Animals on Screen at VIFF, and Karen Dawn’s Annual Turkey Rescue

October 5, 2012
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VIFFThis week we start by featuring highlights from this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. There are so many films being featured this year which which portray the lives of other animals intimately, in ways that we have never seen before.

One thing that really struck me is that there seems to be so many filmmakers that are attempting to show the world from the animal´s perspective. Even well known directors who have never focused on animals before are starting to turn their lenses to our earth bound companions. Even though it´s highly doubtful that these filmmakers are vegan or even vegetarian, I found their films to be satisfying in their largely non-speciesist portrayals. For example, in the closing credits of Leviathan, the Latin names of all the fish and bird species portrayed in the film are listed right along with the names of the humans. I think so many films listed here draw back the curtain to reveal some disturbing truths and that have the power to help people widen their circle of compassion.

Here´s my top picks from VIFF 2012. Hurry to get tickets from the website. There´s still a few screenings left before the festival closes on October 12th. If you can’t make it this year, wider releases can be expected for most of them early next year.

LEVIATHAN, an immersive and haunting non-narrative document of the happenings on one monster of a fish trawling boat.

 

BESTIAIRE, a beautiful and thought-provoking mediation on captivity and the act of adoring the bodies of wild animals in artificial environments.

 

REVOLUTION, an inspiring and expansive new doc about the global environmental crisis from the maker of the highly acclaimed documentary, Sharkwater.

FACING ANIMALS, a short film which asks how we can revere some animals while treating others like machines.

MORE THAN HONEY, an outstanding documentary which explores colony collapse disorder and offers some hope for the future of bees… and humankind.

Honourable mention goes to a disturbing & emotionally raw drama feature called FRANCINE. It´s about a woman who is released from a long prison sentence and then seeks comfort in her connection with non-human animals.

 

Street Dogs of South Central

We continue our discussion of VIFF with a feature interview with Bill Marin who is in Vancouver promoting his new film. Bill is the director of Street Dogs of South Central which is a nature documentary filmed on the tough streets of Los Angeles. Animal Voices talks to Bill about his experiences following Elsie, Flo, Macy, Jack, & Jill. The harrowing and heartbreaking stories in the film work not only to bring faces to the estimated 30,000 homeless dogs in Los Angeles but also to shed light on the worldwide problem of stray dogs & cats.

Talking Turkey

Next we talk about the tradition of thanksgiving and the harvest feast. Since we’ve done such amazing shows about it in the past, we’d like to direct our supporters there. Both blog posts are worth a look for their lists of links to great thanksliving resources.

In both episodes, we cushion the hard truths of the turkey industry with great tips on cooking, vegan diplomacy, and heartwarming stories about the lucky few, the rescued turkeys.

Animal Voices Thanksgiving Episode 2011

Animal Voices Thanksgiving Episode 2010

Finally, we feature an interview with animal advocate and media maven, Karen Dawn. Karen is the author of the eye-opening, and yet approachable, book Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals. She also hosts a media watchdog site which focuses on animal issues called DawnWatch.

To bring media attention to the plight of turkeys, Karen started inviting turkeys to her dinner table for the holidays! She tells us about her campaign and about some very special turkeys that she’s had the pleasure of meeting over the years.

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