To Liberate a Blackfish

To Liberate a Blackfish
Date: 20/04/2019 Times: 7:30 pm - 8:05 pm

Please note that this is an independent screening by the director in association with the Nottage Institute which Moving Image is pleased to help publicize.

Email Shariana Manning for further details:

Director Shari Manning…

“I’ve lived and worked in Wivenhoe for almost a decade and have been attempting to raise awareness for ‘Morgan’, a young, and once wild Orca who now languishes in a ‘parrot park’ in Tenerife. I’ve signed petitions, written letters, and gone on various protests but I found it has not been enough. Last year I quit my beloved job on Pioneer to try and find out what it would take to liberate Morgan. I documented the journey and have edited into a short movie that I hope will inform and inspire others to help me achieve a dignified future for Morgan.” Watch the trailer!.



‘To Liberate a Blackfish’ will be screened at The Nottage Institute next Saturday (20th April)
Doors open at 6:30, and the movie will start at 7:30.
Donations at the door, with complementary wine and tea/coffee.
The movie is around 35 mins long with a short talk and Q&A after.

Here is a snippet from Shari’s blog post about Morgan:

“She was taken from the wild… off the coast of the Netherlands on the 23rd of June, 2010. She had been found alone, malnourished and dehydrated. A ‘rehabilitate and release’ CITES permit was granted and that is where her sorry story with humans began. She was taken to the Dolfinarium Harderwijk where specific provisions made by the permit were immediately ignored. She was later moved to Loro Parque in Tenerife where she is forced to perform three times a day 365 days of the year.”

Morgan has been in captivity since 2010 despite lengthy and so far unresolved legal battles over breeding rights and commercial interests. After a history of being kept in tanks often not even deep enough for her to stand upright whilst she (one of the worlds most intelligent mammals) performs tricks for fish food to entertain tourists, she is still languishing in the ‘Loro Parque’ aquarium/zoo in Tenerife. (Update: Morgan gave birth in captivity September last year.) Background info: Orca are the biggest Cetaceans (the whale sub-family that also includes toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) and were originally descended from land-based mammals that returned to the worlds oceans back in the Middle Eocene period, about 49 million years ago. Orca are like humans in many respects, they give birth to live young, have close family relations, are fast-moving, intelligent and (also like humans) are very predatory.


More info about Shariana Manning’s journey at

More info about Morgan at



In 2013, SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales in captivity was the basis of the movie ‘Blackfish’, which documents the history of Tilikum, a ‘killer whale’ (Orca) at SeaWorld Orlando, who had been involved in the deaths of three people. The film was a sensation, leading the company to announce in 2016 that it would phase out its killer whale program after various unsuccessful attempts to restore its reputation and stock price. Tilikum died in 2017 after spending 25 years in captivity . There’s also a lot of other interesting material and discussions of these issues on Wikipedia on the treatment of Orcas, and in particular on the background to the way these issues have been represented by the director of ‘Blackfish’. These are not necessarily related directly to Shari’s film but may provide some context on the complicated relations between ‘killer-whales’ and those “…multi-billion dollar industries” which hold, train and constrain these powerful creatures to perform tricks for tourists.


To Liberate a Blackfish

Year: 2019

Country: UK

Cert: n/a

Duration: 35 mins

Dir: Shariana Manning

Shari Manning's documentary on the struggle to free Morgan, the female Orca captured in 2010, still trapped in a Tenerife tourist park nine years later.




Venue: The Nottage Maritime Institute