FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2010
WHO: Keiko, the Orca star of the movie Free Willy
WHAT: Not yet released Keiko Documentary in final stages of production titled KEIKO, An Orca’s Journey from Captivity to Freedom
‘This was a failed and flawed experiment from the beginning. As far as I’m concerned, Keiko was never a release candidate. He was caught in the middle of a Hollywood movie.’
– (Greg Bossart, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution & Miami Seaquarium)
‘We extended not only the length of his life, but the quality of his life. He was swimming tight circles in a small pool with Papilloma all over him, and by the time we finished with him, he was out with the big boys, swimming around with wild whales in the ocean.’
– (David Phillips, Free Willy-Keiko Foundation)
Nowhere in recent history has a captive mammal garnered so much attention, be it obsessive support or dismay, than Keiko, the killer whale and the star of the 1993 hit film Free Willy. More than a nature documentary, Keiko is the first to center on the killer whale himself and his process of rehabilitation and release after over fifteen years in captivity. Ultimately, the story of this killer whale is something that goes beyond Keiko, beyond the controversy, and even beyond ocean and mammal research. The story of Keiko is a universal one, one to which his millions of fans worldwide can identify and connect; a story that humanizes today’s issues of climate change and conservation through the eyes of a single whale.
Everyone hoped that Keiko would find his family & live happily ever after. When that didn’t happen, the media walked away and called the effort a failure. The documentary is the amazing story of what actually did happen with Keiko. The Upcoming film takes the viewer on Keiko’s journey, explores his strong will to survive, and enjoys his enormous embrace of his own freedom. Through first hand accounts by those that were there every day, the documentary follows Keiko, his life, his legacy, and the untold story of his extraordinary years freedom in Iceland and Norway where he thrived before his death in 2003.
Theresa Demarest, Producer
Joshua Records, LLC
503- 235-6072 (Office)
Email: [email protected]
Portland, Oregon’s Joshua Records, LLC in Association with the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation Release Keiko Tribute DVD
The twelve-minute short commemorates the 10th anniversary of Keiko’s release to Iceland and features never before screened film footage of Keiko’s life.
Portland, Ore. – Joshua Records, LLC in association with the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation announced today the release of a twelve-minute short film commemorating the 10th anniversary of Keiko’s release into his home waters in the North Atlantic where he thrived before his death in 2003. The film score, composed by Executive Producer Theresa Demarest and Portland musicians Tim Ellis and Jean-Pierre Garau, provides a sensational, emotive backdrop to the never before screened film footage of Keiko’s life. The Keiko Tribute DVD is a preview to the documentary Keiko’s Dream…Keiko’s Legacy (the true story of the star of Free Willy), which will be released in spring 2009.
“Keiko’s life story and his will to survive touched millions of people,” says Theresa Demarest, executive producer Keiko’s Dream…Keiko’s Legacy (the true story of the star of Free Willy.) “In this tribute, we share exceptional film footage, music and interviews with leading marine mammal scientists that is truly inspirational and educational.”
About Keiko’s Dream…Keiko’s Legacy (the true story of the star of Free Willy)
Keiko’s Dream…Keiko’s Legacy is a documentary film, which explores Keiko’s life including his capture, his career as a movie star, his recovery at Oregon Coast Aquarium and his return home to Iceland. The film features rare film footage, a composed musical score and interviews with prominent experts Mark Berman, associate director of Free Willy Keiko Foundation, Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States, and Dr. Paul Spong, founder of OrcaLab. The film was is being produced by Joshua Records, LLC of Portland, Oregon by Executive Producer Theresa Demarest.
For more information on Keiko’s Dream…Keiko’s Legacy, visit www.keikotheuntoldstory.com
Free Willy-Keiko Foundation’s Mark Berman In PDX For Filming – Available for Interview
WHO: Mark Berman, Free Willy-Keiko Foundation
WHEN: February 11, 2008, 10 a.m. & 4 p.m.
