Join us on Wednesday, December 20th, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, at RBC Cary!

Details available in the Facebook event page.

Come say hi and ask any questions about the project. We’re working on a few additional surprises, too. I would love to see you in real life, especially since I’ve been laying low for a long time thanks to covid and kids.

A man sits between two pigs as a woman leans in to pet one of the pigs
Sisu Animal Refuge is featured in the film.

We’re screening of the newest trailer for a project I’m working on at the event. The new film is called Picturing Pigs (working title) and it’s a short documentary about two photographers who create an art installation in hog country — Duplin and Sampson counties in eastern North Carolina. It follows them as they visit Sisu Animal Refuge and Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary.

Shannon Johnstone photographs Marshall, a piglet that escaped a transport truck and now happily lives at Sisu Animal Refuge.

I have been learning so much about pigs (and the depictions of pigs) this year. As you may know, I grew up in eastern North Carolina. Most of my neighbors were farmers because I lived in a rural area. My first documentary projects were about the challenges farmers faced as tobacco got phased out when people stopped smoking. You probably remember that Brewconomy had a big agricultural aspect to it, too. Although I’m not a farmer, I have so much respect for them.

Our film does not go into the details of hog farming, however, I have some recommendations if you want to learn more about it. I highly recommend watching The Smell of Money, which is specifically about hog farming in eastern North Carolina. If you’re looking for a book then Wastelands: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial by Corban Addison is pretty informative. Although he’s an out-of-towner covering the subject, it’s pretty in-depth and I appreciated that.

Picturing Pigs (working title) is an uplifting look at happy pigs who live in safety at animal sanctuaries. They have room to roam, dirt to root around in, and they can see the sunshine. They eat well, get lots of positive attention from humans, and have friends to keep them company. We hope you’ll love hearing their stories.

I have really appreciated the kind, empathetic approach that I have seen from everyone who has worked on this film. It’s a complex subject with a lot of nuance. I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life and I’ve been ignorant about a lot of it. The people we’re spending time with understand that learning more about your food and where it comes from is a position of privilege – especially when inflation and corporate greed are on the rise, making it harder for people to eat and pay their bills. I’m so grateful to work with Shannon, Jane, and Teri to get this project started. We have a lot of adventures ahead of us. I’m hoping we can continue raising funds and hire a crew to visit the pigs together. You can stay tuned by signing up for email updates and following along on social media.

Thank You

Special thanks to the Culture & Animals Foundation for supporting the billboards and the Filmed in NC Fund for supporting the film about the billboards. We are so grateful.