Women for Whales
Joining together for Whales at WhaleFest!

As advocates of WHALE FREEDOM, the European premiere of ‘Keiko – the Untold Story’ totally blew us away. Keiko is the orca star from the movie Free Willy, years ago millions of children pressured for his release. This movie follows 5 years of his carefully planned release program back in his home waters of Iceland. SeaWorld scientists have been quick to lable this release a failure, which is an utter lie. After years in a concrete tank with severe health problems Keiko adapted, turned into a healthy whale, able to hunt and catch his own fish. After Keiko, Orcas were never again captured in Icelandic waters, what a legacy!

OPB News | September 8, 2011 view article>
Q&A: “Keiko” Relocation Was a Success Story, Filmmaker Says

Keiko was a success story, or so says the creator of a new documentary.

The star of the movie “Free Willy” — and arguably the most famous killer whale in history — was successfully rehabilitated in Oregon after spending most of his life in captivity at an amusement park in Mexico.

“If you ask the average person, ‘What happened to Keiko after he left Oregon?’ ‘Oh, he went to Iceland and died and it was a miserable failure of a project.’ And that just wasn’t true,” says Portland filmmaker Theresa Demarest.

Her new film is called “Keiko, The Untold Story.”

Keiko was moved from the Newport Aquarium to a bay in Iceland in 1998. Demarest says when that happened, Keiko thrived.

The Portland premiere is tonight at the Northwest Film Center.


SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC RADIO INTERVIEWKALW FM 91.7 | Rose Aquilar hosts “Cross Currents” aired on 3/9/2011
Live interview panel include(s): Theresa Demarest, Director “Keiko The Untold Story”; Ana Blanco, Festival Director of the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival; David McGuire, Director/ Founder of Sea Stewards
description=”San Francisco Public Radio: Rose Aquilar hosts “Cross Currents” aired on 3/9/2011 featuring Theresa Demarest, Ana Blanco and David McGuire.

BLOG, ISLAND ART ASSOCIATION | February 26, 2011 view article>
“Keiko The Untold Story” screens at the Amelia Island Film Festival 2011

Film Viewers watch the True Story about the Orca who played in the movie “Free Willy”. The Amelia Island Film Festival is showing films at the Island Art Association, in Our new Education Center.

This heart breaking documentary show the perils that Keiko, the star of “Free Willy” underwent as a result of being taken out of his natural habitat and being forced into performance slavery. It demonstrates Keiko’s charm, personality, intelligence and resilience in spite of all of his adversity. read more>

QUEENS CHRONICLE  |  March 3, 2011 view article>
“Film Fest Brings the World to Queens”  by Elizabeth Daley, qboro editor
Another gem to check out at the festival is “Keiko — The Untold Story,” by Theresa Demarest of Oregon. The documentary tells the life story of a whale most famous for his role in “Free Willy.”

Demarest’s first film was a passion project. She met Keiko in Oregon as she was recovering from breast cancer. “He fell into the water like a slug, and that’s kind of how I felt. At the time, my ability to stay on the planet was in question,” she said. When she was feeling better, she visited Keiko again, and he was more lively as well. She wrote a song about him, but that wasn’t enough. After his death in 2003, she decided the tale of his life needed to be told.

“I wanted to somehow tell the story in a way that wasn’t just science and wasn’t just art,” Demarest said. So, she taught herself how to make films and poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the project. “It was a steep learning curve,” she said.  Read full article>

Filmmaker Q&A: Teresa Demarest, “Keiko The Untold Story” |  Monday, Feb. 28, 2011

What was the most challenging part of creating the film?
Everyone told me that this couldn’t be done and even if it someone did it … no one would care. I was primarily a musician, and had only minimal experience as a filmmaker. When I started this project, I didn’t even have the most basic tools necessary with which to put paint to canvas. Without going into the sad details of the humungous learning curve, suffice to say that it became immediately clear that I needed to become a good leader. I needed help and I needed skilled competent folks to follow my lead. My horse and a poem by Rudyard Kipling became my constant companions. I knew a part of the story that the majority of the public did not know. How to tell it, affording the right footage, securing interviews from places all over the world, writing the music, refining the narrative.

What was the most memorable moment in creating the film?
Interviewing Thorbjorg (Tobba) Valdis Kristjansdottir over Skype with a film crew from Iceland because we didn’t have the money to actually go there. Sigurdur Grimson and his crew at GrimsFilm in Iceland did an awesome job with our unusual requests.  Read blog article>

FILM VOICE PODCASTpresented by Nickel City Collective view interview page>
Starz Denver International Film Festival 2/14/2010
from left: Matt Talarico, Mark Berman, Theresa Demarest, Dr. Naomi A. Rose, PhD.

description=”KeikoDoc Podcast Interview Denver Intl Film Fest”

The Oregonian – October 3, 2010 | view article>

The most famous whale ever to splash through Oregon surfaces this month in a new documentary. And while “Keiko the Untold Story” is an interesting tale, at least as intriguing is the story of the nun-turned-folk-singer-turned-nurse-turned-filmmaker who says she spent more than $300,000 and nearly went broke making it.

Theresa Demarest claims she doesn’t care about the money, proving that when it comes to the late, great Keiko the killer whale, she’s still smitten after all these years.

Her 74-minute retrospective on the curious life of the famed “Free Willy” movie orca makes its debut the second week of October at Blue Planet Film Fest in Santa Monica, Calif. Screenings follow Oct. 15 at La Femme International Film Festival in Hollywood, Calif., and November’s Starz Denver Film Festival. Demarest says she applied to next February’s Portland International Film Festival and to the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival, in March 2011, but hasn’t heard whether “Keiko” will play in the state where he caused such a stir more than a decade ago.  Read more>