July 22, 2009
$25,000 Grant Awarded to Chimp Film Project
The HSUS greenlights "Cinema Chimp" at the 2009 AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Cinema Chimp, the extraordinary story of Cheeta, one of Hollywood's most famous chimpanzee "actors," has won a $25,000 documentary grant from The Humane Society of the United States for exploring the controversial issue of using primates in entertainment.
Awarded for the fourth consecutive year at the AFI:Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival (June 15-22) by The HSUS, the organization's Animal Content in Entertainment grant is designed to encourage the inclusion of animal protection issues in short and long form documentary filmmaking.
"Cinema Chimp is the perfect example of how a documentary can bring an animal protection concern — or any pressing social issue — to the forefront through a compelling and engaging storyline that has the potential to create a shift in public attitudes," says The HSUS' Ross Hammer.
In providing a unique window on the sometimes bizarre lifestyle of a much-loved animal "movie star" icon, Emmy-nominated documentarian David Grabias' Cinema Chimp goes beyond Cheeta's celebrity to reveal the disturbing truth about the fate of many primate performers, demonstrating why these highly social and intelligent animals belong in the wild, not in show business or the exotic pet trade.
Grabias adds, "I'm honored to have been selected from among four other worthy and highly professional projects. I believe Cheeta's poignant and fascinating story provides a filmmaker with rich material for commentary on the way we treat wild animals, and the odd nature of celebrity."
The HSUS received more than 100 grant submission from filmmakers from 11 countries. Cinema Chimp was selected from five outstanding finalist projects by a panel of broadcast executives from PBS, Animal Planet, National Geographic Channel and The HSUS.
Read more about our Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) program.