Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Groundbreaking film on religious attitudes toward animals part of official selection at Animal Film

Posted: 26 January 2019. Updated: 26 January 2019

ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion. — a short documentary featuring leaders from 12 diverse faiths speaking out to end cruelty to animals — will screen on opening night of the 6th Animal Film Festival, February 9-10, 2019 in Grass Valley, California.

The 12-minute documentary was created by The Guibord Center (TGC), an educational interfaith organization, for Animal Defenders International (ADI) to help their work in ending animal cruelty throughout the world. The aim: To raise awareness and provoke discussion about animal protection among the billions of followers of these faiths. ANIMA is directed by award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Jessum and features music from Grammy Award–winning performer Moby.

The film’s opening night screening will be followed by a Q&A led by TGC vice president and ANIMA executive producer Dr. Lois Sprague, with ADI founders Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips, who will be coming from ADI’s current mission in Guatemala, where they have rescued over 20 lions and tigers from circuses.

In the film, faith leaders from Baha’i, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu-ISKCON, Hindu-Vedanta, Indigenous, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian traditions were interviewed in their sacred sites throughout Los Angeles County.

This marks the first time so many different religions have united to speak up for animals — challenging preconceptions of what religion actually says about our relationship with and responsibility toward other species. The message from each of the faiths is that animals are sacred, sentient, and feeling, and that they should be valued and protected as an integral part of God’s creation.

View the trailer

Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, founder and president of TGC, said, “ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion. has created a change of heart and way of living by helping us to understand animals in a completely different manner — as thinking and feeling beings created by the Holy. To view this film is to have your heart changed for the good.”

Jan Creamer, founder and president of ADI, said, “The faiths represented in ANIMA are followed by more than four billion people worldwide and are integral to their attitudes towards animals. This film is therefore a groundbreaking and important way to reach people, resonating with the teachings of their faith. The film is thought-provoking and will challenge many preconceptions. Never before have so many different voices of faith come together with such a strong message of compassion towards animals – an incredible achievement by The Guibord Center.”

“Everyone loves this project! Everyone,” said Dr. Lois Sprague, executive producer of ANIMA. “I think it’s because ANIMA speaks to the innate hunger so many of us have to enter into the world of animals where loyalty and compassion and kinship are their way of being with one another. We experience profound hope and healing in the love they give out every day. Surely that has to be what our Creator intended for all of us.”

TGC’s entire Advisory Council (36 major faith leaders) committed to the project in 2017 to raise public awareness and to enable ADI to add the voice of faith to its advocacy work. ANIMA is the first piece of The Center’s much larger initiative on “Animals, Faith and Compassion.”

ADI is currently establishing a new wildlife sanctuary in South Africa and at the same time has removed 21 lions and tigers from circuses in Guatemala while helping the government there enforce a ban on the use of animals in circuses. Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips will also give a presentation at the Animal Film Festival about this work.

ANIMA features:
(*Members of The Guibord Center’s Board of Directors or Advisory Council)
Baha’i – Randolph Dobbs*, General Secretary, Spiritual Assembly of Baha’i
Brahma Kumaris – Sister Vinothini Sivaswami*, Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Meditation Center
Buddhism – Ven. Abbot Hui Dong and Ven. Miao Hsi*, Nun, Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple
Christianity – The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade*, Dean and Rector, and The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, Dean and Rector, St. John’s (Episcopal) Cathedral
Hinduism – ISKCON – Sura Das*, Priest, and Karen Pharmer, Lay Leader, International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Hinduism – Vedanta – Swami Sarvadevananda*, Minister, and Dr. Rini Ghosh*, Leader, Vedanta Society of Southern California
Indigenous Faith – Saginaw Grant, Hereditary Chief, Sac and Fox, Iowa and Otoe-Missouria Nations, and Sam Bearpaw*, Indigenous Leader, Apache Nation and Theodore Payne Foundation
Islam – Salam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council; Islamic Center of Southern California, and Edina Lekovic*, host, Meeting the Moment podcast; Islamic Center of Southern California
Jainism – Ami C. Shah, Raj Shah, Prashant Shah, Kush Shah, Harsha Parikh, Manilal B. Mehta, Dr. Mahendra Shah, community leaders and youth, Jain Center of Southern California
Judaism – Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels*, Temple Beth Shir Shalom, and Rabbi Suzanne Singer*, Temple Beth El
Sikhi – Nirinjan Singh Khalsa*, Executive Director, California Sikh Council
Zoroastrianism – Maneck Bhujwala*, Priest and Community Spokesperson, California Zoroastrian Center
Interfaith – The Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord*, Founder and President, The Guibord Center, and
Dr. Lois M Sprague*, Vice President, The Guibord Center; Executive Producer, ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion.

Media Contacts:

US: Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director | (323) 935-2234 or (323) 804-9920 |

UK: Devon Prosser, Press Officer | 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548 |

© Animal Defenders International 2019