WHERE: Portland International Airport & Joshua Records Studios
CONTACT: Executive Producer Theresa Demarest, (503) 235-6072
A dozen years ago international attention was drawn to Oregon when Keiko, a killer whale, was moved from a stifling aquarium in Mexico City, Mexico, to Newport’s Oregon Coast Aquarium. Keiko’s story originally unfolded as a result of Disney’s popular 1993 fictional film, “Free Willy”.
While being rehabilitated for life in the wild, the Orca and Oregon Coast Aquarium staff was bombarded with visitors, letters, and phone calls from people in every region of the world.
With attention focused on Keiko’s popularity and rehabilitation in Oregon, and his release off the shores of Iceland, almost nothing was reported of his life thereafter. Much of the public, in fact, still believes that Keiko lived only a short time in Iceland, and that this whale’s preparation for release was expensive and sadly unsuccessful.
Thankfully, Keiko’s life after release was very successful, and a new documentary film, “Keiko’s Dream … Keiko’s Legacy”, is being produced in Portland that will show this accomplishment. The movie uses never-before-seen footage taken by Jean-Michel Cousteau, his caretakers, and others involved in the “Keiko project.”
Mark Berman, Associate Director of the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation in San Francisco, was one of those dedicated to Keiko’s release. He will be in Portland on Monday to be filmed for the documentary. He will answer questions about his and his agency’s rationale for and role in ensuring the success of Keiko’s freedom.
Come question Mr. Berman:
- Was Keiko’s rehabilitation and release a success, or a costly failure?
- How did Keiko capture the hearts of so many?
- Why do marine researchers and scientists consider this event so important to the future of captive mammals?
- What does Keiko’s release mean for the aquarium entertainment industry?
- Why pay attention to Keiko’s story now?
Mark Berman/Assistant Director
Free Willy Keiko Foundation
300 Broadway #28
San Francisco CA 94133 USA
415-788-3666 X 146/Fax 415-788-7324
Who: Keiko’s Legacy Tour Staff & The Free Willy Keiko Foundation
What: Keiko’s Legacy Tour & The Free Willy Keiko Foundation have been invited to appear at the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s remembrance event
When: February 20, 2004 6:30 to 8pm
Where: Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon
Keiko was the second longest living captive male orca in history, and the very first Orca whale to swim free in his homeland waters for five years following his captivity. Singer-songwriter and producer for Joshua Records, Theresa Demarest, has been invited by Pat Hebling, interim president at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, to give a short presentation on behalf of the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and Keiko’s Legacy Tour. Theresa Demarest will also present a short DVD trailer of Keiko swimming free in the open ocean. The film footage, originally shot by the Free Willy Keiko Foundation Staff, is being developed into the science presentation part of Keiko’s Legacy Tour. (formerly Keiko’s Dream Tour)
Keiko’s Legacy Tour is in development with Mark Berman, Associate Director of the Free Willy Keiko Foundation in San Francisco and Singer-songwriter, Theresa Demarest, in Portland Oregon. Over the last several years, Mark Berman and Theresa Demarest & Good Company have presented what was known as Keiko’s Dream Tour for many communities and schools throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Keiko’s Legacy Tour will continue as a concert and marine mammal science program. The event utilizes the collaborative talents of musicians, composers, visual artists, and professional scientists. Together they create an educational, visually inspiring, audience involving event, designed to connect the audience to the music, and the science of becoming a voice for the planet, a voice for the ocean, and a continuing voice for Keiko’s legacy.
MARCH 2001 Portland, OR The Oregonian, Staff Writer, Katy Muldoon wrote:
An Orca’s Tribute
….Theresa Demarest came eye-to-eye with the famed whale and came away with a mission. Keiko, the orca formerly known as Willy in the 1993 Warner Bros. Film “Free Willy”, is not, of course, on stage at Jefferson High School this frigid February day. It just sounds as if he is when electric guitar riffs squeal in a remarkably realistic rendition of whale vocalizations. When the drums tap-tap-tap, the clicks of an orca call. When piano notes whisper, crest and crash, (it sounds) like a killer whale breaching at sea. Together, they form an instrumental jazz tune titled Keiko’s Dream. Together, they illustrate Theresa Demarest’s awakening as a musician with a message — a singer-songwriter who yearns to be a voice for the oceans and, especially, a voice for Keiko.”
