PROJECT NIM tells the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark experiment. Taken out of his natural environment from birth, Nim was raised and nurtured like a human child to discover if he could learn to communicate with sign language.
Following Nim's extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, PROJECT NIM is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about his true nature — and indeed our own — is comic, revealing, and profoundly unsettling.
Discussion will be led by Janet Frick, Ph.D., Associate Head of the UGA Department of Psychology and Director of the UGA Infant Research Lab. 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.
2011, 93 minutes. film website
WILD HORSES AND RENEGADES examines the plight of America’s wild horses and the rapidly deteriorating condition of our wild and beautiful Public Lands in the majestic American West.
Exposing the removal and slaughter of wild horses, the film reveals how the great symbol of the American West is being purposefully driven to extinction by government policies that clear the way for oil, mining, and livestock industries. Capturing the untamed natural beauty of the last few remaining wild horses, the film documents the struggle of an animal that has long symbolized freedom, individualism and unbridled passion in America.
Discussion will be led by Sarah Wright, Ph.D., associate professor in the UGA Department of Philosophy. Dr. Wright specializes in epistemology (the study of knowledge) and also teaches and publishes in the field of environmental ethics. She is a native of Colorado, where the movie WILD HORSES AND RENEGADES was filmed.
2012, 74 minutes. film website
THE WHALE tells the true story of Luna, a young, wild killer whale who tries to make friends with human beings after he gets separated from his family on the rugged west coast of British Columbia.
Left alone in the vast ocean, Luna became a local celebrity on Vancouver Island when he began befriending people near Nootka Sound. But while some locals -- such as a cook, a fisheries officer, and a local grandmother -- became something of a surrogate family for Luna, others argued that human contact could do irreparable damage to the orca.
As surprising as a visitor from another planet, Luna's determination to make contact leads to laughter, amazement, conflict, and unexpected consequences. Ultimately, the story of Luna is about friendship and respect between species.
Discussion will be led by Sara Beresford, Director of the EcoFocus Film Festival (an initiative of UGA's Odum School of Ecology). She earned a master’s degree in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development from UGA. Previously, she has also served as program coordinator for a United Nations-funded project to bring scientists from the developing world into the global dialogue on climate change.
2011, 84 minutes. film website
FOWL PLAY takes viewers on an unforgettable journey behind the closed doors of the country's largest egg production facilities and graphically reveals the plight of egg-laying hens, condemned to lives crowded inside file-drawer-sized cages. Mercy for Animals members infiltrate a series of factory farms across the U.S., recording video footage and rescuing sick and injured chickens from them as they go.
Featuring interviews with animal rescuers, undercover investigators, veterinarians, and animal behaviorists, FOWL PLAY brings us inspiring stories of the kind and courageous people fighting to protect the modern day hen -- perhaps the most abused and exploited animal on earth.
Discussion will be led by Lorena Mucke. Ms. Mucke works for the Ethical Choices Program, a non-profit organization, as a Humane Educator, giving over 100 presentations every semester at high schools and colleges, raising awareness on the issues surrounding animal agriculture. She earned an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Texas A&M University and a graduate degree in Ecology and Sustainable Development from Instituto Univesitario Patricios in Argentina.
2009, 50 minutes. film website