- Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014
Underdog Entertainment, a New York-based production company, today announced that “A Day in the Life of Lolita the Performing Orca” featuring world renowned orca biologist Dr. Ingrid N. Visser will screen at the 2014 Big Apple Film Festival in New York City. The documentary short, directed by Daniel Azarian, follows Dr. Visser as she visits the Miami Seaquarium where an orca named Lolita has been living in the smallest orca tank in the world for the past 44 years. This film, produced on behalf of the Washington-based Orca Network, documents Dr. Visser’s visit as well as her thoughts and scientific observations concerning Lolita's current living conditions.
Forty-four years ago herders violently took Lolita from her family in Puget Sound and transferred her to a 20-foot-deep tank at the Seaquarium. Only four times her size at its widest point, the tank violates Department of Agriculture regulations. The Orca Network has developed a retirement plan to have Lolita moved to an ocean sanctuary in her home waters of Washington State.
“ ‘A Day in the Life of Lolita’ is a concerned portrait of Lolita, imprisoned as a circus performer, patient and cooperative beyond all comprehension and a survivor beyond all probability,” states Orca Network founder, Howard Garrett. “While Lolita is still in good health there is an easy solution to her predicament. She can go home.”
Dr. Ingrid Visser, who has studied wild orca for over twenty years claims, “As an orca researcher and having seen Lolita in such a barren and tiny tank, I’m motivated to tell the world about her plight. She’s done nothing to deserve such punishment and should be given the chance to retire into a seapen, in her home waters.”
This past year, “A Day in the Life of Lolita” has been an official selection at the prestigious Int’l Wildlife Film Festival in Montana and The Green Screen Int’l Wildlife Film Festival in Germany as well The San Francisco Int’l Ocean Film Festival, The Wildlife Conservation Film Festival and receiving Honorable Mention at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival.
"What I feel makes our film so important," states director Azarian, "is that we capture first-hand the witness of an established and respected orca biologist. She shares her thoughts on captive orca behavior, with Lolita just a few feet away. Anyone hearing her speak - scientist or layperson - will be left in no doubt as to the cruelty of this practice."
The film also includes an animated photo sequence using original photographs from the actual Penn Cove orca capture of 1970. The disturbing images show orcas being violently rounded up with nets and capture boats in the Puget Sound waters. The release of "Blackfish," a documentary exposing the story behind the death of a trainer at Seaworld, brought the controversial issue of orca captivity into the mainstream.
The festival will take place November 5th – 9th, 2014 at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City. “A Day in the Life of Lolita” will screen on November 6 at 8:15pm. Tickets go on sale on October 15, 2014. Visit www.BigAppleFilmFestival.com for more information.
Dr. Ingrid Visser is an internationally acclaimed authority on orca, having established research projects and studied them all over the globe. She was the subject of the BBC acclaimed documentary, "The Woman Who Swims with Killer Whales", and is the founder and principal researcher of the Orca Research Trust (www.OrcaResearch.org), whose mission is to protect orca and their habitat through conservation, education and scientific research.
Daniel Azarian is an award-winning filmmaker and producer of commercials and branded entertainment. He has helmed national television spots for blue-chip brands and entertainment programming for major cable television channels, as well as having his work licensed for advertising on mobile networks in the U.S., China and the UK. Among the global brands whose campaigns have featured his work are AT&T, Sprint, AOL Music, Perez Hilton, MTV, Vh1, Horizon Organic, Sony Music Entertainment and 3M. Recent credits include the music videos "Teenage Popstar Girl” and "There Will Never Be Any Peace" for the Grammy award winning The Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as the award-winning Public Service Announcement “Save Lolita,” the Anti-Violence Project’s “Bullying is Violence” PSA and “Building the New World Trade Center” for Silverstein Properties.
Orca Network (www.OrcaNetwork.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in Washington State, dedicated to raising awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest, and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats. They have developed the Lolita Retirement Plan to retire Lolita to her home waters of Washington State.
Underdog Entertainment (www.UnderdogEntertainment.com) is a New York-based production company active in producing commercial spots, branded and traditional entertainment, and film.