To learn more about the tour, contribute to the science of becoming a voice for the planet, a voice for the ocean, and a continuing voice for Keiko’s legacy, please send donations for Keiko’s Legacy Tour to The Free Willy Keiko Foundation. See: http://www.keiko.com
To become a sponsor of this program or bring the Keiko’s Dream Legacy Tour to your community, contact us at (503)235-6072 or email: [email protected]
All materials and programs produced by Theresa Demarest & Joshua Records for Keiko’s Legacy benefit The Free Willy Keiko Foundation.
OrcaLab – December 15, 2003
We have very sad news.
Keiko, the orca star of the film Free Willy and the first ever captive orca to be returned to life in the ocean, died yesterday in Norway. His end was sudden and unexpected. Just a week earlier, blood tests had shown Keiko to be in normal good health. However, during the day before his death Keiko appeared lethargic. He did not eat on his last day and his breathing became erratic. In the early evening of December 12th Keiko swam to the shore of Taknes Bay and died. The immediate cause of his death was probably pneumonia.
Keiko lived for 27 years, a normal life span for male orcas whose average longevity is about 29 years. His life, however, was by no means normal. Captured in Icelandic waters in 1979 when he was not even two years old, Keiko was initially shipped to a captive facility in Canada and then sold to another in Mexico City where he performed for crowds at an amusement park. After being “discovered” by Hollywood and becoming a movie star, Keiko attained celebrity status as the most famous whale in the world. Once it was realized that reality did not match the successful Free Willy happy ending and that the ìstarî had been left to languish once more in an unhealthy, small pool, children around the world insisted that Keiko be given a chance to regain his freedom.
After much negotiation on his behalf, he was finally shipped in 1996 to a cold sea water tank in Oregon. It was the first time in 17 years that Keiko had felt the soothing effects of natural ocean water. Terribly underweight when he arrived, Keiko slowly regained his health and vigor and by 1998 it was felt he was ready for the next stage on his road to freedom. He was flown to Iceland by the US Air Force and placed in a sea pen. Now he was truly back in his home waters.
In the following several summers Keiko made tentative and eventually extensive contacts with wild orcas, but he probably never encountered his immediate family and did not remain with the wild orcas he met. We will never know why but it is possible that his family had been decimated by the extensive captures of the 1970s and ’80s. In the summer of 2002 Keiko left Icelandic waters and swam by himself nearly 1200 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean to Norway.
Despite having been reliant on humans for food and comfort almost his entire life he somehow survived for over 50 days, feeding himself along the way. When he was discovered off the coast of Norway he was in wonderful shape and warmly welcomed, especially by children. But the over-attention of people created problems for Keiko’s rehabilitation. A local government offered Keiko a secluded bay in a sheltered fjord as a home base from which he was free to roam. Keiko has remained in the vicinity of Taknes Bay for the past year. He has been cared for by a small dedicated staff and taken on “walks” pending the arrival of wild orcas which would give him renewed opportunities to socialise with his own kind. Sadly, Keikoís death came too soon for this to happen.
Keiko will be missed by millions of people around the world, especially children, and his remarkable story will be told and retold. Unfortunately, it is already being distorted and misrepresented in many media reports. Some of the errors are relatively trivial (e.g. incorrectly stating that Keiko died 10 years earlier than is normal) but others are serious and need correction. The most serious error is the claim by the captive industry that the entire project was a “failure”. It was not. Rather, it was a resounding success in almost every conceivable way. Keiko died a free orca, in the ocean on his own terms.
Had he remained in Mexico City Keiko would have died long ago. Instead, just look where he took us. In our opinion, even a taste of freedom is worth a long journey for captives that are utterly deprived of choices. Keiko raised the profile of orcas and other whales to hitherto unknown heights, and along the way did an amazing job of raising human consciousness to a point where it is now widely agreed that whales and dolphins should not be caged or otherwise abused. That job remains to be completed and in Keiko’s memory we will carry on.
DECEMBER 15, 2003
Free Willy Keiko Foundation plans Memorial Service event with Keiko’s Dream Tour staff.
