Pet owners go to what some might see as excessive lengths to keep their best friends with them, even after the deaths of the furry companions, in Amy Finkel’s FUREVER.
Brooklyn-based Finkel set out to document the odd world of pet preservation and those who seek it out in an effort to retain a physical connection with their deceased animals. Rather than bowing to the inevitable, some owners have turned to professionals who can essentially freeze-dry their pets, keeping them in a permanent, life-like, but eerie stasis – a step beyond taxidermy – and a physical condition that allows them to safely return their companions to their homes. The project looks to profile a number of owners, delving into their past relationships and histories with their pets, and perhaps suggesting some explanation for why they’ve chosen this unorthodox step.
Still in production, Finkel just ran a Kickstarter campaign which initially sought $5,000 for additional shooting. Impressively, that initial goal was quickly reached, leading Finkel to set a new target of $10,000, which was slightly surpassed by the deadline a week ago. Additional information about the project and the filmmaker may be found on the doc’s website, which also includes a mailing list signup to stay updated on the film’s progress.
Finkel smartly connects this impulse to hold on to the departed companion to a deeper difficulty with dealing with mortality and grieving. This is potentially incredibly rich terrain that should hopefully help the project avoid a too simple freakshow type of dismissive approach that might make for a momentarily humorous diversion, but probably would make it ultimately forgettable. That’s not to deny there will likely be some element of morbid fascination here that will draw in audiences, but that shouldn’t be all that there is to the story. The fantastic support the project found via Kickstarter demonstrates that there’s an audience out there for this – most of us have had at least one pet in our lives, after all – and I’m looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.
One response to “In the Works: FUREVER”
There was a Canadian doc made in 2005 called Lifelike that dealt a little bit with this issue, although it focused on taxidermy more generally. I reviewed it here: http://www.torontoscreenshots.com/2005/04/28/lifelike/
In Lifelike, if I recall, the woman who had her Jack Russell “preserved” ended up regretting it almost immediately after seeing the result. No matter how good the process, there’s no life left. Even a photograph will hold better memories.