"Keiko: Untold Story Of The Star Of Free Willy"
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jul 19, 2013 - 5:09:46 AM

PORTLAND, OR"Keiko: The Untold Story of the Star of Free Willy" is a documentary that allows viewers to fully understand the famous orca's life in captivity and to inspire people with his ability to survive despite having the odds against him.

Keiko first began making headlines after the release of the blockbuster movie "Free Willy" in 1993. Many were concerned about the orca's life in captivity and strived to have him be released into the wild. After a considerable amount of donations, the effort began to help the animal both live and prosper in the ocean.

"Keiko was the most unlikely candidate to be freed after captivity as he was very ill while he was in Mexico. This film does something no one else has done before by telling Keiko's incredible story from beginning to end," said filmmaker Theresa Demarest.

Demarest first became interested in Keiko when he was being moving from Oregon to Mexico. She was very ill with breast cancer at the time and felt a connection with the sick Orca that inspired her in more ways than one. "I remember watching them dump him in the water and he was a such a complete mess. I thought well if he can make it then so can I," said Demarest.

"Keiko: Untold Story Of The Star Of Free Willy"
After her recovery, Demarest put out a couple of albums and was invited to Iceland to be the band to headline Keiko's departure into the wild. It was there that she became acquainted with the Free Willy Foundation which led to her collaboration with Mark Berman in Keiko's Dream Tour. Demarest, along with fellow musicians, recreated orca sounds with instruments and had slideshows presented educating the audience on Keiko's whereabouts.

Demarest was one of the first to know about Keiko's death in 2003 and was asked by Berman to make a music video in the famous orca's honor. What first was meant to be a music video slowly became a full-length documentary set out to both encourage and educate audience members.

Many people are misinformed about Keiko as some believe he died soon after being released into the wild. "Keiko: The Untold Story" shows actually how well Keiko thrived in freedom while in Icelandic and Norwegian waters.

The documentary has received a multitude of honors including the EIFF Best Documentary Award in 2011, First Glance Best Director Award in 2011, the Cine Golden Eagle Award in 2010 and made the official selection list of many film festivals.

"Keiko: The Untold Story of the Star of Free Willy" is premiering on Saturday, August 17 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. For more information or to get tickets, visit http://www.keikotheuntoldstory.com/.

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