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Sedona Film Festival presents virtual encore of ‘Blackfish’

Originally Published: June 2, 2020 12:14 p.m.

With the Mary D. Fisher Theatre temporarily closed, the Sedona International Film Festival is proud to continue “MDF@Home” with the “Encore Series” by popular demand featuring the virtual return “Blackfish.”

Best of all … you can watch alone or with more family members for one low ticket price. For each title, a portion of all sales will benefit the Mary D. Fisher Theatre and Sedona International Film Festival.


Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet this mighty black and white mammal has many sides — a majestic, friendly giant, seemingly eager to take trainers for a ride around the pool, yet shockingly, and unpredictably, able to turn on them at a moment’s notice.

“Blackfish” unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who — unlike any orca in the wild — has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what went wrong?

Shocking footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry.

This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans truly know about these highly intelligent, and surprisingly sentient, fellow mammals that we only think we can control.

When you look into their eyes, somebody’s home. Somebody’s looking back at you … but it may not be what you think.

In “Blackfish,” writer/director Gabriela Cowperthwaite not only tells their story, but, through their words and those of renowned and respected whale experts and educators, that of Tilikum himself. Viewers come to understand the complex social and emotional lives of the majestic orcas, enabling them to begin to comprehend the effects removing them from their natural environments can have on the creatures.

Viewing this film:

Log on to www.SedonaFilmFestival.org and click on the MDF@Home link under the events tab on the home page (or directly visit www./SedonaFilmFestival.com/mdfhome/) for links to order virtual screenings of any of these films.

For each title, a portion of all sales will benefit the Mary D. Fisher Theatre and Sedona International Film Festival.