So you’ve figured out that you want to work in a particular industry, let’s say film. But do you know which aspect of film? Do you know the kinds of stories you want to tell and how you want to tell them? Everyone comes to find their place in their chosen field. They realize where they best fit in, and more importantly, where their passion lies. For veteran filmmaker Casey Suchan (Rock the Bells, The Animal People), she is energized about capturing real stories about real people, a fact she realized when she first started working on documentaries and was mentored by Peter Spirer (Rhyme and Reason, Beef I and Beef II, and Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel). “I just thought ‘why would I want to write dialogue?’” Suchan shares with So Booking Cool.
“I mean, there’s a place for that, and I love scripted content; I love watching it, and maybe someday I’ll return to it, but I just found when people spoke from the heart, real people about their real experiences and what they really thought, to me I was just captivated by that….that was far more interesting to me, asking questions and listening rather than contriving stories,” the director says.
Suchan’s new documentary feature, The Animal People, in which she co-directed with Denis Henry Hennelly, follows the journey of six young American animal activists who were declared terrorists by the government. The film, executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix, was inspired by another collaboration from Suchan and Hennelly, Bold Native, which is about a young man who breaks the law in order to liberate animals. Both directors were interested in exploring what drove people to break the law for causes. It was during the development of Bold Native that they discovered the animal cruelty campaign, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which would lead them to making The Animal People.
Check out Part 1 of our conversation with Suchan to learn more about The Animal People including what it was like building the documentary for 15 years while the subjects were in and out of jail, and how each subject distinctly contributes to the indie feature. The Animal People is now streaming globally everywhere. For more information, visit the official Facebook page for the film. Check out the trailer below!