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GRASS VALLEY, CA, Jan. 12, 2017 – Final selections of films for screening at the 4th annual Animal Film Festival (AFF)(http://www.animalfilmfestival.org) were announced today. ‘Unlocking the Cage’ by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans, by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform a chimpanzee from a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with legal protections; the stunning documentary ‘The Vervet Forest’ by Kyle Salazar that tells the story of five baby orphaned monkeys rescued and cared for in a sanctuary located in the beautiful landscape of South Africa; ‘Love Unleashed’ by Kacey Klonsky, explores the deep emotional bond between humans and their beloved senior dogs.

The 4th annual Animal Film Festival comes to Grass Valley, February 25, 2017 at the Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley, CA.  Films from many countries including Canada, Austria and the USA, exude compassion, courage, and comedy.  A running theme many of this year’s films portray is ‘once captured, now free’.  Every film chosen explores an aspect of animal protection, rescue, rights and the human/animal bond.

A new addition to this year’s Animal Film Festival is the Tarshis Award presented by Amber and Adam Tarshis of the Tarshis Foundation. Two awards of $5,000 each, will be given to filmmakers whose 30 – 90 second films creatively and convincingly highlights the issues of animal suffering in modern farming and influences a more plant-based lifestyle.

Kim Midboe, AFF Judge: “The films at the Animal Film Festival have the power to change the way you think, the way you feel and your understanding of the true lives of animals. You laugh, you cry, but most of all, you are inspired to make a difference.”

Shelley Frost, director of the Animal Film Festival, recognized a similar theme in many of the submissions this year – that animals have the inherent right to freedom.

“This year we received 230 film submissions.  After watching all of them, I began to see a similar theme in many of the films – animals captured or kept in sorry conditions, then rescued and released back into the lives they were meant to have.  As uplifting as these stories are, the film Unlocking the Cage showcases a final solution that could be the catalyst to end so much animal suffering. If you love a good animal rescue story, you won’t want to miss this year’s selections – dogs, monkeys, bears, cats, farmed animals with many happy endings.” Frost also adds that film-goers can be pro-active by signing petitions, and speaking with filmmakers to learn how they can contribute towards the welfare of animals.

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Official Selected films for the 2016 festival are:  “Unlocking the Cage” (Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, USA), “The Vervet Forest” (Kyle Salazar, USA), “Love Unleashed” (Kasey Klonsky, USA), “Temple of the Ghost Owl” (Justin Myhre, USA), “Operation Wolf Patrol” (Joseph Brown, USA), “Maybelle’s Story” (Ellie Laks, USA), “Dog Side by Side” (Johnny Vasic, USA), “Not Your Average Cat Video” (Joe Whelski, USA), “Property” (Allison Otto, USA), “Joe the Chimp” (Johnny Vasic, USA), “Through the Thick” (Nino Leitner, Austria), “Their Land: Last of the Caribou Herd” (Mike McKinlay, Isabelle Groc, Canada), “Fifi the Bear” (Johnny Vasic, USA), “Free Lolita” (Peggy Oki, USA), “Called to Rescue” (Naomi Call, USA), “Hope the Blind Goat” (Shawn Bannon, USA), “Wildlife and Meat” (Jamie Berger), “Dogs of the 9th Ward” (Aimee Bosschart, Silvia Turchin, USA), “(Not) Another Fashion Film” (Elizabeth Rohe, USA), “Lucy” (Elisa Chee, Canada), “Waterfowl(ed)” (Grace Combs, USA), “Davey’s Voice” (Lynne Shaw, Chris Erskin, Gretchen Lieff, USA) “Corky the Orca” (Neel Parakh, USA), “Wild Hope” (Audrey Bauduin, France).

The Children’s Theater, held in a room off the lobby, will screen a looping series of specially selected films for children ages 5 and up.  The films are “A Gift for Abuelo” (Gail Evenari, USA), “Dog Squadron” (Toby Morris, USA), “A Second Chance on the Caprock” (Ahbra Perry, USA), “Singing Frogs” (Luce Grosjean, France), “Anna” (Luce Grosjean, France), “Daroji” (Sugandhi Gadadhar, India).  NOTE: Parents must supervise their children at all times while in the Children’s Theater.

Proceeds from the festival support animals with special needs rescued by the Center for Animal Protection and Education (CAPE).

For tickets or more information visit www.animalfilmfestival.org.   To receive $5 off tickets use these promo codes: All Day Pass use code: AllDayPass; Senior tickets use code: Senior; Student tickets use code: Student; Children’s tickets, use code: Child.

The Center for Animal Protection and Education (CAPE) (www.capeanimals.org) works to save the lives of individual animals and to educate people about ways in which they can alleviate animal suffering. Founded in 1992, CAPE has helped thousands of animals. Those who are older, injured or recovering from an illness are placed into new, loving homes through CAPE’s foster and adoption programs. In 2012 CAPE established the CAPE Animal Sanctuary in Grass Valley, California, a permanent home for dozens of animals with special needs and burros removed from their native habitats on public lands by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. CAPE also offers educational opportunities to inform people about issues animals face in society such as the Animal Film Festival, Animal Eyes TV, and local volunteer programs. CAPE programs teach that all animals have the right to a long, full life, free from pain and suffering. To learn more or donate please visit www.capeanimals.org.