Live and Let Live is a feature documentary by German director Marc Pierschel that examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism, and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that motivate people to go vegan. The film follows the lives of six people who tell their stories on becoming vegan and also includes interviews from some of the best-known ethicists and sociologists, including Melanie Joy, Gary Francione, Peter Singer and Tom Regan.
I’ve been following the work of photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur for some time now, and we’ve featured her work in our photo galleries as well. Jo-Anne’s work is so subtle and profound at the same time, qualities that reflect in her personality as well. When I learned that filmmaker Liz Marshal just finished the final cut of her new film about McArthur called The Ghosts in Our Machine, I felt the excitement brew up inside of me.
My Backyard Hen Sanctuary is a film about how Robert Grillo came to adopt and raise four beautiful hens and the unexpectedly delightful companionship that has blossomed. Could it be that all chickens, including the billions bred into the farming system every year, would offer the same delightful companionship given the same opportunity? Have we been dead wrong all this time about what we’ve have been taught — that chickens are stupid, dirty and mean? How have these birds evolved as domesticated animals and what is the potential for a human-chicken bond?
Paging through this year’s line up films at the Chicago International Film Festival, a short film called Tastes Like Chicken? caught my eye. So far, details are scarce on this experimental, 15-minute work by Brazilian filmmaker Quico Meirelles. According to IMDB Tastes Like Chicken? was released in 2011 and depicts the story of a chicken In a factory farm who has a vision: she becomes aware of the wheels that rule her life and her destiny. Even cloistered among millions of chickens who don’t share her anguish, she believes a different life is possible.
Why do we look away from millions of animals in industrial farms while pampering and humanizing others? Such is the fundamental question posed by a fascinating new documentary film by Dutch photographer and filmmaker, Jan Van Ijken. “The film takes the perspective of the animal, but actually is about man who in his inscrutable wisdom labels one animal as a cheap piece of meat, and the other as an interesting research object, beauty ideal, pest, pathetic creature or partner/mate/child. In Facing Animals, I give the hidden animals in the industrial farms a face. I invite the viewer to think about the value of an animal,” writes Van Ijken.
Food Forward unfortunately falls into the same predictable speciesist trap as most all of the locavore, sustainable types do. They would have us believe that it’s still okay to use animals in barbaric ways as mankind has done for 10,000 years now as long as we do it on a localized, kindler and gentler scale—as long as we take the power away from the corporate giants who currently do it. It quickly becomes clear that this supposedly more evolved perspective on agriculture leaves the moral question of our relationship with animals mostly unexamined and left to the tyranny of history.
Animals are hidden within the shadows of our highly mechanized world. That is the message of a new documentary project by Liz Marshall featuring the life and work of animal rights photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, a woman who has equal parts bravery and empathy for non-human animals trapped inside of a cold and mechanized world which reduces their identity down to mere commodities.
Four years ago, seasoned campaigner, eco-warrior and mother of three Tracy Worcester set out to discover who was paying the true price for the cheap imported pork for sale in Britain’s supermarkets. Documenting her investigation into intensive pig farming and the damaging impact it is having on the quality of our food, the environment, and the health and welfare of agricultural communities, True Stories: Pig Business follows the Marchioness as she infiltrates farms in Europe and America and confronts the biggest firm in the pig business.
A riveting story of transformation and healing, PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME explores the awakening conscience of several people who grew up in traditional farming culture and who have now come to question the basic premises of their inherited way of life. Presented through a woven tapestry of memories, music, and breathtaking accounts of life-altering moments, the film provides insight into the farmers’ sometimes amazing connections with the animals under their care, while also making clear the complex web of social, psychological and economic forces that have led them to their present dilemma. Interwoven with the farmers’ stories is the dramatic animal rescue work of a newly-trained humane police officer whose sense of justice puts her at odds with the law she is charged to uphold.
Got the facts on Milk? (also known as “The Milk Documentary” is an entertaining, award winning feature documentary that dares to question the conventional wisdom of the much publicized health benefits of milk and dairy products. Addressing myth, truth and all in-between, the film is a humorous yet shocking exposition that provokes serious thought about this everyday staple. www.MilkDocumentary.com
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.