Magazine article Variety

Creature Features Truly Welcome Here

Magazine article Variety

Creature Features Truly Welcome Here

Article excerpt

By IAIN BLAIR

In an ever-more crowded film festival landscape, the Animal Film Festival offers plenty of bark and bite in addition to heartwarming fare.

Now in its fourth year, the Northern California festival will screen heartwarming rescue tales and those devoted to legal rights for the creatures among us. It will also present cash awards for short films under a new partnership with the L.A.-based Tarshis Foundation against mistreatment of animals during the Feb. 25 festivities in Grass Valley, a community north of Sacramento.

"This is a big transitional year for us," says festival director Shelley Frost.

The organization began as a very local affair, and this year received some 230 film submissions from countries including Austria and India. The lineup includes a healthy mix of short and feature length films. Among them: Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's "Unlocking the Cage" Kyle Salazar's "The Vervet Forest" and "Love Unleashed" from Kacey Klonsky.

"Unlocking the Cage" follows animal-rights lawyer Steven Wise as he tries to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans via lawsuits that seek to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with legal protections. Doc "The Vervet Forest," meanwhile, tells the story of five orphaned infant monkeys rescued and cared for in a sanctuary in South Africa; "Love Unleashed" explores the deep emotional bond between humans and their senior dogs.

"After watching all the submissions, I began to see a similar theme in many of the films - that animals have the same inherent right to freedom that we do" Frost says.

Other selections include "Not Your Average Cat Video" "Called to Rescue" and "Hope the Blind Goat"

"If you love a good animal rescue story, you won't want to miss this year's selections - dogs, monkeys, bears, cats, farmed animals with many happy endings" Frost says. She adds that festgoers will have opportunities to speak with filmmakers to learn how they can contribute toward the welfare of animals.

AFF will also screen a looping series of specially selected films for children ages 5 and up, including Gail Evenari's "A Gift for Abuelo" "Dog Squadron" by Toby Morris, Ahbra Perry's "Second Chance on the Caprock," French filmmaker Luce Grosjean's "Singing Frogs" and "Anna," plus "Daroji" from Indian filmmaker Sugandhi Gadadhar.

Amber and Adam Tarshis of the Tarshis Foundation are supporting the grants for five short films lasting between 30 and 90 seconds that tackle animal suffering in modern farming and promoting a plant-based diet. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.