Eighteen months ago, we undertook the revision of Peaceable Kingdom. At the time, our intent was to replace one major story-line and to address questions about "humane" agriculture, and also to develop some new educational resources for the DVD. However, as we went out in the field and began shooting, the new film subjects we encountered and the stories they had to tell were so compelling, we realized we were in a position to take our exploration of the core moral issues, as well as our portrayal of the beauty and individuality of the animals, to an entirely new level. Energized by this unexpected opportunity, we updated our equipment and shooting skills, and went into full-production mode for the duration of 2006.
No film exists in a vacuum -- especially an activist documentary. At the very same time we were immersed in our production work, we were hearing from community educators, outreach staff at small sanctuaries, and those holding screenings of Tribe of Heart films how the farmed animal issues explored in Peaceable Kingdom were rapidly being reframed -- not only by the animal exploiting industries -- but also by some prominent institutional animal advocacy organizations.
A disheartening trend was emerging, animal groups collaborating with the animal industry on the development and promotion of "new and improved" animal products. Along with this came a growing willingness to co-mingle the language and identity of industry and advocacy, to the point where the public seemed to be losing the ability to tell the difference between the two.
With Peaceable Kingdom, this new trend meant that the very same film that was quite effective in inspiring a complete paradigm shift in 2004, in the present climate, might just as likely motivate the purchase of "happy meat" instead. And indeed, audience feedback during post-film discussions reflected such a shift.
This greatly concerned us, and having been encouraged by a number of humane educators and journalists who shared our sense that something very significant was happening outside the awareness of many animal advocates, we decided to break with a long-standing policy of refraining from public comment on animal movement affairs.
We then researched and wrote the three essays for Satya Magazine highlighted in this newsletter, both to clarify our own thoughts, and to help encourage a much needed public dialog on these issues so critical to the future of animal advocacy. As you can well imagine, this experience played a significant role in shaping the themes and scope of changes we are now weaving into the new version of Peaceable Kingdom.
As a result, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home will place less of an emphasis on exposing the abuses of industrialized farming and take a closer look at the paradox of "humane" farming: our society's willingness to morally examine the manner and methods we use to exploit farmed animals, while at the same time holding our right to kill those very same animals beyond question.
By inspiring personal responsibility and a new level of critical thought, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home will invite its audience to join the subjects of the film on a life-affirming adventure of awakening and transformation.
With gratitude for your encouragement and support,
Co-Founders, Tribe of Heart