The Walrus And The Whistleblower

Not everyone loves Marineland

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Phil Demers lives in a bungalow across the creek from MarineLand, the iconic amusement park in Niagara Falls, where he had his dream job as an animal trainer for over a decade. He swam with killer whales and ran the show, until he quit and blew the whistle, making claims of animal abuse and calling for an end to the near 60-year-old practice of keeping marine mammals in pools.

Known in the media as @walruswhisperer, Phil has amassed 27,000 followers on Twitter, has made multiple tv appearances, has testified before the Canadian Senate, and is being sued for $1.5 million for plotting to steal Smooshi, the walrus.

Phil and Smooshi had become inseparable when Smooshi first arrived at MarineLand, and together they became a viral sensation in the early days of social media. He gave her a sense of security, she gave him a sense of purpose. Now, he's embroiled in a stranger-than-fiction custody battle to #savesmooshi.

This character-driven documentary probes deep into the media story that has been bubbling away for decades. We follow Phil as he champions a law to ban the captivity of whales and dolphins, faces a lawsuit entering its 8th year, and spirals around an aching loss of identity.

The Walrus And The Whistleblower is a personal tale that plays out against the paradigm shift in our relationship with animals, and challenges us to be compassionate, toward humans and animals alike.

Sunday, September 13, 7:20 pm screening
The director, Nathalie Bibeau, will attend and conduct a Q&A after the film.
Phil Demers, who broke a foot last week, may be here as well, depending on advice from his doctor.

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