From the respected award-winning documentary team of Hegedus and Pennebaker (Don't Look Back; The War Room), Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. Steve and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections. The team maintains that cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights (such as bodily liberty) that would protect them from physical abuse. If a corporation is seen as a person before the law, why not a chimpanzee?
“Thoughtful, compelling and heroic. The film made me proud to be a primate.” –Jon Stewart
“A thoughtful work of advocacy and an insightful profile of Wise, yet another subject of Pennebaker's who is changing the system from the inside out.” –Noah Gittell, RogerEbert.com
Premiere – Sundance Film Festival
Canadian Premiere – HotDocs 2016
Professor Joanna Dean (Carleton University) and Professor Christabelle Sethna (Universtiy of Ottawa) will attend and speak to human/animal relationships and their new book, Animal Metropolis after the screening.