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Q&A: 'Keiko' Relocation Was A Success Story, Filmmaker Says

Keiko was a success story, or so says the creator of a new documentary.

Geoff Norcross / OPB

The star of the movie “Free Willy” — and arguably the most famous killer whale in history — was successfully rehabilitated in Oregon after spending most of his life in captivity at an amusement park in Mexico.

“If you ask the average person, ‘What happened to Keiko after he left Oregon?’ ‘Oh, he went to Iceland and died and it was a miserable failure of a project.’ And that just wasn’t true,” says Portland filmmaker Theresa Demarest.

Her new film is called “Keiko, The Untold Story.”

Keiko was moved from the Newport Aquarium to a bay in Iceland in 1998. Demarest says when that happened, Keiko thrived.

The Portland premiere is tonight at the Northwest Film Center.

Click the audio icon above to hear our complete Q&A.

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