BEFF is back in KK!

Haven't you heard? The Borneo Eco Film Festival is back in Town for the 2nd time! Tickets? What tickets?? It's free entry ya hear??

Come on down to JKKN at Jalan Penampang next to Arkib Negara tomorrow. Its starting on Friday until Sunday.  

Check out the schedule!

I am planning to watch the controversial film called Blackfish this Saturday! 

 Controversial Killer Whale Movie Debuts in Southeast Asia

KOTA KINABALU, September 13, 2013: The heart-wrenching documentary that inspired Pixar Animation Studios to rewrite the ending of Finding Nemo 2 will make its Southeast Asian premiere at the Borneo Eco Film Festival (BEFF) 2013 here in Kota Kinabalu on September 28, 2013.

Festival Director Melissa Leong said that it is a great honour that the documentary British newspaper The Guardian named “one of the strongest documentaries of recent years” will premiere in the region at the BEFF 2013.

Blackfish tells the controversial story of a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity in a marine park in America. 

It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2013 in January this year and has made its way to 10 other international film festivals including Korea’s Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS) 2013. 

It is one of the 13 environmental and historical films featured at the three-day Borneo Eco Film Festival that starts on September 27 at Kompleks Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara (JKKN) Auditorium, Jalan Penampang. The free public screening of Blackfish begins at 9pm that Saturday.

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite started her research on these killer whales after the horrific death of a renowned SeaWorld Orlando trainer caused by one of theme park’s performing killer whale named Tilikum during the park’s live show in February 2010.

Cowperthwaite said she had just taken her children to SeaWorld when she heard the news, “I was completely shocked and very confused and had so many questions.” 

Wild killer whales or orcas living free in the oceans have never killed any human beings. Out in the oceans, these large carnivorous predators live in close-knit family groups where they swim for miles and hunt together every day.

Orcas in captivity, however, are confined to swimming around the unnaturally small pools, relative to their sizes. Tilikum at 5,600 kilogrammes, is the largest orca in captivity measuring 6.9 metres in length. He is responsible for the deaths of three people, including his long-time trainer Dawn Brancheau.
“Something wasn’t right,” Cowperthwaite thought.

So began an intensive two-year research on killer whales.

Cowperthwaite enlisted the help of passionate individuals and seasoned documentary-makers for Blackfish. They interviewed trainers and experts, researched and observed the mammals in both their natural surroundings and in the parks. SeaWorld had repeatedly declined to be interviewed for the documentary.

She said, “I didn’t come in wanting to go for the jugular with SeaWorld; I didn’t have an agenda… I’m only a mother who used to bring her kids to SeaWorld, … I come from no animal activism, I’m not a marine biologist and I’m not a trainer….”

Cowperthwaite recalled that she felt that at some point during the movie-making process, Blackfish took her and led her through its own narrative, “I came in thinking I was going to make a completely different film. I came in thinking about our relationships with our animal counterparts on this planet… (But) once you start peeling back the onion, you cannot not make this documentary, you cannot not make a controversial documentary.”

“You see the information that has to be told, you suddenly know that has become your directive. You feel like suddenly you’re a mouthpiece. It’s a great lesson in humility,” she admitted.

The 82-minute documentary explores 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 multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. Makers say the movie ”shows how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limit.” 

Blackfish continues to receive rave reviews from media around the world, with the Hollywood Reporter calling it “searing and emotionally powerful.” The newly released documentary is slated to win prestigious awards for its outstanding qualities.

Leong said that the Marine Research Foundation (MRF) will be officially introducing Blackfish that evening. 

Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS) is Blackfish’s supporter at the BEFF screening. GFFIS is the first film festival in Korea to highlight environmental issues. The 10-year-old festival is organized by the Korea Green Foundation.

The Borneo Eco Film Festival is an annual event that celebrates Borneo’s bio-cultural diversity by showcasing environmental films and nurturing local community filmmaking. The three-day festival begins on September 27 this year and all 13 specially selected films featured will be screened free for members of the public.

The Main Festival Partners for the event are Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA); CIMB Foundation; Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah; National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (FINAS) under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia; National Department for Culture and Arts (Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara – JKKN) Sabah under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture; The Sabah Society and Daily Express. 

More information can be obtained from the festival website or its Facebook page.

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