Who: Free Willy Keiko Foundation/With Mark Berman
& Keiko’s Dream Tour/Theresa Demarest & Good Company
What: KEIKO’S DREAM MEMORIAL EVENT
As so many have heard by now, Keiko’s incredible journey has ended. Mark Berman, Associate Director of the Free Willy Keiko Foundation is planning a memorial event for Keiko with Theresa Demarest and the Keiko‚s Dream Tour. Over the last several years, Mark & Theresa have presented The Keiko‚s Dream Tour for many communities and schools throughout the Pacific Northwest and want to share Keiko‚s journey and the hope his life holds for the future.
The Keiko’s Dream Tour has been a concert, arts, and marine mammal science program that utilizes the collaborative talents of musicians. Composers, visual artists, and professional scientists to create an extraordinary educational, visually inspiring, toe-tapping, audience involving event. For the schools and the community, this is one media-rich, interactive learning experience designed to connect the audience to the music, the art, and the science of becoming a voice for the planet, a voice for the ocean, and a continuing voice for Keiko as it’s representative.
The Oregonian, Katy Muldoon KEIKO’S DREAM: An Orca’s Tribute. Theresa Demarest came eye-to-eye with the famed whale and came away with a mission “Keiko, the orca formerly known as Willy in the 1993 Warner Bros. Film “Free Willy”, is not, of course, on stage–It just sounds as if he is when electric guitar riffs squeal in a remarkably realistic rendition of whale vocalizations. When the drums tap-tap-tap the clicks of an orca call. When piano notes whisper, crest and crash, like a killer whale breaching at sea. “Together, they form an instrumental jazz tune called ‘Keiko’s Dream.” Together, they illustrate Theresa Demarest’s awakening as a musician with a message — a singer-songwriter who yearns to be a voice for the oceans and, especially, a voice for Keiko.”
THE MEMORIAL EVENT:
The Free Willy Keiko Foundation & The Keiko’s Dream Tour will present a Keiko Memorial in the new year. For those who can assist and/or wish to participate with this event please email: [email protected] or call Joshua Records at 503-235-6072
The Music of the Keiko’s Dream Tour is comprised of the Award-Winning Jazz Blues Folk Fusion original compositions and storytelling by Theresa Demarest & Good Company, culminating with the KEIKO’S DREAM story and instrumental that gives Keiko his voice and increased presence at the event. The Musicians are selected from six members of the Theresa Demarest & Good Company roster because of their level of expertise as musicians, their reputation in the music community, their experience as educators, and their commitment to The Keiko’s Dream Tour. At this concert Theresa will be also release her newest CD titled Roll On Down as well as re-releasing her Keiko’s Dream CD. Proceeds from the Keiko’s Dream CD benefit The Free Willy Keiko Foundation.
- The Oregonian, Katy Muldoon Keiko’s Dream: An Orca’s Tribute ..”Theresa Demarest came eye-to-eye with the famed whale and came away with a mission “Keiko, the orca formerly known as Willy in the 1993 Warner Bros. Film “Free Willy”, is not, of course, on stage ….It just sounds as if he is when electric guitar riffs squeal in a remarkably realistic rendition of whale vocalizations. When the drums tap-tap-tap the clicks of an orca call. When piano notes whisper, crest and crash, like a killer whale breaching at sea. “Together, they form an instrumental jazz tune called ‘Keiko’s Dream.” Together, they illustrate Theresa Demarest’s awakening as a musician with a message — a singer-songwriter who yearns to be a voice for the oceans and, especially, a voice for Keiko.”
- The Portland Tribune, Janine Robben Music Twines Through Life of Second Chances. “Theresa Demarest has been a nun, wife, mother, half of a hippie musical duo, single parent, Critical Care RN, cancer survivor, motorcycle mama. But, most important, she’s a singer with a bluesy-folksy-jazzy voice that picks up the high and low notes of each of her experiences and reproduces them with perfect clarity – like a really great sound system.”
