KEIKO THE UNTOLD STORY TO SCREEN AT THE 2010 STARZ DENVER FILM FESTIVAL
Millions of Keiko fans around the world will finally learn the truth about what happened to the “Free Willy” star
Los Angeles – October 26, 2010… Keiko the Untold Story by Theresa Demarest will compete at the Starz Denver Film Festival, Saturday, November 13 at 11am (as the festival’s “Saturday at the Movies” kids film) and November 14, at 6pm at the Denver Film Center/Colfax. Demarest will be joined by cast members Mark Berman, Associate Director of the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, and Dr. Naomi Rose, Senior Scientist, Humane Society International. Demarest, Berman and Rose will lead a question and answer session following each showing of the film.
Four years in the making, this compelling documentary presents never before seen footage of Keiko – the Free Willy star, the first and only captive Orca to released back into the wild. The film provides insight into the unique culture of Orcas, and how the impact of being taken from his pod affected Keiko’s survival instincts. The film offers exclusive accounts of his day-to-day existence by Keiko’s last two caretakers, Colin Baird and Thorbjorg (Tobba) Valdis Kristjansdottir
“It seems like everything I’ve ever done, everybody I’ve ever known, every piece of music and poetry I’ve ever written, has gone into making this film,” says first-time filmmaker Theresa Demarest, a celebrated singer and songwriter from the Northwest, retired critical care nurse, former Catholic nun, single parent and two-time breast cancer survivor. It has been a phenomenal journey.”
Keiko first swam into Demarest’s life in 1996, while she was recovering from several major surgeries related to her second battle with cancer. The day the ailing whale arrived in Oregon, Demarest found herself mesmerized by his spirit after an eleven-year ordeal surviving in a tank that was never designed for anything larger than an eight-foot bottlenose dolphin.
“There was something about the story,” she recalls, "something about the people involved in the story, something about him and his spirit got me going after his story.”
Among Demarest’s ‘other hats” on the film include stints as producer, singer, songwriter, composer, and executive producer (along with EP’s Nola Wilken and Jay Schornstein). The film’s expert advisors include Baird, Director of Field Operations, the Free Willy- Keiko Project, Dr. Naomi Rose of the Humane Society International, Mark Berman of the Earth Island Institute, and Dr. Paul Spong of OrcaLab.
The film just won the Award of Excellence from the Accolade Film Competition in LaJolla, California and Best Documentary from the American International Film Festival in Milford, Michigan.
The Starz, Denver Film Festival, now in its 33rd year, runs November 3 – 14, 2010. Tickets for the screenings can be purchased online at www.denverfilm.org or at the box office.
See you on the blue carpet!
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Theresa Demarest/ Producer Deborah Gilels
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Nowhere in recent history has a captive mammal garnered so much attention as Keiko, the orca star of the 1993 hit film, “Free Willy.” The film’s success, partnered with growing public interest in animals held in captivity, launched a children’s crusade that called for Keiko’s release into the wild. The result: a multimillion-dollar project that spanned four countries, weathered endless controversy and lasted nearly a decade. Through first-hand accounts by the marine mammal experts charged with his care, “Keiko The Untold Story” follows Keiko, his life, his legacy of hope, and the untold story of his extraordinary years in Iceland and Norway.