February 8, 7:00 pm
Miller Learning Center room 148
Filmmaker Mark Devries sets out to investigate the hidden secrets of factory farming, and ends up exploring an even bigger question -- why do humans consider themselves to be the most important species on the planet? And what are the ethical implications of such a belief system?
Along the way, he meets and interviews a broad range of people, including Peter Singer (whom the New Yorker has named "one of the most influential philosophers alive") and Richard Dawkins (one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the past century). From philosophers to biologists to animal advocates to farmers to environmentalists, Devries leaves no stone unturned in his quest.
Featuring discussions about animal cognition, emotions, moral behavior, and legal status, the film examines the rational basis behind the animal protection movement. Delivering a thought-provoking and entertaining look at this controversial subject, SPECIESISM is indeed an eye-opener. You'll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans.
Discussion will be led by Dr. Janet Frick, Associate Head of the UGA Department of Psychology. Dr. Frick has a professional and personal interest in the psychological relationship between humans and other animals and teaches a freshman seminar on this topic. She also teaches introductory and developmental psychology classes where she leads her students in an examination of the ethical issues surrounding our use of animals and the nature of intelligence in humans and other species. We'll also be joined by special guest Jon Camp, National Grassroots Director for The Humane League, who is one of the activists featured in the film.
February 15, 7:00 pm
Miller Learning Center room 171
BLACKFISH tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale who killed several people while in captivity. Director-Producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers, and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
Whales and dolphins in captivity have become increasingly controversial in recent years. The debate about whether these wide-ranging, deep-diving, extremely social, exceptionally intelligent animals should be kept in captivity has sent shockwaves through the marine mammal captivity industry and has led to numerous ongoing public relations, political and legal battles.
Blackfish challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. "For anyone who has ever questioned the humaneness of keeping wild animals in captivity and training them to perform tricks for food, this will be trenchant, often harrowing stuff," The Hollywood Reporter said in its Sundance review. "Perhaps even more so for those who have never considered the issue."
Discussion will be led by Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and marine mammal expert who is featured in the film. As a faculty member in Biopsychology at Emory University, Dr. Marino conducted research on dolphin and whale intelligence and brain evolution for over twenty years, and also studied the effects of captivity on the welfare of these and other large social mammals. Dr. Marino now serves as Executive Director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to using science and knowledge to promote animal advocacy causes. She is actively involved in advocating for the protection of dolphins and whales around the world, and her work was featured in the film "The Cove."
February 22, 7:00 pm
Miller Learning Center room 171
VIRUNGA is the Peabody Award-winning true story of the courageous rangers risking their lives to protect Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo — home to the world's last mountain gorillas — against war, poaching, and the threat of oil drilling.
From Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio, this winner of 54 international film awards is a powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary, with bribery, shoot-outs, smuggling, secret cameras, endangered baby gorillas, a law-breaking multinational corporation, and heroes willing to die for their cause. All set in one of the most biodiverse and breathtaking natural landscapes in the world, which happens to be Africa’s oldest national park.
“’Virunga’ is a wake-up call. Everyone who cares about the future of the planet must see this movie, and I would like to congratulate those responsible for its birth.” ~ Jane Goodall
"Urgent investigative report and unforgettable drama, 'Virunga' is a work of heart-wrenching tenderness and heart-stopping suspense." -- LA TIMES
Discussion will be led by Dr. Luis Candelario, Post-doc researcher and Teaching Associate of Natural Resources and Conservation in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Dr. Candelario’s primary area of interest seeks to determine ways to reduce human-animal conflicts. He teaches courses in Environmental Conservation, Protected Area Management and the Africa Wildlife Conservation Study Abroad.
February 29, 7:00 pm
Miller Learning Center room 148
SHARK GIRL is the inspiring story of Madison Stewart and her passionate fight to save the creature most of us fear. Follow 20-year-old conservationist Madison on her mission to protect sharks, a battle that began when she put her studies on hold and set out to save these incredible, misunderstood creatures by changing the way the world sees sharks.
Madison has been diving with sharks since the age of 12. But they're vanishing from existence, and because of their bad reputation, few people seem to care. Now Madison has made it her life’s mission to safeguard the creatures and the reefs she loves. Her unconventional journey as a conservationist, filmmaker and activist is the subject of the documentary SHARK GIRL. Armed with an underwater video camera and an adventurous spirit, she uses her camera as her weapon to fight the misconceptions surrounding these spectacular creatures.
Best of Festival, 2014 Blue Ocean Film Festival * Best Marine Film Award, 9th Green Screen International Wildlife Film Festival * Best Advocacy Film, New York WILD Film Festival * Wildlife Award, 12th San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival * Silver Screen Award - Environment & Ecology, 48th US International Film & Video Festival
Discussion will be led by Dr. John C. Maerz, Professor of Vertebrate Ecology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and also adjunct Professor in the Odum School of Ecology. Dr. Maerz is broadly interested in animal ecology, evolution and conservation management, and regularly teaches undergraduate courses in Animal Behavior. He is a recipient of UGA's prestigious Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.