The award-winning 2022 documentary Corky is the story of world’s longest-held captive orca, the changing public sentiment about orcas in captivity, and the rise of sea sanctuaries. Christine Caruso, the producer and director of Corky joins us to discuss the film.
Corky is a member of the Northern Resident killer whale community and was captured on December 11, 1969. We intentionally published this episode on the anniversary of her capture and highly recommend the film. The film is as powerful and emotional as Blackfish, but it is the personal story of Corky.
We talk briefly about the Northern Residents, their similarities and differences from the Southern Residents that we see here in the San Juan Islands. They are two distinct populations of salmon-eating orcas.
Christine’s shares her background as a kindergarten teacher and tells the story of how she went from learning about Corky to making this amazing film. It was her passion for Corky that lead her to the right people and the right places at the right times.
We then discuss some of the moments from the film, and Corky’s life, that stood out for each of us.
Christine talks about her move from Marineland of the Pacific to SeaWorld. Her tankmate, Orky, also a Northern Resident, was being removed from their tank first. Christine talks about how Corky desperately tried to get into the sling with him, not wanting to be separated. Sara recounted Corky and Orky’s daily sunlight ceremony, how they marked where the sun would rise each morning and celebrated. You gotta see the film to really get the mysticism of this. Jeff recounted a pivotal life changing encounter with a Northern Resident, A61, and learned in the film that he is Corky’s cousin.
Christine then talks about her experience of watching the audience go through Corky’s journey at the screening at the Friday Harbor Film Festival in October. The film won 2 awards at it’s first film festival, the Audience Choice awards for Tales from the Heart and On Demand Best Feature.
We conclude our conversation with Christine by talking about Corky’s future and the hope that she will be retired to a sanctuary, under human care, in her home waters. As featured in the film, there is already an ideal site waiting for her. We talk about what that would be like for Corky, to be able to feel the tides, the kelp beds, and be in acoustic range of her community. See links below how people can get involved and where you can see the film. Please watch the film and share with your friends. Help us to help Corky share her story.
At the end of the episode we talk about recent sightings and some previews to our upcoming episodes, including Sara’s winter adventure to Australia to spend time with the Bremer Canyon killer whales and our upcoming trip with CBA to the Silver Bank.