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June 23, 2008

Meet Documentary Grant Winner Mike Webber

HSUS sits down with the Director/Producer of "The Elephant in the Living Room" for a Q&A

The Humane Society of the United States

In 2008, HSUS's Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) awarded its $25,000 documentary grant to Mike Webber for his upcoming feature "The Elephant in the Living Room" which gives a compelling look at the nationwide problem of exotic pet ownership.  We caught up with Webber to ask him about his thoughts on the film.

1) Why have you described The Elephant in the Living Room as your "passion project"?

"This is a topic that I had been completely oblivious to previously. But once I was introduced to this world and began to learn more about it, I was totally hooked. And I think the general audience will be the same way as they experience this journey through the film. The stories, the characters, the animals, the issues are remarkable. Once you get into it, you just can't look away."

"There's a more personal side too. Only a couple months into filming, I was covering a story with Tim that took an unexpected turn as we captured something pretty shocking on film. Soon after, I was sort of in a state of shock at what I had just witnessed. It was then that I realized that we are onto something bigger than just the film. Tim looked to me and said, "You know that you're going to save lives with this movie, don't you?" After that there was no looking back."

2) How do you plan to use the $25k grant money?

"The grant is going to give us a much needed boost in post production and editing. While we have been fortunate to be able to cover so many incredible stories over the past months, the result is a huge backlog of footage that my editors must sift through, organize, and begin cutting into the narrative vision for the film. I anticipate that by the end of production, we will have well over 100 hours of raw footage that we are working with. This financial support will allow us to get a better grasp on this, even while we continue shooting."

3) Are there other animal issue-related documentaries you would like to make?

"I think so. First and foremost I am interested in compelling stories with strong characters in complex situations. With that said, I do in fact have a couple new animal related concepts bouncing around in my head that I would like to explore further when the time is right."

Click here to read more about "The Elephant in the Living Room".

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