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My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers

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It was a PR coup that launched the animal rights movement onto the international stage.

It's 1977 and Brian Davies, head of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, has brought Brigitte Bardot to Newfoundland to protest the seal hunt. The villains of the piece are the inhabitants of the island's northern outports, their image transmitted to the world as the epitome of brutality.

My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers tells their story.

In a thoughtful contribution to the debate on Canada's seal hunt, artist Anne Troake celebrates the unique culture of Newfoundland's outports. She explores the notions of ecology and conservation through the story of her extended family, descendants of 18th century settlers from the English West Country. In a society shaped by the environment and seasons, sealing became one of many activities that sustained them.

Blending poetic ethnography with politics, Troake weaves her argument into a meditation on a resilient people and their special place in the world. A remarkable interview with her grandmother infuses the film with wry wisdom and a bright sense of life's possibilities.

Supplement: Audio interview with Gary Troake.

2005, 100 min 12 s

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