“Blackfish” screens exclusively for students


By Katie Dezes


The Stetson community packed Athens Theatre for the first screening of the documentary

A screening of “Blackfish,” a killer whale documentary featuring a Stetson professor, took place at the Athens Theatre Monday at 7 p.m.

The event was made exclusive to the Stetson community.

The documentary reveals the negative effects of captivity on orcas in marine parks. The star of the film is a captive killer whale named Tilikum, who was responsible for the deaths of three people.

Dr. John Jett, a lab coordinator and visiting professor at Stetson, was one of the former killer whale trainers featured in the film.

Jett provided an introduction for the audience by describing his involvement as a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando and his firsthand experience working with Tilikum. He also outlined the major issues of orca captivity that inspired the making of the documentary.

The movie was presented to a packed house and Jett received questions from enthusiastic members of the audience for nearly 40 minutes after the film ended.

Jett said the chance to share the documentary with the Stetson community meant a lot to him and he appreciated everyone’s attendance.

After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, “Blackfish” has received predominantly positive reviews from critics and was picked up by several film distributors for a wider release.

Jett said he believes this notoriety is positive because it helps get the word out about the major issues of orca captivity.

“There are people all around the planet that are on the scene and trying to affect change,” he said.

“I think it’s impossible to predict where this is going to go, but I think the first step is to educate people to the reality of what’s going on behind the scenes.”