?

You still have a chance to see it!

In the U.S. : CNN is rebroadcasting Blackfish on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 9:00 pm, 11:00 pm & 2:00 am Eastern time (6:00, 8:00  &  11:00 pm Pacific; check your local listings). Blackfish is also available NOW on DVD & Blu-Ray! You can order HERE or at The Orca Project Store. The film can also be downloaded from iTunes and is also available on Netflix. There are also a limited number of screenings still scheduled at theaters in the U.S.  Click HERE for locations and dates.

In the UK & Ireland: Blackfish aired on BBC4 on the 21st & 25th of November and is available NOW on DVD, Blu-Ray & download from iTunes. You can order HERE. There are also a limited number of screenings still scheduled at theaters in the UK.

Other International Locations: Blackfish continues to be shown at theaters and film festival screenings around the world!  Click HERE for more information.


Recent interviews and reports now online:


Have you seen the movie and now wonder what to do? Visit our “How to Help” page and see how you can get involved and make a difference for these magnificent beings.


Visit and follow Blackfish on Facebook (Dogwoof), Facebook (Magnolia Pictures) and Twitter


MANY thanks to our friends Gabriela Cowperthwaite, co-producer Manny Oteyza, associate producer Tim Zimmermann, Magnolia Pictures, CNN Films, Dogwoof, and of course… a special heartfelt THANK YOU to our dear friends… the former trainers of “Voice of the Orcas (VOTO)”, scientists, researchers, journalists and many others who helped make this game-changing film possible!


44 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucas permalink
    April 13, 2017 3:21 pm

    Save Killer Whales!

  2. October 16, 2016 10:45 am

    Sea this documentary Blackfish the predator

  3. October 16, 2016 10:41 am

    oh god it’s very amazing creatures

  4. August 3, 2014 5:53 pm

    Proof the movie “Blackfish” is stupid

    Dawn Brancheau’s Family Statement About Blackfish
    There has recently been an abundance of attention focused on the film “Blackfish.” As the family of Dawn Brancheau, we are continually asked how we feel about the movie. We would like to take this opportunity to write briefly about the film so we can move on and continue our efforts to make the world a better place in honor of Dawn.
    First and foremost, we are not affiliated with this movie in any way. We did not assist with its creation and were unaware of its content until the film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. The Dawn Brancheau Foundation as well as our family members have never and will never accept any compensation from its production.
    The film has brought a great deal of attention to the welfare of animals, and for that we are grateful. However, “Blackfish” is not Dawn’s story. Dawn Brancheau believed in the ethical treatment of animals. Dawn followed her dreams and became a marine animal trainer. She loved the whales and was proud of her work as a trainer. Dawn thrived on introducing the whales to the audience and educating them about the animals in her care. Dawn would not have remained a trainer at SeaWorld for 15 years if she felt that the whales were not well cared for. Trainer safety was important to Dawn, and it remains important to us as well. Our family always supported Dawn and we continue to support Dawn’s friends and co-workers who currently care for the animals she so loved.

    Since Dawn’s death nearly four years ago, the media has focused mainly on the whales. A human life was lost that day and it feels as though some believe her death was just a footnote. Dawn’s death is central to our story. In 2010, we created the Dawn Brancheau Foundation in her honor to continue the legacy of the work important to Dawn during her life. The Foundation focuses on improving the lives of children and animals in need, inspiring others to follow their dreams, and promoting the importance of community service. The Foundation will continue its efforts to make a difference in our world. We are grateful for all the caring individuals who help us keep Dawn’s light shining brightly. (source:

  5. Tom permalink
    May 25, 2014 12:01 am

    First of all you lose all credibility by calling your program ‘Blackfish’… Orcas are mammals … Not fish! Get you shit together! You just lost most of your audience by showing your ignorance! Your program probably had some relevance until you called Orcas … Fish!
    How stupid dan you be?

    • nicola permalink
      July 16, 2015 9:15 am

      Oh please, you really are dumber than a box of hair arnt you. Educate yourself and watch the film. Its explained almost immediately why the title is what it is. TOOL.