For more information on the history of Keiko’s Dream Tour visit keiko.com
GENERAL 1999 – 2000
WHO: THERESA DEMAREST & GOOD COMPANY
(Featuring Good Company band members: Grammy-Award Nominee Janice Scroggins, Myrtle Brown, Chata Addy, Tim Ellis, Carlton Jackson)
WHAT: CD RELEASE titled KEIKO’S DREAM, Neo-Folk/Jazz/Blue
- Joshua Records, LLC and Performing Singer Songwriter Theresa Demarest are very proud to announce the signing of an agreement between THE OCEAN FUTURES SOCIETY and Joshua Records, LLC for the release of a THERESA DEMAREST & GOOD COMPANY LIVE IN CONCERT CD to be titled KEIKO’S DREAM.
- PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE of this compact disk shall benefit the OCEAN FUTURES SOCIETY (the result of a merger between The FREE WILLY KEIKO FOUNDATION and the Jean Michel Cousteau Institute)
- The title song is an original instrumental piece dedicated to KEIKO that evokes the whale’s song and the ultimate dream of his release from captivity through the extra-ordinary guitar lead theme written by Theresa Demarest and eloquently performed by GOOD COMPANY band member Tim Ellis.
- THERESA DEMAREST & GOOD COMPANY performed and recorded the concert at The Portland Center for Performing Arts. Several songs on the upcoming CD have received local songwriting awards from the Portland Songwriters Association.
In addition to several of Theresa’s Award Winning Neo-Folk Jazz and Blues Songs, the CD will also include special performances from GOOD COMPANY members Myrtle Brown & Janice Scroggins in what Theresa calls “MYRTLE TIME” & “JANICE TIME”. During Live Concert performances Theresa often steps off the stage to allow the stellar members of GOOD COMPANY to take their turn in the spotlight and do whatever they feel like doing that night. Myrtle Brown along Janice Scroggins & Linda Hornbuckle performed a most outstanding version of a James & Jean Cheatham piece called “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On”. Janice Scroggins at a previous PCPA Concert with Theresa Demarest & Good Company performed and exquisite version of her original song titled: “She Arose”.
“HSUS Marine Biologist, Dr. Naomi Rose Joins Keiko’s Dream Concert”
Re: KEIKO’S DREAM TOUR CD RELEASE CONCERT Neo-folk/jazz/blues Award Winning Singer Songwriter Theresa Demarest & Good Company
WHEN: November 13th
WHERE: Aladdin Theater Portland Oregon
Music starts at 8pm
Tickets Through Ticketmaster $10 in advance $13 at the Door
PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE: The Keiko’s Dream CD shall benefit The Ocean Futures Society (the result of a merger between The Free Willy Keiko Foundation and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute)
MC for the Evening: JoAnn Bowman State House of Representatives, District 19
Nationally-recognized MARINE BIOLOGIST DR. NAOMI ROSE to speak at The KEIKO’S DREAM CD RELEASE CONCERT with Theresa Demarest & Good Company
BIO: Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D. is the marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). She coordinates all marine mammal programs for The Humane Society of the United States regarding the protection of marine mammals in the wild and in captive situations.
Dr. Rose was a member of a federally convened panel that negotiated revisions to the USDA standards for the care and maintenance of captive marine mammals. She is a member of a global coalition of activists and advocates working to protect captive whales and dolphins and to develop legitimate rehabilitation and reintroduction programs. She has participated in three dolphin release projects, involving bottlenose and tucuxi dolphins.
She has appeared on CBS This Morning, CBS Up to the Minute, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, A Current Affair, The Crusaders, the Discovery Channel, PBS’ Technopolitics, Frontline, and “Chicago Tonight” and “Straight Talk” with Derek McGinty, as well as various radio programs. She has been interviewed for Life Magazine, Time for Kids, Harper’s, and various other publications, as well as numerous international, national, and local newspapers.
Dr. Rose also works on several issues relating to the implementation and enforcement of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). She provides technical advice on The HSUS’ campaign to protect dolphins who are caught in nets in tuna fishing operations and heads the campaign to protect eastern Pacific gray whales, who are facing new pressures from whaling and habitat destruction. She attends the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee meetings and works with other non-governmental organizations on whaling and other marine mammal hunting issues around the world. She has testified at Congressional and state legislative hearings and has lectured for several universities and programs on marine mammal biology. She has published articles and reviews in numerous animal protection and welfare publications.
