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Buzzy Indie Documentaries 'Blackfish,' 'Code Black' and 'The New Black' -- Which Is Which? (TRAILERS)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood June 19, 2013 at 3:10PM

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.
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Blackfish

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"
"Code Black"

"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"
"The New Black"
"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.

This article is related to: Video, Documentary, Documentaries, Blackfish, Los Angeles Film Festival, Magnolia Pictures


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.