3rd in series about eight remarkable women spearheading the battle for Animal Rights in their varied fields of science, art, law and politics, to celebrate the forthcoming International Animal Rights Day on Dec 10th
Today The Artist
“The profound disconnect between our dominant urban world and the natural world, including nonhuman animals, is a chasm that must be rectified…”
Elizabeth Marshall, Canadian social justice, environment and animal activist – filmmaker.
For Liz Marshall it was clear from the word go how driven her life would be. She always wanted to change the world. A letter she wrote age 8:
Dear Prime Minister,
I am 8 years old and in Grade A. My name is Elizabeth Marshall, and I am writing to tell you that I think that are government should get more for the poor pople. Than buying guns and starting wars. because guns kill people. and you should help poor people because I think it is not right because look at all these nice people and we don’t want to kill them. and Please tell the other governments to stop the wars so it can be Peace in the world. Please do it. From Elizabeth.
Spellings and punctuation all her own -not bad for an 8 year old – and all finished off with a cute smiley face drawing and a speech bubble saying “hi there”.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau replied: Dear Elizabeth, It’s nice to hear from you again [bold mine]. There was clearly no stopping this young lady.
Liz on life during and after film school:
“I began my career in the 1990s, focusing my lens and my passion on human stories which led to an array of life changing projects shot around the globe in war torn, developing and developed countries. In the mid 2000s, I became very interested in environmental issues, but also in long form storytelling, which led me to make my two feature length documentaries: ‘Water On The Table’
“My partner in life is a long time animal rights activist, and she inspired me to pay closer attention to animal issues. I have been an animal advocate for as long as I can remember, but I really credit Lorena as one who tapped me on the shoulder, and urged me to look closely, as a filmmaker, at the animal question.”
Ghosts in Our Machine follows activist and photojournalist JoAnne McArthur as she goes behind the scenes to document what is hidden from public view, the enslavement of “animals en mass for food, fashion, research, and entertainment,” and the reality of their suffering. They are the invisible ghosts in the machine of human society.
But telling the story is only half the battle. A film can only change the world for animals if it gets massive exposure.
And massive exposure “Ghosts” has had. Even by the start of 2015, as well as being aired on Canadian television, the film had been screened in 1,816 cities, 92 countries, and 6 continents. It’s won 14 international awards and nominations, and notched up 140 reviews and interviews in countries around the world.
A key ingredient of its success is Liz’s gentle approach. Yes, it does include scenes that are hard to watch, but they are balanced with beautiful individual stories: abused sow Julia and her 8 piglets; worn out Fanny the cow and her new calf; and Abbey the lab beagle, all rescued and now in sanctuaries, enjoying the safe, contented lives to which they have a right.
To change the way people see the world, you want them to keep looking, not turn away. So Liz engages the viewer by revealing different animals – animals normally only thought of as commodities – as real and individual persons.
How very effective the film is as a tool for animal advocacy can be gauged by the support it’s received from Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, PETA, NEAVS, Compassion Over Killing, and yes, Lori Marino’s Kimmela Center. All these advocacy organisations immediately saw its potential as a force for change.
Liz and JoAnne know they’re making a difference with their incredible work. Both say they regularly hear from people who’ve been deeply moved by “Ghosts” and have changed their way of life as a result.
But Liz isn’t resting on her laurels. She recently released the official trailer for her next documentary MEAT THE FUTURE. In it Liz follows the work of Dr Uma Valeti and his company Memphis Meats, developing cultured meat – healthier than the flesh of farmed animals, a more viable option for feeding the rapidly increasing global population, and environmentally-friendly. Above all, it has the potential to save billions of animals from a life of suffering, pain, fear, and death in the slaughterhouse.
Liz Marshall, the remarkable woman passionately changing the world one film at a time.
Add your name to the Declaration of Animal Rights here
Go vegan for the animals here
The Ghost in Our Machine – Faunalytics
Meat the Future – The Good Food Institute