Over the weekend Blackfish Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was presented with the Impact Award at the Humane Society of the United States’ 60th Anniversary Gala in California. Actress Kate Mara presented Cowperthwaite with the Impact Award awarded for the documentary and the widespread attention brought by its in-depth look at whales held in captivity at marine parks. Michelle Cho of the Humane Society says the film represents "the first time anyone has shed a global spotlight on captive orcas."
Cowperthwaite was there to accept the award and thanked viewers and supporters for giving her film a chance; “Thank you for letting me be someone who took her kids to SeaWorld, Blackfish worked because all of us involved with the film – former SeaWorld trainers, whale capturers, me who took my kids there – all did something we didn’t know we were doing at the time and we weren’t proud of in retrospect.”
Since its establishment 60 years ago, The Humane Society of the United Sates has grown exponentially with now millions of supporters, 630 employees and a $170 million budget. The organization is marking this six-decade achievement with a series of three parties, starting last weekend in Beverly Hills. The dinner event acknowledged Hollywood and celebrity activists, including Kesha, James Cromwell, and “Vampire Diaries” Paul Wesley, who have supported the organization’s cause through involvement and donations.
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.