Films: The Animal Project

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The Animal Project

The Animal Project

Canada, 2013, 90 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Program: Women + Film
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Ingrid Veninger
Producer: Ingrid Veninger
Editor: Jonathan Eagan
Screenwriter: Ingrid Veninger
Cinematographer: Cabot McNenly
Principal Cast: Aaron Poole, Jacob Switzer, Joey Klein, Jessica Greco, Hannah Cheesman, Sarena Parmar, Emmanuel Kabongo, Johnathan Sousa

Imagine seven people wearing animal costumes and romping through Toronto one rainy night. While it might sound ridiculous, Ingrid Veninger does just that with The Animal Project. Hers is a quirky, human tale about personal struggle and identity; the individuals we meet are trying to make it through their own unhappiness and complacency. Leo (Aaron Poole) is the leader of the acting troupe. Middle-aged, single, and miserable, Leo fights with his teenage son, Sam, and quarrels with his former lover, Saul (Joey Klein). After revisiting “The Bunny Project,” a short film of Sam as a boy, Leo decides on a new project for the group. He has a vision of the actors wearing animal costumes and imagines the freedom that would produce. Hesitant at first, the actors set their personal issues aside and boldly accept the challenge. Over the course of one night, each actor is set on a personal journey of self-discovery. Veninger shows how easy it is to get caught up in the rigmarole of life and how individuals need to feel free.

The film was shot in 44 locations throughout Toronto and inside the actors’ homes. While the film was scripted, Veninger was open to interpretation and improvisation; the script was free, as well as the actors. Veninger wrote the first draft within four days; she cast the actors before knowing the roles they would play or what the script was going to be. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews.

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Barbara Bridges, Caz Matthews, Consulate General of Canada in Denver, Wells Fargo

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