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- This is a demo for the upcoming documentary short, My Urban Hen Sanctuary, directed by Robert Grillo. Camera by Todd Lillethum. Music by Pat Metheny and Charlie Hayden.
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?
My Backyard Hen Sanctuary explores all of these important questions. The answers will surely surprise you!
Robert began this journey with baby chicks, knowing nothing about chickens or caring for chickens. Two years into this experience has left him with a profound realization: In the safety and tranquility of a sanctuary, chickens feel free to express their true nature and react like dogs and cats, with a strong desire and intention to become our companions . In fact, Robert finds his relationship with them even richer and more complex than what one might expect with other companions.
His closest animal companion, Doris, has stolen his heart, taught him volumes about birds and awakened him to the incredible bond that is possible between bird and hu- man. With humor and depth, My Backyard Hen Sanctuary portrays the antics of Doris, Danita, Sweet Pea and Sandye — each individuals with totally distinct personalities, each with their own unique way of relating to Robert (their human parent) and each with their own unique story of how they became part of my family.
This film shatters the stereotypes of chickens with ease and forges a new under- standing of their rich and complex lives. These stereotypes, which have justified their use as a food commodity, have destroyed their identity. It's time to rediscover that identity. Tell their compelling story. Tell the truth about who they really are. And celebrate their incredible zest and love for life!