Recently allegations of cruelty inflicted on animals during filming Hollywood blockbusters have surfaced in the press. The most recent of these allegations concerns a scene in A DOG’S PURPOSE.
Although these allegations have been denied, as animal lovers ourselves, the idea of any animal “suffering for our art” is one we find very upsetting and would like to address here any concerns of how we will work with animals when filming THE BOOK OF MAX.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) put forward the idea of only using CG animals in movies from now on, however for a low budget production company such as ourselves, the costs of creating a CG canine cast member for the entire movie would be prohibitively expensive.
The fact is, there is no reason why working on a film set can’t be a fun and safe environment for a dog.
We are currently in talks with Animals Asia, a charity renowned for their passionate approach to animal welfare with a view to partnering with us while filming BOOK OF MAX. Our aim will be to work with an organization such as Animals Asia from the earliest stages of scripting right up until we wrap shooting. Not only will they be able to offer invaluable advice and recommendations throughout the process, but they will be able to ensure we always have the right people on set looking after our animal cast. Just like working with children, these "guardians" will make sure that the animal’s needs come first. Indeed, we will work with them to create an environment that is not only safe, but fun too. We will follow their guidelines stringently.
We also intend to vet, with the help of Animals Asia, any animals we work with to ensure they have been trained in an ethical manner, we will NOT be working with animals that have been trained to perform tricks for our amusement or trained using unethical methods – we want dogs that genuinely enjoy doing what they do, even if that means longer days filming to get the shot we need.
We want to tell stories about animals because we are passionate about animals.
We are totally committed to ensuring that the animal’s safety will always be put first during production. To this end, we are also actively exploring alternatives to using real animals in any scenes that may be deemed stressful or dangerous, e.g. the use of CG and puppetry, as well as employing camera techniques such as “point of view shots” (see Dog Vison).
Our philosophy when working with any animal will always be “Animal’s welfare first”.