Documentaries

Jill Robinson: To the Moon and Back

Jill Robinson: to the Moon and Back is the story of an extraordinary British woman who has worked tirelessly to end the inhumane act of bear bile farming in Asia. Across China and Vietnam over 11,000 Asiatic black bears – better known as moon bears – are trapped in tiny coffin like cages, suffering regular bile extractions for use in traditional medicine, cosmetics and wine. Deprived of all but the most basic necessities to keep them alive, the bears are forced to endure unimaginable pain and torment for up to 30 years. In 1993, British born Jill Robinson took a stand against this practice. Jill began the animal welfare charity Animals Asia and created two bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam spanning over 180,000 square metres. The 55 minute documentary is by British Director Andrew Telling. His motivation was that the cruelty of bear bile farming, and Jill’s work to end it, was still known to a relatively small number of people. Narrated by actor, Peter Egan, the film also includes contributions from Downton Abbey actress Lesley Nicol, Born Free founder, Virginia McKenna and Guns ‘n’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum. In China, where over 10,000 bears are still caged by an industry that is still legal, Animals Asia enjoys broad support, with polls suggesting that around 90% of Chinese oppose the cruelty.
Moves in recent years by the Chinese government to partner with organisations to provide synthetic equivalents suggest the demand is there for an alternative as well as the resolve to end it. In Vietnam, where caged bears numbers have dropped from 4,000 to around 1,000, Animals Asia Vietnam is lobbying for a roadmap to end the suffering for good and put in place a plan to rescue and rehabilitate the remaining bears. This roadmap appears more sound given the Vietnamese government’s recent announcements to end the practice. Animals Asia has rescued almost 600 bears from bile farms and continues to care for almost 400 in sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. Jill is a Minding Animals International Patron.

  • Film Director and Writer: Andrew Telling Language: English
  • Release Date: 6 March 2017 (UK) Filming Location: China
  • Global Release: 24 April, 2017
  • Trailer
  • Alternative trailer

Dogs of Democracy

Dogs of Democracy is a documentary about the stray dogs of Athens and the people who take care of them. Author and first-time filmmaker Mary Zournazi explores life on the streets through the eyes of the dogs and the experiences of Greek citizens. For Zournazi, Greece has become ‘the stray dog of Europe’: the dogs have become a symbol of hope for the people and for the anti-austerity movement. Filmed in Athens, the birthplace of democracy, the documentary offers a universal story about love and loyalty and what we might learn from animals. Coming from a Greek family living in Australia, Mary Zournazi made her first visit to Athens in 2014. She is the author of several books including  Hope - New philosophies for change and  Inventing Peace with the
German filmmaker Wim Wenders. She teaches in the sociology program at the University of New South Wales. Released: 2016

  • Released by Ronin Productions
  • Runtime: 58 minutes
  • Directed by: Mary Zournazi
  • Produced by: Mary Zournazi  and  Tom Zubrycki Language: English
  • Trailer

The Ghosts in Our Machine

With the exception of our companion animals and the wild and stray species within our urban environments, we experience animals daily only as the food, clothing, animal tested goods and entertainment we make of them. This moral dilemma is largely hidden from our view.  The Ghosts in Our Machine illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world. Through the heart and photographic lens of animal rights photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur (our Minding Animals Dinner Speaker), audiences become intimately familiar with a cast of nonhuman animals. From undercover investigations to joyful rescue missions, in North America and in Europe, each photograph and story is a window into global animal industries: Food, Fashion, Entertainment and Research. The film charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic that most of humankind strives hard to avoid. Are nonhuman animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights?