Ocean Futures website: http://www.oceanfutures.com
The Keiko’s Dream CD is available locally at Music Millennium, Borders Books & Music, Tower Records, Locals Only, Everyday Music & more!
Aquarium Hosts “Rhythms By The Bay” – Farewell to Keiko Concert
NEWPORT, Ore.-The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicating an evening of music and fun to Keiko during its annual “Rhythms By The Bay” Music Festival, Saturday, August 1, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Keiko was recently approved by the Icelandic government to return to his native home. The music festival will feature performances by two popular Oregon bands, the Aquarium’s stunning living exhibits and, of course, Keiko, the killer whale star of Free Willy. “Rhythms By The Bay” Music Festival is made possible through the generous support of KYTE/KNPT Radio, Oregon’s 12 KPTV and Bank of Newport.
“It’s a happy celebration of Keiko’s successful rehabilitation here at the Aquarium,” said Kim Spence, director of marketing. “We wish him well as he continues on his journey towards freedom.”
Well known in the Pacific Northwest, Theresa Demarest and Good Company will perform original songs that blend folk, blues and jazz.
A Keiko fan, Demarest has an instrumental cut on her latest CD, entitled Moon Rising that was inspired by the famous whale. Demarest explains that she first became interested in Keiko by watching his move from Mexico City to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. She visited Keiko for the first time shortly thereafter.
“I was amazed at how the people were so reverent and quiet,” said Demarest. “And how gracious people were to let small children come up front to see him. When I finally got my turn up front, Keiko swam right to me. Suddenly, I felt as if he was trying to communicate with me. He went to the other end of the pool and came back upside down, tongue wagging and looking at me-then came right back to the window, nudging it as if to say ‘well what do you think?'”
Demarest was so moved by the experience that she wrote a beautiful instrumental piece entitled “From The Inside Out,” incorporating whale songs into the composition.
Demarest’s back-up band, Good Company, features the who’s who of the Portland music scene, including Grammy-nominated jazz composer and pianist Janice Scroggins, renowned guitarist Tim Ellis, African percussionist Chata Addy and R & B vocalist Myrtle Brown.
And for those who prefer music from warmer waters, the acclaimed Balafon Marimba Ensemble, now entering its second decade, will play festive marimba music from Africa and the Caribbean. Balafon is a nine-member ensemble that has adapted traditional music from Africa using a variety of acoustic instruments. The high-energy music is mostly instrumental with congas, timbales, marimbas, gourds and steel drums. Micky Hart, formerly of The Grateful Dead, says of their music, “It’s a celebration . . . it’s happy, it’s rhythms dancing on rhythms. It’s the kind of music that springs from community.”
The open-air concert provides an intimate way to see Keiko and experience the Aquarium at night. Complimentary refreshments including fresh fruits and assorted cheeses will be provided. In addition to excellent music and over 8,000 animals, concert goers will have a chance to win two free TWA airline tickets, valued at $2,000, as part of “Keiko’s Flying and You Can Too” promotion (must be present to win). Music lovers will be offered free tastings of delicious Keiko Root Beer in the gift shop. For the kids, free Keiko kites will be on hand to color, assemble and keep as souvenirs. Ticket prices for “Rhythms By The Bay” are $12 for nonmember adults, $7 for member adults, $5 for nonmember children ages 4-13, $3 for member children ages 4-13 (under 4 are free). Tickets will be available at the door, and the public can make their reservations by calling (541) 867-3474, ext. 6362.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers the public and its members a variety of special events and programs all year long. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a private, nonprofit, educational facility that aims to educate a broad spectrum of the public in an enjoyable way about Oregon’s abundant natural resources, so they will treasure and cherish them now and in future generations. The $24 million facility will soon be at work on an expansion that will complete exhibits on freshwater streams, estuaries and upland forests of the central Oregon coast.
For More Information
Contact: William La Marche (541) 867-3474 ext. 5224
e-mail: [email protected]
Oregon Coast Aquarium
2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Road
Newport, Oregon 97365