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MEGAN LEAVEY

GABRIELA COWPERTHWAITE (Director) rose to prominence in 2013 after her documentary feature Blackfish received universal acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Over the past 15 years, she has established herself as a provocative and informative storyteller whose work focuses on real people and real situations. An accomplished director, writer and producer, Cowperthwaite has seen her work featured on major American networks including the National Geographic Channel, History Channel, Discovery and ESPN.

Blackfish quickly became one of the highest-grossing documentaries of all time. The film deftly explores the circumstances surrounding the death of a SeaWorld trainer who was killed by an orca in 2010. Blackfish premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival as a Grand Jury Finalist and subsequently opened in theaters nationwide. It made cable television history when it premiered on CNN to 60 million viewers and has since amassed over 100 million viewers worldwide. In addition to being shortlisted for an Academy Award, Blackfish was nominated for a BAFTA, a Broadcast Film Critics Award and an International Documentary Association Award, winning the Satellite Award for Best Feature. Blackfish is credited with permanently changing the laws and practice of keeping killer whales in captivity.

Previously, Cowperthwaite produced the award-winning series "Shootout!" for the History Channel. The series depicts actual firefights between U.S. military personnel and other combatants. Cowperthwaite spent several months with over 300 U.S. Marines at Twentynine Palms and completed pre-deployment Iraq War training at March Air Force Base. She also produced and directed the History Channel's "Disaster Tech," which explored the world's biggest natural and manmade disasters. For the National Geographic Channel she wrote, directed and produced multiple episodes of "Animal Nightmares" and "Fear."

In 2010 City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story, the director's first documentary feature, was acquired by ESPN to air as a part of its critically acclaimed "30 for 30" series. The film follows a group of inner-city kids from the moment they pick up lacrosse sticks for the first time all the way to the Colorado State Championship.

The product of a Brazilian mother and American father, Cowperthwaite originally hails from Denver. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, she sings, skis, surfs and is a passionate World Cup soccer fan. Currently, the filmmaker lives in Los Angeles with her husband, an ER doctor, and her two boys.

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