  • A film by Liz Marshall
  • Featuring Jo-Anne McArthur
  • Produced by Nina Beveridge and Liz Marshall
  • Produced in association with  Give Up The Ghost  by Radiohead Running Time: 92 and 60 minutes
  • Language: English
  • Released: 2013
  • Trailer

Call of the Baby Beluga

One day in Quebec, a baby beluga whale washes up on a gravel beach along the St Lawrence River. Unexpectedly, she is vigorously alive. A scientific team decides to take unusual steps to try to save her. The story of this baby whale leads us on a larger journey through the amazing world of the St Lawrence beluga whales and of the scientists who have worked for decades against long odds to help them. Like the story of the baby, it is a tough trip in a beautiful place, a true tale of drama, uncertainty, camaraderie, hard work,
achievement, perseverance, and love, brightened by a glimpse of hope.

  • Release date: January 28, 2016
  • Produced for Network CBC’s - The Nature of Things
  • Directed by Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisholm
  • Traihttp://www.callofthebabybeluga.com/ler

Saving Luna

A life does not have to be human to be great. This momentous film returns to Minding Animals for a fourth time! Warning: you will be moved!  Saving Luna is an award-winning documentary produced by Mountainside Films, and directed by Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisholm. It tells the true story of a lone baby orca named Luna, who was separated from his family and tried to befriend people on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The film is narrated as a personal story by codirector Michael Parfit. Another version of the film, narrated by film star Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, Green Lantern, and others), was released in selected theatres in the United States in late 2011.  Saving Luna is the true story of Luna, a baby male orca who gets separated from his family in a remote Canadian fjord. When the friendly orca seeks companionship from people, he becomes beloved and feared. People can't figure out what to do. To native people, he's a chief's spirit. To boaters, he's a goofy friend. To conservationists, he's a cause. To scientists, he's trouble. To officials, he's a danger. To the filmmakers, he's a lovable street kid whale. As conflict and tragedy stain the waters, Luna becomes a symbol of the world's wildest beauty: wonderful to know, hard to save.

  • Release Date: 5 December 2008 (Canada)
  • Telefilm Canada, through the Theatrical Documentary Program.
  • Produced by Mountainside Films in association with CBC Newsworld.
  • Trailer

What’s For Dinner

What's For Dinner? (2013) is a short documentary that provides a unique look into the rapidly growing consumption of meat in China and the increasing industrialisation of agriculture. Through interactions with people across Chinese society, the film examines the impacts this big shift in food production and consumption is having on sustainability, public health, food security, climate change, and animal welfare. It is the first film of its kind of be shot in China by an all Chinese crew. Filmed in Beijing, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces, and other locations. Directed by Jian Yi, produced by Douglas Xiao and Susannah Ludwig, executive produced by Brighter Green, and distributed in North America by Icarus Films (29 minutes, in Mandarin and various Chinese dialects with English subtitles).

  • Trailers for the film and more information is available on the dedicated film website

Six Years On

Six Years On (2016) revisits some of the places and people, including the film crew, featured in the 2009 documentary film  What's For Dinner? and poses questions about the future of China’s food production and consumption. What has and hasn’t changed in their lives and their awareness and understanding of animal agriculture? How do global trends, including in trade and production methods, affect China's pork and dairy industries and attitudes towards animal-based foods? Filmed in Beijing, Jiangxi province and other locations.
Directed and produced by Jian Yi, executive produced by Brighter Green. (31 minutes, in Mandarin and various Chinese dialects with English subtitles).

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story

Join us for a sneak peek of this fabulous film prior to its cinematic release in 2108. This ground breaking film reveals the truth surrounding Australia’s love-hate relationship with its beloved icon. The kangaroo image is proudly used by top companies, sports teams and as tourist souvenirs, yet when they hop across the vast continent some consider them to be pests to be shot and sold for profit.  Kangaroo unpacks a national paradigm where the relationship with kangaroos is examined.
Indievillage presents a Second Nature Film.

