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Anatomy of “The Blackfish Effect”

This article was originally posted on Documentary.org.

The final chord of "the Blackfish effect" has finally resounded, with a stunning and unprecedented corporate policy announcement from SeaWorld. 

Courtesy of Dogwoof

In January 2013, the documentary Blackfish premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, telling the story "about Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity," according to the official film synopsis. Three years later—a period marked by sustained activism, multi-platform distribution and unrelenting media coverage— SeaWorld officially announced on March 17, 2016, that it will officially end its orca breeding program and end orca shows at all of its theme parks.Read more...

Documentaries & the Journey to the Academy Awards

For a documentary filmmaker, being recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category is often the pinnacle moment in a career. Read more...

CMSI Leaders Featured as Speakers, Participants at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

For documentary filmmakers, strategists, funders, broadcasters, buyers – and of course, fans – November means the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the premier international festival celebrating the best of the form from around the world. CMSI leaders hit the ground running in Amsterdam this year, playing key roles as speakers and participants. 



Journalism, Web Docs Are Key Topics at AFI Docs Conference

'FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath delivers the keynote address at AFI Docs.This article was original published on Documentary.org (Documentary magazine) by the International Documentary Association. 

"Why isn't FRONTLINE more like Minecraft?"

In her keynote address to the AFI DOCS Filmmaker ConferenceFRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath relayed her 9-year-old son’s question posed at an MIT Open Docs Media Lab event. (For the uninitiated, Minecraft, the virtual reality creation game, is the hottest activity around for the most native of digital-natives, the pre-tween iPad generation.) Aronson-Rath spoke of being inspired at her week-long immersion into nonlinear storytelling ideation at MIT, and the importance of paying attention to the Minecraft question—and a Minecraft-playing audience—as the future of documentary storytelling continues to unfold.

For the filmmakers, strategists, industry professionals and film students in attendance at this year’s Conference (June 18-19), the future of documentary was a central theme, along with risk-taking in the blurred lines between documentary storytelling and investigative journalism. The Washington, DC-based conference, presented in partnership with IDA, also focused on its own native themes: the deep impact and connection between documentaries and public policy, legislation and public affairs.Read more...

Breaking Down the Impact of "Blackfish"

BlackfishIn January 2013, the documentary "Blackfish" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, telling the story “about Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity,” according to the official film synopsis. Nearly two years later, the film’s impact continues to ripple out.

According to a December 2014 Washington Post story, the stock price of Tilikum’s home park, SeaWorld, has declined by 60 percent since the film’s July 2013 theatrical premiere. A California state lawmaker proposed legislation in April 2014 that would ban California aquatic parks from featuring orcas in performances, although the proposed law is now on hold pending further study. And, in June 2014, inspired by "Blackfish," the U.S. House of Representatives expressed official interest in studying the impact of captivity on orcas and other marine animals. Read more...