Sunday, March 9, 2014


This is my experimental whale doc, Bimbo. Very different than all my other work. There is not an ounce of comedy. It's had a successful festival run, getting into more than any other film of mine. It is also one of my mom’s favorites. I love this blurb written by MaryJane Schramm of the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival.

"With edgy editing and a surreal score, this tragic tale profiles the Pacific pilot whale whose captive “stardom” at Marineland of the Pacific, triggers a descent into depression and psychosis. Launching his 6,000-pound bulk through an observation window makes a powerful statement."

I learned about this story when I bought a postcard set from the early 60s featuring the Marineland of the Pacific park. "The Mighty Bimbo" was featured prominently. Wanting to find out more about Marineland, a quick Google search surprisingly revealed sensationalized newspaper headlines about Bimbo going “psychotic.” His story fascinated me and I read up about everything I could from these old newspapers. Digging deeper, I contacted the Marineland of the Pacific Historical Society who were very helpful in providing stills, info, and access to the old park meetings minutes. I learned far more than what is in the film.

Originally, I thought Bimbo would make for a good animated film produced later in life.
But at some point, it clicked that I could do it with some archival footage, the newspaper clippings, and a song I wrote from an earlier film. The song, Banish It To The Moon, is played backwards and while still melodic, is used to reflect Bimbo’s distorted frame of mind. Much of the film is supposed to be from his POV.   

For a more linear background on Bimbo, here's a good retelling of his story: