Speciesism: The Movie a Gritty Documentary Challenging the Way We Look at Animals & Each Other. This movie confronts contemporary agriculture, daring—in the face of cultural complacency and industry intimidation—to question its standard practices. With undercover investigations occupying headlines almost monthly, it’s no mystery modern farms are struggling to keep secrets. Director Mark Devries takes his hunch about the business several steps further, following a gut feeling through to its logical conclusion. The first-time filmmaker tables law school and instead hits the road, unexpectedly uncovering answers to uncomfortable questions about privilege and sentience.
Speciesism invites viewers to tag along on Devries’ funny-meets-frightening ride. Join him as he explores the elephant-in-the-room from all angles, literally. From flying and filming high above North Carolina’s toxic manure “lagoons,” to rooting around behind bushes, trying to get a better look at things no one’s supposed to see, Devries’ debut documentary elicits laughs whilst simultaneously shedding critical light on what’s happening right here at home on American soil.
Watch the Trailer:
In 1975, Australian author Peter Singer argued in Animal Liberation that no justifications exist for considering humans more important than members of other species. This controversial tome gradually gained traction and, today, a rapidly increasing number of prominent individuals and political activists are adopting its conclusions. They’ve dubbed the assumption of human superiority “speciesism” and, as a result, advocates rank “animal factories” among the greatest evils in our history. Speciesism brings audiences face-to-face with the leaders of this ever-evolving movement and, for the first time ever on film, fully examines the purpose of what they are setting out to do.
Director Mark Devries answered these questions for me:
Why did you create this film?
It began quite innocently: I just came across some PETA demonstrations and decided to find out what motivated them. At that point, I could not have imagined that within a few months I would find myself trespassing on factory farms across the United States, or interviewing some of the world's most influential thinkers. And I certainly had no idea that my own view of the world would change so dramatically by the time I completed filming.
What do you hope to achieve with its release?
As I made the film, my perception changed from viewing the treatment of animals as a question of whether we choose to act on kind sentiments, to a politically serious issue comparable with the other important issues of our time - from poverty to AIDS to domestic violence. The movie is a record of everything that led to this transformation, and brings the audience along on my entire journey. I hope this will allow many people around the world to rethink their own beliefs about animals.
What the response has been like so far?
The response from audiences has been incredible. I am absolutely thrilled. People often walk up to me after screenings that I attend, and tell me that the movie completely changed their thinking about animals. People have even contacted me months later to say that the movie changed their lives.
Why is this documentary important for activists and the general public?
A lot of animal advocates tell me that the movie affected their friends and family when nothing else had succeeded in doing so for many years. So, I think that above all, this will be a valuable educational tool for activists to show friends, family, colleagues, and the public (including with screenings on college campuses and elsewhere). In addition, though, activists have reported that watching the film has been personally uplifting and inspiring.
- Published: 09 December 2013
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