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December 21, 2012

2012 ACE Documentary Grant Winners

New films tackle issues like dog trafficking, horse rescue

  • A British journalist investigates Thai dog trafficking in "Shadow Trade." Benjamin Todd

  • "Horsepower" examines the historical and current role of horses in America. Ry Wardwell

First Place Winner of the 2012 ACE Grant: "Shadow Trade"

"Shadow Trade," an investigation into the trafficking of Thai street dogs, has won the $20,000 Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) Documentary Film Grant. Chosen from over 60 entries from 20 countries, this feature-length documentary follows the covert work of a British journalist who ventures into the underground world of the illegal dog meat trade, with the hope of advancing stricter laws and more protection for dogs in Southeast Asia. "Shadow Trade" was directed by Richard Elson and executive produced by Ella Todd.

Runner-Up: "Horsepower"

Runner-up in The HSUS's 2012 ACE Grant was "Horsepower," directed by Ry Wardwell, which was awarded a $1,000 grant. The film, still in-production, examines the historical and current state of horses in America. The documentary covers a wide range of equine issues, from horse slaughter to horse rescue and the numerous people and programs around the U.S. helping these animals.

Fusing entertainment and advocacy

Winners of the ACE Grant were selected by a panel of entertainment industry judges from HBO Documentary Films, Sundance Channel, Participant Media, Documentary Channel, Cineflix Productions, Gravitas Ventures, and Green Planet Films. Films were judged not only on their animal welfare message, but also on their potential to reach a wide commercial audience.

A component of The HSUS's Hollywood Outreach Program, ACE promotes animal protection themes in film and television. Other finalists for the 2012 grant included "Maximum Tolerated Dose," about animal experimentation; "Hard Rode," about a horse sanctuary; and "Unlocking the Cage," about animal welfare legislation.

See past ACE Grant winners

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