Film screening: changing hearts and minds

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Film screening: changing hearts and minds

The Eyes Wide Open Film Screening Series kicked off last Saturday with Earthlings.

In the next couple of months, Liberation BC will be screening two other films:  Fowl Play, a documentary about the egg industry; and Meat the Truth, a documentary about the environmental impact of meat consumption.

If the series proves to be successful and funding is available, we will continue to screen films throughout the year.  Though we’ve never screened films in the past, we’ve always found video to be extremely powerful in reaching out to the public.   In my experience, you can argue until you are blue in the face about animal suffering without any impact but the moment you show video footage of that suffering, it is immediately understood. This is why we always had a television with us when we did any outreach work on the streets.

150 people came to the Earthlings screening.  The room we rented at the public library had a capacity for 130 people but we managed to fit everyone into the room.

Earthlings, as those who have seen it will know, is not a particularly easy film to watch from beginning to end. It impressed and surprised me how many people did stick it out to the bitter end.  Only about 20 people left in the middle of the film. For the 130 who stayed, I admire their courage and commitment to the truth no matter how ugly it may be.

After the film finished we had an open Q&A session.  One woman wanted to know how we could get this film shown to meat-eaters as she assumed that everyone in the room was vegetarian like herself.  In response to this question, we did a quick survey of the room and discovered about half of the people there were not vegetarians.  We put a lot of effort into promoting this screening outside of the animal rights community and so I was pleased that so many of the general public did show up to the screening.

At the Q&A, some people wanted to know where to buy “humane meat”, some wanted to know what vegetarians ate and some wanted to justify omnivorism.  It was interesting to hear the debate focusing solely on eating animals when the film was clearly divided into four segments: pets, food,fashion, entertainment and science.

Could this be an indication that people are becoming aware and distrustful about the practices of the food industry?  Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see people questioning the food on their plates.

We handed out comment cards and received close to 80 of them back.  The majority of the people commented that they had not previously seen Earthlings and had learned something new from the film.

We are hoping these films will provide a platform for people to start talking and thinking about issues concerning animals.  Unlike advertising for KFC and McDonald’s, information about animal cruelty is not just going to jump out at people wherever they go.  But we can try to make the information more easily accessible by keeping these screenings free and at a central location.

In order to pay for the space, and not charge admissions, we rely on your donations.  If you think these screenings are valuable, please consider making a contribution to Liberation BC.

1 Comment


February 11, 2010 at 2:06 am

This is fantastic, Glenn! Thanks for posting about this event. I had been wondering how it went, as I’ve been out of the loop for the last few weeks. I think it’s amazing that you got 150 people to go. I wonder, if, on the comment cards, you asked people to indicate how they had found out about the film. It’s interesting that about half of the 130 were actually vegetarians (interesting that they would want to put themselves through the tough time of watching this film – or maybe they didn’t know what it would be like). I think it was a great idea to have the q&a afterwards and I appreciate reading about how this went. It opens a small window for me to see what the “general public” might think about viewing such a film. Well done.

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