  • Produced and directed by Michael McIntyre and Kate McIntyre Clere, and starring Kanagoo Dundee, Tim Flannery, Terri Irwin, Peter Singer and Phil Wollen.
  • Run time 98 minutes
  • Web page

Sonic Sea

Sonic Sea is a moving and provocative 60 minute documentary created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), about the devastating impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. Sonic Sea immerses viewers in the symphony of natural sounds upon which whales, dolphins and other sea animals depend for survival - and introduces the jarring cacophony of human made noises that has exploded over the past century. Shipping, naval sonar and seismic exploration are interrupting whales’ and dolphins’ ability to understand and navigate their world, to find each other, and even to survive. The film is narrated by Rachel McAdams and features Sting, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Sylvia Earle and other ocean experts. Sonic Sea offers solutions and hope for a quieter ocean, and underscores that the ocean’s destiny is inextricably bound to our own. Sonic Sea has been played at festivals across the globe and was nominated in 2017 for three Emmy Awards winning Best Nature Documentary and Best Music and Sound.

Becoming

Becoming is a short film made in 2017 about the development of a salamander. The film will be released at Minding Animals as World Premier.

BECOMING is a short film about the miraculous genesis of animal life. In great microscopic detail, we see the 'making of' a salamander in its transparent egg from the first cell division to hatching. A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream. The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans. In the film, we can observe a universal process which normally is invisible: the very beginning of an animal's life.

The Art of Flying

The Art of Flying is a short film released in 2015 about starling murmurations. The film has been shown at more than 50 international film festivals.

The film is about the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. Every night the starlings gather at dusk to perform their stunning air show. Because of the relatively warm winter of 2014/2015, the starlings stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. This gave filmmaker Jan van Ijken the opportunity to film one of the most spectacular and amazing natural phenomena on earth.

Becoming Visible

Becoming Visible focuses on a recent marine seismic survey off the east coast of South Africa, which was granted extension into the whale migration season. There were a number of unusual deepwater mammal strandings during and after this survey. The film advances the theme of nature as political asset and the scripts of consumptive economics embedded in South Africa’s governmental approaches to environmental policy.
The film is 30 minutes long and is produced and directed by Janet Solomon of Vanishing Present Productions.

  • More details available from Janet at  www.janetsolomon.com or via email at  correspond@janetsolomon.com

Animal (De)liberation

The film Animal (De)liberation: Should the Consumption of Animal Products Be Banned? introduces the themes that are developed in the book with the same title (published by Ubiquity Press, London, 2016, pp. 244) in about 50 mins. The language used in the film is English, with subtitles in Dutch, English, French, German, and Spanish. It features ethical analysis of the main issues associated with the consumption of animal products.

Viewers are introduced to the book by images of Spooky, a feral dove owned by Jan Deckers (the author and film producer). Spooky has not been able to fly since someone fractured his wing in 2008. Whilst viewers might not have believed Jan if he had said that he was about to kill Spooky in order to eat him, Jan explains that he is in disbelief why so many people eat Spooky’s close relatives, for example domesticated chickens.

Through engaging with clips from the film  Slaughterhouse: The Task of Blood (Century Films), Jan then explains that this concern with killing animals may be universally shared amongst moral agents. Whilst the slaughterhouse workers who contributed to this film try to justify their actions in numerous ways, Jan broaches his concerns with the human treatment of animals by questioning their accounts. As some clips from the ‘Slaughterhouse’ film contain scenes of animals who are being killed, viewers are warned just before a clip that may upset viewers is shown.
Many people are not consistent in their attempts to justify the consumption of animal products. This inconsistency is documented further with reference to a research project (‘Deliberating the Environment’; funded by the Economics and Social Research Council) that Jan carried out with his colleagues at Newcastle University. Jan’s analysis questions the philosophical, religious, and nutritional justifications that are used.

The film sketches that some scientists are trying to address some traditional concerns with the consumption of animal products through the genetic engineering of animals and the creation of in-vitro flesh. In reflecting on these developments, Jan moves beyond classical theories in bioethics, arguing that human health, holistically conceived, is paramount. Jan’s new theory is qualified moral veganism. It is accompanied by a political goal: the vegan project, which strives for a qualified ban on the consumption of animal products.

 

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