Cohabitating: Sharing the Planet With Other Species

Our first-ever animal-themed segment celebrates the importance of our furred and feathered friends, and explores our varied relationships with the non-human world.

You might be thinking, “animal welfare isn’t a part of grassroots community activism!” But how do we protect the environment if we don’t speak up for all the living creatures? How can we stand for justice if we don’t stand up for all living things? And how can we build community resilience without seeing animals as part of our community?

Tule Elk: The Killing of a Native Species

Made by Rose grantee Resources Renewal Institute, this film is a beautifully-shot expose of an in-progress extermination of a species in our neighboring Pt. Reyes National Seashore. It’s also the story of the attempts to exterminate centuries of indigenous culture and history with a few decades of good ol’ American “cattle culture.”  This is an actionable issue that needs support now.

The Refuge

For hundreds of generations, the Gwich’in people of Alaska and northern Canada have depended on the caribou that migrate.  through the Arctic Refuge. With their traditional culture now threatened by oil extraction and climate change, two Gwich’in women continue a decades-long fight to protect their land and future.

Stewarding Tribal Lands with Western Science and Traditional Culture

Through the lens of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, this film illustrates the importance of protecting the land and preserving native wildlife (like the adorable black-footed ferret). In this year’s Film Fest, we are showing a total of four films produced by this team of filmmakers: Spruce Tone Films is made up of adventurers and activists who care deeply about telling the stories of grassroots changemakers. Be sure to also check out Detroit Hives, Elevated, and Miles to Go.



Mine highlights a very personal aspect of community justice: the inequities surrounding pet ownership in low-income areas and communities of color. Situated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, this powerful feature-length film explores this phenomenon, as already-neglected survivors fight to reclaim the only things of importance they have left – their animal companions.



In the same vein, Embers, made by a post-graduate student of the University of Southern California, depicts how the sudden dispossession of a family pet can happen right here at home. With California’s seasonal onslaught of wildfires, separation from cats and dogs will continue to occur – unless we adapt to these circumstances through systemic change.



The term “ecofeminism” has become more widely spoken over the years, particularly in the animal rights space. Though we see this term associated most often with industrialized livestock farming and the exploitation of female reproductive systems, we see a glimpse into another, more subtle form of ecofeminism through Shaba. Shaba takes us to Kenya, where we meet female-led wildlife conservation teams made of both humans, and – believe it or not – elephants! These inter-species matriarchs learn from and heal each other as much as they help to rehabilitate the younger elephants that come into their care.


Don’t Be Afraid of Birds

Made by Rose grantee Wild Farm Alliance, Don’t be Afraid of Birds is an educational dive into the benefits of these pollinators in our food system. This film is a testament to our tendency to misunderstand animals – for these crop-pecking “pests” can actually contribute to increased food security.




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