Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 5 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts    H4'ed 9/20/14

An Exclusive Interview With Mark Devries, Twenty-Something Creator of "Speciesism: The Movie"

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   1 comment
Author 90222
Follow Me on Twitter     Message David Simon
Become a Fan
  (3 fans)


(Image by Mark Devries)   Details   DMCA
Several years ago, while his peers popped No-Doz and sported fake IDs, college sophomore Mark Devries had other plans. The 20-year-old Devries spent his time and money traveling the country to conduct video interviews of philosophers, activists, and factory farmers. His efforts would ultimately become "Speciesism: The Movie," a groundbreaking, feature-length documentary about the nature of species-based prejudice. The film was released in 2013 to glowing reviews in Psychology Today, Scientific American, The Huffington Post, and many other media.

"Speciesism" refers to the categorical exclusion of nonhuman animals from the moral realm occupied by humans, and exclusion from the protections that realm offers. Through a number of eye-opening interviews, the film reveals that most humans hold speciesist views -- and that these views typically lack a rational basis. We learn that because humans and nonhuman animals share many emotional and cognitive traits, the prejudice of speciesism is little different from racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination among humans.

I recently caught up with Devries, now in his mid-twenties, to ask him about this remarkable movie and the inspiring story of its production. He delayed the start of law school for a year to work on the film, and while he did finally graduate, now he's too busy traveling and screening the movie to focus on the bar exam like most law grads. Making movies instead of practicing law? It's a brilliant, alternative legal career that many lawyers -- including me -- would view with admiration and envy.

Dave Simon: What led you, as a 20-year-old college student, to start making this film?

Mark Devries: I came across some PETA demonstrations, and I became curious as to what motivated them. I started looking into it, and once I discovered factory farming, I was shocked to learn that for the most part, farms don't really exist anymore. Instead we have these highly-controlled, sci-fi dystopias. I thought it seemed like something that should be made into a documentary. It was only once I started filming that I came upon the much larger and deeper issue of speciesism itself.


Copyrighted Image? DMCA
DS: You mention in the film that you didn't know anything about movie-making when you started. How did you do it?

MD: I bought a camera, and I taught myself how to use that and the recording equipment. Then I taught some college friends how to use the equipment.

DS: Amazing. So you had a crew of friends. What was the film-making process like?

MD: I had to film sporadically while in college at the beginning, using money I earned from part-time jobs. I did a lot of filming, trying to find things out, and I made many attempts to get things on film -- sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. Often we just walked up to animal facilities and tried to get into discussions with the owners, and to get them to talk about what goes on inside. Some of things they told us were quite shocking, as seen in the film. Then, perhaps a year into filming, I learned about speciesism -- and that quickly became the film's new direction.


Copyrighted Image? DMCA
DS: It must have been incredibly challenging to do all this while in college. Did you ever consider dropping the project?

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Must Read 2   Well Said 1   Touching 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

David Simon Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Lawyer, writer and advocate for sustainable consumption.

Author, Meatonomics

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

9 Things Everyone Should Know About Farmed Fish

10 Things I Wish All Americans Knew About The Meat & Dairy Industries

5 Ways the USDA Puts Your Health at Risk

An Exclusive Interview With Mark Devries, Twenty-Something Creator of "Speciesism: The Movie"

Are Big Macs Killing Bees?