June 23, 2008
Grant Awarded to Exotic Pet Doc Project
HSUS's ACE program awards a $25,000 grant to "The Elephant in the Living Room"
"The Elephant in the Living Room", a compelling look at the nationwide problem of exotic pet ownership, has won a $25,000 documentary grant from The Humane Society of the United States. This is the third year the grant has been given at the SilverDocs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival by The HSUS. The grant is part of The HSUS Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) program, which is designed to encourage the inclusion of animal issues in non-fiction and narrative entertainment media.
Produced and directed by Michael Webber, The Elephant in the Living Room chronicles the largely ignored yet dangerous epidemic of keeping wild animals as pets threatening their owners, their communities and animal welfare. Told through the extraordinary day-to-day work of a police officer and one-man exotic animal rescuer, The Elephant in the Living Room was among six outstanding animal-related documentary projects pitched to a panel of broadcast executives from PBS, National Geographic Channels International, Animal Planet and Specialty Studios Entertainment.
Said Jalyn Henton, senior program associate in Program Development and Independent Film for PBS, "We were greatly impressed by the quality and built-in audience appeal of all of the HSUS grant projects presented to us... It was a real challenge choosing a winner, but The Elephant in the Living Room presents an intriguing protagonist whose fascinating animal rescue work offers a wealth of stories and the potential for a theatrical release, and a follow up series."
Added Ross Hammer, director of The HSUS ACE program, "We received dozens of submissions from seven countries, and the caliber of these projects was higher than ever. More and more creative filmmakers are finding compelling ways to bring the cause of animal welfare to a global audience through broadcast, theatrical, and digital media platforms. And what better partner for these projects than the largest animal protection organization in the nation."