News from Tribe of Heart, Producers of PEACEABLE KINGDOM and THE WITNESS

Sneak Peek!
The Journey Home

May take a few seconds to load. 3.5-min preview followed by 2-min message from filmmakers.

This preview requires the current version of FlashPlayer

Trouble playing the preview? Click here.

Help us bring the new Peaceable Kingdom to the finish line!

We hope you share our excitement about the potential of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home to bring the public dialogue on animal ethics to a whole new level.

This past year of shooting and editing footage, which will contribute more than 75% new and updated material to the project, has depleted our financial reserves. Your donation at this time will have more impact than ever before, and will help ensure a timely release of this groundbreaking film.

Thank you for all you do
to create a more
peaceful world, and
for being such an important part of the Tribe of Heart community!

The Journey Home
Two filmmakers' notes on the road to a more Peaceable Kingdom

Dear Friends,

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

Music to our Ears

If you've watched our Sneak Peek Preview in this newsletter, or you've listened to James reading his essay Truthiness is Stranger than Fiction, or you've seen our preview for The Witness, you will have heard the transcendent music of Kevin Bartlett. We are delighted to be working with Kevin on the music for Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, which features many selections from his upcoming CD, GLOW IN THE DARK, as well as a few from his earlier release, NEAR LIFE EXPERIENCE.

Hold Your Calendars 

We are aiming to complete Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home by this Fall. However, depending on availability of funding, and due to the nature of the creative process itself, we are not yet at the point of committing to a specific release date. When we are closer to completion, we will publish a timeline and release plan that will allow enough advance notice so that our community can start planning screenings. Thank you for your patience!


A Call for Critical Thinking
Three New Essays by Tribe of Heart Co-Founder James LaVeck

Recently, Satya Magazine has explored the growing interest in "humane", "organic", and "free-range" meat, dairy and eggs, and what that means for the animals, animal advocacy, and the public's consumption of animal products. James LaVeck, producer of Peaceable Kingdom, wrote the following essays to help encourage a democratic and transparent public dialogue on these critical issues.



MP3 Audio File

Podcast RSS

Read Essay     

Download for printing

Truthiness is Stranger than Fiction
The hidden cost of selling the public on 'cage-free' eggs

So whether they are "in bed" or not, at least one major animal organization and several large-scale animal exploiters appear to be engaged in a significant collaborative relationship, to such a degree that egg producers were said to be "salivating" and "expecting a business bonanza."



Read Essay

Download for printing (editorial and essay)

For background, Satya's

Also Recommended:

Patty Mark

Colleen Patrick-Goodreau

Other articles in this issue

Compassion for Sale?
Doublethink meets doublefeel as 'happy meat' comes of age

It is happening now, before our eyes. The moral value of the word "compassion," infused for decades with the altruism and integrity of countless grassroots activists and educators, is in the process of being converted into cash.

Compassion will now mean killing more softly, an exciting new brand associated with products delivered with the promise of a precisely regulated and approved amount of suffering.



Read Essay

Download for printing (editorial and essay)

For background, Satya's

Also Recommended:

Michelle Alley-Grubb

Cayce Mell and Jason Tracy

Other articles in this issue

Invasion of the Movement Snatchers
A social justice cause falls prey to the doctrine of 'necessary evil'

As animal organizations and the meat industry co-mingle their affairs in an increasingly bewildering tangle, their language, values, interests and goals are becoming indistinguishable, creating a kind of “animal welfare industrial complex” in which the “players” -- dominant figures of the industry and the corporate animal movement -- will regularly meet in private to negotiate the price of public concern for animal suffering.”



Recent press on "happy meat"

New York Times: Meat Labels Hope to Lure the Sensitive Carnivore

BBC News: Some Sausages Are More Equal Than Others

The Independent: The Ethics of Eating: The Appeal of Veal

Colorado Springs Gazette (reprinted in Miami Herald and Chicago Tribune): Are You For Veal? Free-Range Meat Could Win Over Critics

The Boston Phoenix: The Veal Deal: Call Off the PC Police, There's a New Meat in Town

ABC News (Bay Area): Grass-Fed Animals in Demand: Happy Animals Are Healthier Smaller stores use animal-friendly labels to lure shoppers

The Guardian (United Kingdom): Film Shows Neglect of Pigs, Turkeys and Ducks Sold Under Ethical Label

Recommended Reading:

Doing Democracy
by Bill Moyer

Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century
by Mark Dowie

Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies Damn Lies, and the Public Relations Industry
by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton

“A principle is a principle, and in no case can it be watered down because of our incapacity to live it in practice. We have to strive to achieve it, and the striving should be conscious, deliberate and hard.”


Help Eddie find homes for homeless animals  

Many of you are familiar with Eddie Lama, the subject of Tribe of Heart's first documentary THE WITNESS. Eddie's inspiring transformation began with the unexpected affection of a cat, which led him to rescuing abandoned animals from his construction sites and caring for them in his Brooklyn office. Eventually Eddie founded Oasis Sanctuary in upstate New York. Now, after many years of helping animals in need, Eddie needs your help. Learn more

Tribe of Heart is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization offering a unique fusion of artistic filmmaking, public education and programs for citizen engagement.