Dance, that most protean form of human communication, is given three wildly innovative outlets in this trio of short films. Dancers commune with their animal spirits, opera gets spooky, and dance meets finance in the streets of London town.
Whether it’s celebrating people who have fish-related surnames, decorating dioramas for land snails, gluing broken turtle shells back together, or forging deep connections with chimpanzees, these short films demonstrate that humans are at their finest when inspired by other living creatures.
In a bucolic Norwegian pasture, a performance is underway. The Corpus Dance Company has discovered their inner sheep, much to the delight of the assembled audience, largely comprised of thrilled children and their bemused parents. Whether they’re being milked, or shorn for their wool, these human-sheep hybrids endure with almost metaphysical resignation. But sex and violence are also a part of the show! -DW
Vancouver-based filmmaker Elisa Chee uses masterful animation to recall the story of a domesticated chimpanzee called Lucy and a human named Janis Carter, the caretaker who made it her life’s work to rehabilitate Lucy and return her to her natural environment. -SC
Marla Coppolino is a biologist, artist and self-described spokesperson for land snails. Through the creation of elaborate miniature scenes and cello scores, Coppolino displays a mighty appreciation for the tiny, slimy (and surprisingly sexy) creatures! -SC
Duct tape, crazy glue, and a wealth of compassion are the tools of choice for veterinarians at the Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough, Ontario, who repair turtles involved in altercations with automobiles. -SC
Despite the ongoing environmental damage and pollution that have depleted his bee colonies, Lao Yu, a stalwart beekeeper in Northern China, is determined to keep his family tradition alive. After a year of living in the city, Lao’s son Maofu has returned home to their mountain village. It doesn’t take long before intergenerational conflicts erupt between father and son.
Yan Chun Su observes the last of Tibet’s drokpa (nomads) as they lead herds of yak and sheep over hilly grasslands. No longer limitless, the drokpa move across the section of pasture randomly allotted to them by the Chinese government. The film captures the last years of an agentive people caught inside a political and ecological landscape beyond their control.
Family life in all its complicated and humble glory is the heart of Mahdi Zamanpour Kiasari’s film. Butterfly follows Zainab, an indomitable young woman, as she goes about daily routines on her family’s farmstead in rural Iran.