29 March 2016

A Living Document

Three years after its public release, Blackfish continues adding chapters to its remarkable story, making it one of the most successful and important documentaries in history.

When I blogged about the film in July 2013, Blackfish was pretty much unknown, and it remained that way for months. Showings on CNN brought it widespread attention though, and since then, the film's impact has grown exponentially and unceasingly. The latest chapter in its run is that it can claim some responsibility for ending SeaWorld's orca breeding program.

That's right, two weeks ago, SeaWorld, whose stock has plummeted since the release of Blackfish, announced that it would stop breeding orcas. This means that the orcas currently at SeaWorld will be the last ones there.

After an unheralded beginning, Blackfish has done and continues to do amazing things. It took on a massive industry that almost no one questioned at the time; it brought into the animal-rights movement people who had never considered environmental activism; and it changed public and corporate policy. Animals continue to be used for entertainment, so the film's story is not yet over, and it will be exciting to see what future impacts it has.

Blackfish may not have made a big splash right out the gate, but its rippling influence remains alive and vital.

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