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The Ghosts in Our Machine

The Ghosts in Our Machine,” the much buzzed about new film on animal issues directed by Liz Marshall, is set to premiere in the U.S. this November with a kick-off screening in New York City on November 8 and another soon after in Los Angeles on November 15.

Renowned international photographer Jo-Anne McArthur serves as the film’s narrator and one of its main protagonists (the animal ambassadors or the “ghosts” featured in the film share this role with her).

Viewers follow McArthur’s journey as she photographs animal exploitation in industries like food, fashion, entertainment, and research, and as she attempts to get these photos out to the public.

The film is somber and slow-moving, yet undeniably powerful. Below, check out the top five reasons why everyone should go see “The Ghosts in our Machine” this fall accompanied with a selection of photos from McArthur that will be featured in her new book “We Animals” to be released in December 2013.

(Can’t make it to the NYC or LA premiere screening? Then be sure to watch for updates about new screenings on the film’s website or host a screening in your community!)

1. You’ll find out what’s going on behind closed doors of industries without all the gore (sadness and pain still included though).

“The Ghosts in Our Machine” is not about trying to scare or shock you, but rather about showing industries just as they are day-in and day-out. While gory footage may be effective in some circumstances, the documentary shows that it simply isn’t in others – that even a seemingly simple yet haunting photo of fur farmed foxes huddling in their cage corner can be just as effective, if not more so.

Despite the absence of gore for the sake of gore, there are very sensitive moments that are sure to invoke sadness, even feelings of pain and tears, since the subjects shown and discussed are heartbreaking.

2. You’ll be reminded (or even realize for the first time) that animal abuse occurs daily in industries that exploit sentient beings; abuse does not occur as isolated incidents like certain industries want us to believe.

McArthur’s photographs are not a part of larger investigations – they are taken at random days during visits to captive animal facilities. In this way, McArthur takes us in with her to fur farms, factory farms, and animal research facilities, either through video or photographs, to show us that these places consistently abuse animals on a daily basis.

While she is at a fox fur farm, she comments, “Leaving is the hardest part of my work,” as she does not “liberate” the animals after what she witnesses, even though every bone in her body wants to. Ultimately, this is not her job since she wants to inspire people to take action through her work – not necessarily to liberate, but rather to fight to make long-lasting changes that will significantly impact all animals that endure daily abuse.

3. You’ll actually witness the results of good deeds done by individuals and organizations through footage of happy and fulfilled animals.

What’s great about “The Ghosts in Our Machine” is that it’s not all about showing you sad footage of abused animals. It digs deeper to show you what caring people are doing to combat this abuse, which is just as important and often forgotten when issues are discussed. The film provides plenty of opportunities to see an organization like Farm Sanctuary take in once exploited animals and give them the life they have long deserved.

4. You’ll get to observe the amazing ability that animals have to survive and thrive despite so much suffering.

Thanks to the kind individuals and organizations spreading awareness about animal exploitation in industries and rescuing its victims, “The Ghosts in Our Machine” offers many of us the chance to see how truly resilient animals are even after so much pain — none of which we might witness otherwise. We see animals happy, taking pleasure in the sun, the grass, and still able to enjoy the touch of a human’s hand. The animal spirit is truly remarkable, and “The Ghosts in Our Machine” highlights this wonderfully.

5. You’ll stay inspired to continue speaking up against animal exploitation and see that resilience and perseverance are necessary to maintain during this fight.

McArthur’s journey to find a home for her photographs highlights the struggle that many animal lovers go through on a daily basis trying to get people to see what’s happening out there far away from our view. Yet, it is only through maintaining a “never give up attitude” that McArthur is able to get to her ultimate goal. While she may still meet resistance when trying to bring abuses to light, as other animal advocates will, her resilience and her will to persevere serve to remind those of us who are fighting to make a difference each day to just keep on going.

Find out more about “The Ghosts in Our Machine” on Facebook and on the film’s website. The documentary is also now available in the U.S. on iTunes, Amazon, and Google play, and through cable TV video-on-demand.

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View more photos by McArthur here.

Image source: The Ghosts in Our Machine Facebook Page