Yes, it’s true. We keep getting confused by three similar-sounding documentaries in the indiesphere right now: “Code Black,” “The New Black” and “Blackfish.” They each deal with vital but very different subjects (the LA County Hospital emergency room, assumptions about homophobia in the African-American community, and killer whales, respectively).
Herewith, our mini-guide to each film, plus all three trailers.
“Blackfish”: This buzzy Sundance doc, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, looks at Sea World’s much-publicized killer whale Tilikum, who swallowed its trainer whole in 2010. Using never-before-seen footage and exclusive new interviews, the film exposes the scandal while also calling into question the practices of keeping whales in captivity. It hits theaters July 19, via Magnolia Pictures. Make sure to watch the pulse-pounding, viscerally terrifying trailer below.
“Code Black”: World premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Ryan McGarry’s documentary follows a team of young ER doctors during the hectic transition from the old LA County + USC Medical Center hospital to the new upgrade. Aside from the acute stresses of the emergency room, these doctors are also swamped with paperwork, rules and regulations, all on a piece of land where, as one of the film’s subjects says, “more people have died than any other location in the United States… [yet] more people have been saved than in any other square footage in the United States.” More info here.
“The New Black”: Also a world premiere at LAFF, Yoruba Richen’s doc looks at the preconceived notions about homophobia in the African-American community. This begins as an intense dialogue about gay rights, Church and religion, family history and the legacy of civil rights, while centering on the recent elections in Maryland, and the leaders who are addressing homophobia and racism within gay organizations. More info here.
See the trailers below.