‘Blackfish’ Director to be Focus of Associated Students’ Big Lecture

"Blackfish" New York Premiere

Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Gabriela Cowperthwaite, an avid philanthropist and director of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” will discuss the impact of her film about Sea World and its treatment of killer whales on Wednesday, April 23, at California State University, Northridge as part of Associated Students Productions’ Big Lecture.

Cowperthwaite is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. in the Northridge Center of the University Student Union on the east side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northrudge. Students, faculty and staff with valid CSUN identification will be able to attend the free event.

“This is a topic everyone has been talking about lately,” said Eric Planas, senior producer of Associated Students Productions. “We want people to see the issues presented in the controversial documentary and make judgments for themselves.”

“Blackfish” follows the story of Tilikum, one of the performing orcas at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. in San Diego. The whale killed three people at the park, including one of his trainers. The documentary attempts to understand and explain Tilikum’s situation while exploring the ethics of animal captivity. Cowperthwaite’s work has sparked protests, media battles between the park and the documentarian, and a proposal to ban the captivity of orcas in California.

Cowperthwaite will talk about the creation of the documentary. She will also discuss how she became a documentarian. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

“This should be an educational experience for attendees,” Planas continued. “When people leave, we hope they will question and consider the topic critically.”

The lecture is designed to be interactive with pamphlets for note taking and question submission cards for the guest lecturer. Participants will also receive various information at the end of the event.