Gabriel Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish has just been released in UK cinemas – but it’s already swimming into digital waters.
The powerful film, which investigates the death of a trainer at SeaWorld, is a damning indictment of the marine amusement park industry. Cowperthwaite follows the killer whale involved, Tilikum, from its early days in captivity, uncovering a life of separation and cramped living conditions – and an increasingly violent string of accidents.
The result is a powerful, gripping thriller that plays more like a serial killer movie than a nature film – and it will eventually let its teeth loose on Netflix UK.
The documentary was a big hit in Sundance this year before documentary distributor Dogwoof picked up the rights. Now, it has inked a series of deals for the film, with theatrical rights for Germany, Austria, Spain and others. Arte France will broadcast the film on TV in France and Germany, while HBO Europe will show the film in Central Europe and the Balkans.
For the UK, though, Netflix swooped in, as the video on-demand provider steps up its aim to dominate the country’s domestic distribution waters.
“Striking deals with partners of such calibre is hugely rewarding for our young team; this is a testament to Dogwoof’s fast growth as a key international player in the mainstream documentary arena,” Ana Vicente told Screen Daily.
We’ll let you know as soon as Blackfish pops its head up on Netflix. Until then, you can watch the trailer above.