  6. January 7, 2014 9:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Wee Dram Farm Park and commented:
    ding the movie Blackfish and the surrounding controversy

  7. January 7, 2014 9:03 pm

    I understand that the current trainers love these orca and that they do their best, but why must it be either release or a concrete pad?!?!?! I can NOT understand Sea Worlds stance on this when they are saying they put their time in to other conservation matters. Why build new shows, better lighting and bigger screens?? Why not knock the whole lot down and make places where these orca can live out the rest of their unnatural lives? Many zoos around the world now focus on enrichment and animal health. The old ways are, thankfully, going of animals standing on concrete pads showing behaviours through boredom and stress, so why are we still doing this to the seas’ most advanced mammal? Surely families in captivity can stay together and tanks must have shade, live fish and stimuli for orca to live in?? Many can’t and probably shouldn’t be released, ok fine. Tilikum would be a poor candidate for release given his lifetime of trauma and negligence but let him have dignity. Get him out of the bath tub!!! And for God’s sake stop using him as a sperm bank. After seeing about Blackfish on Twitter I have become obsessed with this subject. To me its blindingly simple. These shows are grotesque in the same way zoos in the past were with iron bars. The animals have been captured – that horse has bolted, but surely Sea World could lead the world in offering a more natural environment for the rest of the orcas lives? People would still pay and Sea World could still profit, but not from the animals misery.

  8. Kayna Dominguez permalink
    December 18, 2013 7:43 pm

    Thank goodness Steve Aibel survived! Funny thing we love in his house he had at the time it happened. They ended up selling because his newborn.Plus girl I went to school with knows him.

  9. December 16, 2013 11:56 pm

    I watched the film and seeing how these creatures feel the trauma of having their families torn apart,every trainer tells us there is self awareness and intelligence.There was a time when certain human beings were considered sub human due to physical deformities and kept in freak shows .There were races of people labeled less than human, savages that were mistreated and abused.We are allowing it to happen again and don’t say “oh their animals” because from the way we treat these creatures and one another,,,,,,WE are the animals.

  10. tomato bread permalink
    October 29, 2013 4:48 pm

    I wondered if it is illegal to capture killer whales. I contacted office of law enforcement of NOAA today. The gentleman who answered my call informed me that it IS illegal but one can get a permit to do so. Well, two agencies have to give permit. One to catch, and the other to put it in captivity. And he said if they release those killer whales in Sea World to ocean, they will not be able to survive because they lost power to hunt their food. So prevent further tragedies of those majestic animals being caught, we need to prevent those agencies to issue the permit to catch them. Please call Ms. Helen Golde, at 301-427-8400. She is the one who issues the permit. I can’t think of anything else to help those killer whales besides boycotting Sea World, and try to prevent them to get more permit to hunt them.

  11. Jennifer permalink
    October 28, 2013 5:09 pm

    I don’t have cable. Is there anywhere I can go online to watch this?

    • October 29, 2013 4:55 pm

      Jennifer, here in the U.S. you can try the live feed from CNN’s website at There should be an “On Now” section with a “Watch CNN” button (located at the lower left of CNN’s home page). Check our site or CNN for the latest broadcast times (which are constantly changing as CNN adds more encore performances). This feature may not be available in all areas or countries.
      If that doesn’t work… the DVD is ready for pre-order 🙂

  12. Joe Ballantyne permalink
    October 28, 2013 12:35 pm

    Orcas now in captivity should be released. Being taught parlor tricks, isolated from their family pods is cruel and demeaning for these intelligent mammals. Human intervention to help injured, stranded or sick animals maybe OK but then return them to their natural element. Some endangered animals may be safer kept in humane zoos or game farms (elephants) but Orcas are not endangered to the point where keeping them in aquariums is necessary or ‘right’. We should find ways to subsidized the underprivileged so they can go on whale-watching tours to see Orcas in the wild, especially children.

  13. Melanie permalink
    October 27, 2013 11:19 am

    Can anyone tell me what time this is being rebroadcast in the UK? Thanks

  14. Kathleen Everingham permalink
    October 26, 2013 1:58 pm

    Blackfish is a terrific film but I found it odd that although it explores and reveals many facets of the marine park entertainment industry, it omitted any mention of the profits realized by marine park owners – as if the profits realized are not a motivating factor in perpetuating the capture and victimization of orcas, dolphins, and other species for their entertainment value.

  15. October 26, 2013 1:29 am

    What magnificent beings, the orcas. This film is heartbreaking and a powerful force for good.

  16. October 25, 2013 3:33 am

    I will never go to Sea World again!

