Ground breaking documentary, The Animal Condition, is set for a national cinema release this August and September via new Cinema-On-Demand platform Fan-Force.com. The thought provoking documentary charts the journey of animal welfare in Australia from a fringe issue to a nationwide debate.
After stumbling upon activist videos of suffering farm animals online one night, four young friends take an investigative road trip around Australia. Unafraid to ask questions, the filmmaker’s views on the subject change as they speak to all sides of the debate, from activists and welfare agencies to government and industry. It soon becomes clear that the animal condition spreads far beyond the farm gate.
Director Michael Dahlstrom says “This isn’t just another animal welfare film, it’s a documentary about human and animal suffering; the dying farmer unable to keep his operating costs low enough to break even, the activist jailed for refusing to pay trespassing fines and the animals caught in the middle“.
Three and a half years in the making, and with over 400 hours of footage shot, the documentary features interviews with industry heavyweights (Australian Pork Limited and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry), federal politicians (the then Minister for Agriculture Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig and the Hon. Bob Katter MP), animal welfare advocates (Lyn White and Peter Singer), Indigenous Australians, immigrant factory workers, philosophers and scientists.
The documentary screens at a time when conversation between the animal industry and welfare groups continue on a national level. The debate has recently been reignited when in late 2014 the Minister for Agriculture announced plans to make filming in farms without permission illegal. These have been dubbed the ‘ag-gag’ laws and if passed, members of the public who film and report animal cruelty could face prosecution. On the flip side, farmers and those within the animal industry often feel harassed by rights groups and misrepresented in the media.
Following sold out sessions at the Melbourne International Film Festival, CinefestOz and Portland Film Festival in the U.S., current screenings already running on Fan-Force include:
- Hobart: Wed 17 Aug – The State Cinema Hobart
- Canberra: Mon 22 Aug – Dendy Cinemas Canberra
- Brisbane: Wed 24 Aug – Event Cinemas Myer Centre
- Sydney: Wed 14 Sept – Event Cinema George St
- Darwin: Wed 28 Sept – Deckchair Cinema
Fan-Force is a revolutionary way to enjoy cinema. Fans and community groups can nominate which film they want to see and in which cinema. If enough tickets are sold, then the screening goes ahead.
If there isn’t a screening in your local area and you think you’d be able to rally enough troops to put one on, log into Fan-Force.com to learn more about hosting your own screening of The Animal Condition.