SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The documentary "Blackfish" has caused anger, but on Monday, it was meant to inspire.
Director Gabriella Cowperwaite spent her morning at Point Loma High School fielding questions from teens eager to ask about "Blackfish", a controversial documentary that casts a critical look at SeaWorld. It focuses in part on the death of a SeaWorld trainer killed in 2010 by a six-ton killer whale.
"I had a question, I needed that question to be answered. I didn't come from a place of animal advocacy or activism. I just wanted to understand why a tragedy occurred," she said.
The film has been a hit and its director thinks it's especially important for teenagers to see.
"I think for me it's really important for kids to critically think and to make their own decisions, their own informed decisions based on the facts," Cowperwaite said.
She sees her film as a catalyst for change in parks like SeaWorld. She'd like to see them move towards being more of an animal sanctuary, focusing on rehabilitating and releasing animals. Cowperwaite says getting her message out to younger people can help make that happen.
"This to me, coming down here and seeing how young people are relating to these issues is tremendously inspiring. I think they're going to be the 'I can't believe we used to do that' generation, and evolve us past animals for entertainment," she said.
The concept is actually something she sees SeaWorld doing, whether it's on their own, or because of pressure.
"I actually think they're going to. I'm hopeful they will readjust and realize they can no longer afford to be silent because now the kids have questions," she said.
SeaWorld is calling the movie "Blackfish" inaccurate. They have put out a detailed statement online that it says sets the record straight.