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How to Fix a Drug Scandal

Rarely have I been more frustrated by a documentary production’s formal choices and how they interfere with the engaging content of the story they’re trying…

Vivarium

Vivarium isn’t a fun watch, and not just because it’s generally claustrophobic and insistently bleak.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Great Movie Archives

Animal cruelty on 'Brokeback Mt.'?

From: Beth Brown, Burlingame, CA

I was appalled at the animal suffering and death in the Academy Award nominated film, "Brokeback Mountain." I waited for the American Humane Association's disclaimer at the bottom of the film credits and didn't find it. I later discovered that because the movie was filmed in Canada, the AHA didn't have oversight. Evidently, the filmmakers felt no compunction to reassure the public that no animals were harmed or killed in the making of the film despite scenes of elk hunting, rodeo activity, a gutted sheep, a dead coyote hanging on a fence, and rough handling of sheep.

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I am deeply troubled by the ongoing trend to film movies in Canada to save money and escape AHA oversight. There is great potential for even more animal abuse and exploitation at the hands of unsympathetic filmmakers who are concerned only with the bottom line. Why isn't it considered a badge of honor for a film to receive the AHA disclaimer?

How can filmmakers justify paying stars millions of dollars while refusing to pay the humble AHA employees who monitor the set a few measly dollars to ensure the integrity of the production? I feel very strongly that non-SAG affiliated movies must be required to have AHA oversight and the "no animals were harmed" disclaimer -- just as SAG-affiliated movies are. In addition, a film that hasn't complied with these regulations should not be eligible for an Academy Award.

NOTE: the AHA film rating web site (ahafilm.com) states: “Since American Humane was not present to witness the extensive animal action firsthand, and the production company did not provide a pre-release screening, we rated [“Brokeback Mountain”] ‘Not Monitored.’”

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