Producer Seeks Non-Canine Service Animal Users for Documentary Film

Okay, so Culture Dish is now back from it's short down time for mourning (and finishing my massive pre-tenure dossier, which was due yesterday and looked something like this).  Lots of posting to catch up on.  

First, this:  After reading my recent NYTimes Magazine story on the use of non-canine service animals and the surrounding political turmoil (plus all the follow up here), two producers contacted me about doing a documentary on the subject. I'm not formally involved in the project, but I've talked to them at length, and their idea seems like a good one.  They're hoping to get in touch with as many people as possible who use non-traditional service animals -- monkeys, miniature horses, birds, kangaroos, you name it.  As well as those who support or oppose their use. Since many such folks have commented here, the producers asked me to post a letter explaining their project, what they're looking for, and how to contact them.  See below for details:  

Dear Readers of Culture Dish,

My name is Matt Woods and I am a documentary filmmaker.  I read Rebecca's article "Creature Comforts" and became fascinated with the bonds the people featured in the article forged with these unique assistance animals.  This lead me here to Rebecca's blog where I read many more assistance animal stories as well as voices on both sides of the emerging debate about what should be considered a assistance animal under federal law.  Rebecca has even been kind enough to discuss the subject over the phone!

My producing partner and I are seeking those of you with assistance animals who might be willing to participate in a documentary film.  While we are mainly interested in unique assistant animals such as miniature horses, helper monkeys and parrots, that is not the entire focus; we would also be interested in people with guide dogs who have strong opinions either for or against limiting the types of animals that would be legal under the ADA.  We feel that there hasn't been a long-form documentary film made about service animals and it is fascinating subject that many people would be interested in learning more about especially given the current debate about changing the ADA.

In terms of your commitment, we are simply interested in observing you and your animal going about daily life.  We would be a fairly unobtrusive camera team of 2 people, with a small camera that wouldn't draw too much attention, and we won't need a large time commitment from you.  We believe this "verite" style of filmmaking is a style that lets the audience think for themselves rather than being told what to think.  

If you are interested in participating, please write a brief email describing yourself, your animal and your location to me at:  Thank you for your time!

Matt Woods

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