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‘When Pigs Escape’: A beautiful story of animal resistance and human solidarity

When Pigs Escape recounts the campaign to save Matilda and her piglets, and focuses on their lives after being rescued by Brinsley Animal Rescue and The Surge Sanctuary. The documentary records the events that followed their rescue.

JOSEP MORENO: In June 2021, a pig escaped from a farm in Nottinghamshire and gave birth to ten piglets shortly after in the woods. After a dog walker spotted them, and thanks to a great collaborative effort by Brinsley Animal Rescue, The Surge Sanctuary, animal rights activists, and members of the public, the pig family was eventually saved.

When Pigs Escape recounts the campaign to save Matilda and her piglets, and focuses on their lives after being rescued by Brinsley Animal Rescue and The Surge Sanctuary. The documentary records the events that followed their rescue, giving centre stage to Matilda and her piglets through an observational approach and minimalistic narration.

Your donation to this crowdfund will allow us to pay for the production costs, deliver a documentary’s promotional campaign, and release the complete film in summer 2022. We will also organise charitable screenings where all raised funds will go to the sanctuaries involved in Matilda’s rescue. SOURCE…

An Interview With Filmmaker Josep Moreno:

Sentient Media spoke with Moreno about his experience making the documentary and what he hopes it will achieve…

Markos Hasiotis: Congratulations on your new film. What motivated you to make it?

Jusep Moreno: My main motivation to make this documentary was to acknowledge Matilda’s act of resistance and to elevate her story after she escaped from a farm to give birth to her piglets. I had read a few books on the topic of animal resistance, specifically Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era, by Sarat Colling and Fear of the Animal Planet, by Jason Hribal, which gave me a new perspective on animal agency and the efforts nonhuman animals make to resist their exploitation. When I heard about Matilda’s story, I thought: this is one of those acts of resistance. It was so local to me that I told myself I had to document it if no one else was going to.

Markos: Matilda’s story made such waves around the world, why do you think it resonated so much with people?

Jusep: This is a fascinating question that brings many thoughts to mind. I would say it was the result of many aspects. One of the most important was probably the fact that it was a story about an individual pig—who was also named shortly after. I also think Matilda’s story resonated with so many because people could see her—and her piglets. If the story had only been covered in writing and without images or video, I think people’s reactions wouldn’t have been the same. Seeing them helped the general public empathize with the pig family’s plight…

Markos: Wow, you did well to overcome such intense challenges! Could you talk to us about your personal views on the farming and eating of animals? Did making this film affect those views?

Jusep: I see the use we humans make of other animals as a moral atrocity, although I have to say I haven’t always felt this way. For many years in my life, I never questioned the ethics of using other animals and my views were just a result of a society that supports and normalizes their exploitation.

Making the documentary didn’t affect those views because I had thought about my relationship with other animals years ago and changed accordingly back then. Something that did transform my views about the farming and eating of animals was when I started volunteering at my local sanctuary, Brinsley Animal Rescue. Spending time with the same animals every week helped me appreciate their unique personalities and build relationships with them…

Markos: What are your hopes for this film, what would you like it to accomplish?

Jusep: I didn’t start the film with a goal at the back of my head other than to document Matilda’s story and her life after being rescued with her family. At that point, all I wanted to do was to create a record that would bring this story to more people.

Once I was in the editing stage, I had two general hopes. One is that the film will educate the general public about pigs in a different way from how we are used to. The documentary doesn’t provide facts about pigs or detailed narrations of what you are seeing. Instead, the audience is invited to discover pigs by themselves and to get to know them on their own terms. Personally, I think the problem is not that we don’t know certain things about pigs, but that we rarely have the opportunity to see them or interact with them in a context where they are not being exploited. The documentary is about showing pigs living in this scenario where they can coexist with humans respectfully.

The second hope I have for the documentary is that it will be useful as a self-care resource to avoid burnout in animal advocacy circles, and for animal advocates who do not have easy access to interacting with pigs in animal sanctuaries. The documentary is an inspiring and uplifting story that shows the kind of things we can achieve when we all come together. Maybe I am too optimistic, but watching films about other animals has helped me reassert my commitment to animal liberation, and it is my hope that this documentary will have a similar effect on others, and that it will encourage them to take action, too. SOURCE…


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