  17. Michela D permalink
    October 25, 2013 3:26 am

    “Blackfish” was one of the most profoundly sad documentaries I have ever seen. I had no idea of the the extent of the callous bureaucracy, hidden behind the false and misleading claims of wildlife preservation. What disgusting murderers and liars. Sea World and other entities acting in the same fashion must be boycotted and banned from any further types of acts against any creature. My prayers will be for the beautiful creatures left fading in those watery prisons; that a miracle frees their precious souls. My question now is how can I help?

    God Bless the Blackfish

  18. LinJSol permalink
    October 24, 2013 11:26 pm

    Unknowingly back in the early seventies I took my child to SeaWorld in OH. but in the last few years being an enlightened adult, I’ve changed my opinion on this situation. Basically the only threat to Cetaceans is the military and their sonar experiments in the ocean, that injures their tremendously important and sensitive; sense of sound and sonar built in to their system. Their natural environment is not a large pool with barriers and walls, it is instead the wide open oceans; without any sense of confinement. Humans are being inhumane in the way they capture a variety of animals for their selfish reasons and monetary gain, depriving animals of food or whatever else, so they manipulate an animal to do stupid tricks; for human entertainment. What makes humans perceive that they’re the be all and end all of the world? Such arrogance and wrong thinking that they can just take an elephant, lion, tiger, whale, or any other animal; making it do what they choose; so they can charge a fee to the public for entertainment purposes. The injuries and deaths that have come about as a result of whales attacking humans doesn’t surprise me, they don’t wish to be where they are. Humans taking them from one place to another, except to the one place where they belong; back to their natural home in the ocean.

    • Leslie Leigh permalink
      October 27, 2013 8:27 pm

      what else is a threat to Orcas in the wild? They are ridden with PCBs, swim through human waste (Victoria dumps sewage into the Strait of Juan DeFuca), are harassed by tourists in zodiacs, Their food, salmon, is disappearing. They have barely enough individuals to even have a future.

    • Seaworldsupport permalink
      December 17, 2013 4:43 am

      So no one should have pets ever, because whether it’s a cage, a pool, a house, none of it is natural. Let all animals fend for themselves and run wild. Lets never be curious about nature nor try to understand the animals that surround us and possibly help the species in the world live a longer, healthier life.

      • Hmorris permalink
        January 13, 2014 2:20 am

        you sir are an idiot. Pets are domesticated, and have been for hundreds and in some cases, thousands of years. They are not hunted in the woods and then made to live with people. The same thing as happens with orcas- killing me people- can happen when other wildlife are captured as well. WIldlife belongs in the wild and domestic animals belong in domestic settings. It’s not rocket science.

  19. October 24, 2013 10:46 pm

    What a wonderful blog. Thanks for making us aware of what really went on at SeaWorld with the killing of the whale trainer! Orcas need to be in their natural habitats!

  20. Mary permalink
    October 24, 2013 9:53 pm

    Thank you for what you do. I recently drove to Washington from California hoping to see orcas. I went on Mystic Charters but no orcas on my day. I teach high school in landlocked California, but I want to help my students be aware of the horror of cetaceans in captivity. What can I do besides talking to them?

  21. someonewhoactuallyknokwsstuff permalink
    October 24, 2013 8:31 pm

    *cough* Gonna be be worthless.

  22. rebecca charles permalink
    October 24, 2013 3:34 pm

    so happy its finally out there now lets band together and end this atrocity!!! end the suffering of these amazing mammals and give them back their lives and dignity.

  23. October 24, 2013 1:06 pm

    Couldn’t be happier this powerful and emotive film is getting the level of publicity it deserves – let’s hope it ignites the passion in many million more people to end Orca captivity!

  24. julie permalink
    October 24, 2013 12:52 pm

    Tilikum will be playing to the biggest audience of his life tonight @blackfishmovie on CNN at 9pm. Gonna be magic 🙂


  1. BLACKFISH Hitting the Waves on CNN | Orcas
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  5. An Open Letter BACK to SeaWorld | The Orca Project
  6. SeaWorld has no Heart- but Fortunately We Do | The Orca Project
  7. SeaWorld vs OSHA goes to Washington DC | The Orca Project
  8. Op-Ed: Former SeaWorld Ad Writer’s Anguish post Blackfish | The Orca Project
  9. I Can't Believe I Got in the Water With That 1400-Pound Whale

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