The Knights Body of Animal Rights Campaign is looking to make a splash on campus with a free screening of Blackfish this Friday. The screening will take place in the College of Sciences building, and doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Released roughly two years ago, the documentary Blackfish describes the behind-the-scenes practices at SeaWorld Orlando's orca exhibit and the effect that captivity has had on the whales. It's main focus is Tilikum, a whale involved in three different deaths since he has been in captivity.

Though the documentary is not exactly new, members of Knights BARC still feel the issue is highly relevant as time goes on.

The screening is part of Knights BARC's ongoing campaign against SeaWorld.

"It's a very controversial film, and we wanted to wait for more people to hear about it," said Kenzie Everett, a junior social science major and event coordinator for Knights BARC.

Knights BARC is also partnering with the Blackfish Racing Team, a team of athletes that tours the nation competing in Ironman Triathlon competitions to raise awareness about animal captivity and marine conservation.

"They have a race in Haines City the Sunday after the screening, so we set up a screening with the question-and-answer from ex-SeaWorld trainers on Friday, a protest at SeaWorld on Saturday and the race on Sunday," said Hunter Menning, a junior studying business management and club president.

Though the Knights BARC screening is in support of Blackfish, some students, such as freshman psychology major Molly Ferraro, have differing opinions.

"I disagree with Blackfish because it is a movie based on lies," Ferraro explained. "Blackfish took clips that were [previously] filmed, and edited them to make them look like something they aren't."

Other students, however, such as sophomore psychology major Amanda Roller, are more critical of SeaWorld and think Blackfish is informative.

"Blackfish was a really interesting and informative film on what really goes on at SeaWorld from an inside view," Roller said. "I appreciate what they do with some of their rehabilitation, but otherwise, I dislike SeaWorld."

No matter their position on the subject, students will have the opportunity to ask questions after the showing to three former SeaWorld trainers featured in the film.

Students can clear up any issues they have or ask about contradicting opinions they have or may have heard.

"The question-and-answer following the screening may be the most beneficial part of this experience, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask former SeaWorld trainers from the film any questions students have," Menning said. "This interaction goes well beyond what the film will provide, and may answer many questions for students who are facing a dilemma on whether to support this park we all grew up knowing."

For those who want to get more involved in the issue, there will be a protest at SeaWorld on Saturday.

"We will be attending a SeaWorld protest the next morning. Anyone that wants to go come can," Everett said. "After I saw this film, I was incredibly frustrated and felt like there was so much I could do since I lived in the same city. I am positive that people who see this for the first time will feel the same way, and we want to make sure that they know that there is always something they can do to help."


Martina Smith is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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