Mark DeVries is the producer and director of Speciesism: The Movie.
What has the response to Speciesism: The Movie been like?
The response has been incredible – better than I ever anticipated – with sold-out theatrical screenings across the world, standing ovations, and countless people reporting that the movie changed their lives. More importantly, I often hear from animal advocates who tell me that it affected friends or family members when nothing else had ever done so before.
The film has also been featured in Scientific American (“brilliant and compelling”), The Huffington Post (“tremendously entertaining”), and CNN Headline News, among many others, and discussed in depth in a major new book on the relationship between science and ethics (The Moral Arc). I would estimate the ratio of positive to negative press at around 10-1, and most importantly, all of the intellectual (as opposed to entertainment) press has been positive. This truly exceeded even my most optimistic expectations.
How has the factory farming industry responded to Speciesism: The Movie?
Industry front groups that pose as consumer “watchdog” groups (as described in the film) have written articles/posts on their blogs in attempt to dissuade people from watching the movie. They have employed their standard tactics, from general ridicule such as name-calling (perhaps “silly,” “stupid,” “nonsense,” or the like), to misrepresenting the film’s content (see the next question and answer, below).
In the parts of Speciesism: The Movie about the philosophical questions, who is arguing for changing our view of animals, and who is arguing for the status quo view?
I interview the philosophers who are arguing for changing our view of animals, and put to them every major line of objection that has been formulated by philosophers and the public since this discussion began in earnest in the 1970s (this format makes these abstract segments easier to follow than they might otherwise be, by making clear who is stating the arguments for which view). Perhaps the most important purpose of these segments, though, is to also show that the beliefs held by everyday people (the “man on the street”) do not stand up to scrutiny.
You can investigate the philosophical arguments further with Peter Singer‘s book Animal Liberation, which is widely considered the best introduction to this topic, and even more deeply with the book Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, which is made up of essays by the most influential scholars representing the broadest range of views on these issues.
Does Speciesism: The Movie contain lots of graphic images?
No, I have purposely avoided excessive graphic imagery in Speciesism: The Movie. There is some footage of standard factory farming practices, but even that is minimal and brief. The documentary is intended to be first and foremost entertaining and fun to watch, rather than upsetting.
I just watched Speciesism: The Movie. What should I do now?
Thank you for taking the time to watch my documentary. Please visit our Saw The Movie page for information on the three major topics that people usually want to know about after they’ve seen the film.
How can I get friends to watch Speciesism: The Movie?
Remember: the purpose of this film is to bring audiences along with me on a funny, entertaining, and engaging adventure. It’s not very graphic, and it’s not preachy (I don’t know the answers, so the viewers’ job is to follow my adventure and then make up their own minds).
So, let friends and family members know that you’d like to hear what they think of this interesting new comedy-documentary that follows the story of a kid who’s trying to figure out the answers to some of the issues you’ve discussed with them. (If they ask, you can let them know that it’s not very graphic, nor an advocacy film.) After they’ve watched it or you’ve watched it with them, ask what they think. Then really listen, and ask more in response. (For example, they might say, “Humans use language,” and you might reply, “Hmm, right, but then what about humans who can’t use language?”)
Be patient: don’t expect them to get everything right away! There’s no need to be pushy, or adversarial. Let the documentary, and the downright fascinating subject of animal rights, be something that you and they both ponder, and that they’ll want to continue thinking about. They may bring up more questions in the days, weeks, or months after the film, which you can continue discussing the same way…
You can buy the DVD (and packs of multiple DVDs to give others) here, and rent the online streaming version here.
How can I host a screening of Speciesism: The Movie?
You can find the details here. Thank you for helping change the world!