A series of exclusive premieres of local / international environmental films selected by our film programmers in partnership with other film festivals around the world. We look to expand the idea of environmental cinema from the traditional to the experimental.

The following films comprised the environmental cinema programme for BEFF 2013. Stay tuned for more information about BEFF 2015!


Film Information

Year: 2013
Country: USA
Duration: 82 min
Language: English with BM subtitles
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Screening Date & Time

Time: 9pm, Sat 28 Sept 2013
Venue: Kompleks JKKN Sabah, auditorium

Film Supporters

"A mesmerizing psychological thriller" – Variety
"Impressive, often gripping documentary" – The Observer
"Unfolds like a thriller." – Vulture

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the mulit-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.


Gabriela Cowperthwaite is a documentary filmmaker who for more than 12 years has directed, produced and written documentary programs for television networks including ESPN, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery, and the History Channel. In 2010, Cowperthwaite completed the award-winning feature-length documentary, City LAX: An Urban Lacrosse Story. The film chronicles the lives of six 12-year-olds in inner-city Denver, CO, as they and their families struggle through middle school in their gang-ridden neighborhoods. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old twin sons.

Film Premiere

*Southeast Asian premiere

Festivals / Awards

Sundance Film Festival 2013
Hot Docs 2013
Green Film Festival in Seoul 2013
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013
AFI Docs 2013