The Ghosts In Our Machine

HAVE YOUR SAY

HAVE-YOUR-SAY

Hello, what was your experience of THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE documentary? Here are a few questions to help frame your comments. There is no word limit. Please Have Your say!

1. Is there a scene, an image, or a moment that stands out the most for you? If so, please explain.
2. What is your take-away? Meaning, how would you describe the overall meaning of the film and/or its impact?
3. Has the film changed your perspective, or your life in a tangible way?  If so, please explain the details.
4. What is your pledge (promise) to animals?

PLEASE SCROLL TO THE VERY BOTTOM AND ADD YOUR COMMENTS – THANK YOU! 

 

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108 Comments

  1. Louie Duke September 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I watched “The Ghosts in Our Machine” this afternoon. This evening, when I went shopping for groceries, meat was on my list. I could not buy it. I am afraid the cows will haunt my dreams tonight.

    It was very disturbing to me, but it was the kind of “disturbing” I needed. Thank you.

  2. Gary September 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    1. It’s all beautifully shot with a lot of very moving, powerful images. Possibly the shots of pigs en route to slaughter. I had to play with my phone to prevent my eyes ‘watering’.
    2. Not sure what my take-away is. Overall meaning is obvious and impact very strong.
    3. The film hasn’t really changed my perspective but I found it incredibly moving and inspirational/motivational. I think it maybe re-affirmed my values and made me want to be active.
    4. No pledge. I’m already vegan but want to do more for the cause and find a way to convince non-vegan friends and family to watch this film.

  3. Sheila Delson September 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    This movie was touching, tender, and sad, but in a gentle way. It made it easier to see than I thought it would be, although I cried the entire time. We need to remember the images and the eyes of the beautiful Ghosts. Thank you so much!!

  4. Pete Dako September 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    When Laurie Anderson said “Every Love Story is a Ghost Story’ she couldn’t have picked a better example than Liz Marshall’s masterfully subtle and gentle “The Ghosts In Our Machine” Like the ghosts she asks us to consider, Marshall’s “voice” invites us with a divinely quiet and respectfully, loving gaze to witness and contemplate our most commonplace yet unspeakable tragedy, hidden in plain sight. Through a lens of kindness and mercy “Ghosts” sums up the deepest essence of what it means to be human. Like another recent cinematic masterpiece, Jonathan Glazer’s “Under The Skin” ~ TGIOM isn’t going to do all your homework for you. This film has way too much respect for you to do that.

  5. Paul York September 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    May 1, 2013 – review by Paul York, originally posted on Facebook

    I just saw The Ghosts in Our Machine, at Hotdocs, by Liz Marshall about animal rights photographer  Joanne McArthur’s work. I consider it to be in the top three list of AR films of all time.

    The other two would be Earthlings and Peaceable Kingdom. I have not yet seen Maximum Tolerated Dose, but hear it’s great too, and Behind the Mask and The Witness, Mad Cowboy, and Vegucated are great too, right up there. And on Youtube there is a great little video called The Superior Human? I have seen just about every AR movie there is, so my evaluation is accurate I think. [Since that time the films Speciesism and Cowspiracy came out -- haven't seen them but hear they are good]

    But let me put it this way: if I had to show only three films to convey why animals matter to a group of non-vegans it would be Earthling, Peaceable Kingdom, and Ghosts in our Machine. I cannot give it any higher praise than that.

    What can I say about this film? It was beautifully done and very moving. More than any other film I have ever seen it shared what animals are feeling, through their eyes. We see their feelings clearly. Earthlings shows the brutality against them, and Peaceable Kingdom is basically a series of interviews with people who used to exploit them and saw the light and were transformed to “animal consciousness: (and is thus quite moving), but with Ghosts we see into the animals’ eyes directly. That is very very powerful.

    The philosopher Levinas spoke of this power through his phrase “the face of the other” evoking in us “the responsibility for the other.” He said that is beginning of morality. We feel that through this film. It is a powerful moral statement but not polemical. That is quite deliberate: the filmmaker worked hard to avoid polemics and to convey the kinds of direct experiences that people have who have been transformed. Breaking through deeply ingrained cultural ideas about animals requires that direct experience.

    We are “bearing witness” to systemic injustice with Joanne as she documents their suffering within the hell of industrialized systems that reduce them instrumentally to tools and units of production and consumption. They are de-animalized, reduced. There are no talking heads (I mean lengthy interviews); it is mostly subjugated animals and, by way of contrast, the happy animals in the sanctuaries who are re-animalized, given respect and dignity. The messaging is voiced-over and thus hits you subliminally. We see both heaven and hell, but there is very little in the way of gore or violence, which many people will be glad of who wept through Earthlings.

    The only part that made uneasy in my seat was inclusion of Temple Grandin’s voice over and drawings, given that she has legitimized industrial slaughter as “humane”, but the film does not endorse this; just presents it and the viewer can judge.
    Overall, it was incredibly powerful, certainly the most important film ever made for “bearing witness.” The entire film does just that, and it show activists doing it as well.

    And Toronto Pig Save is in there! Great AR activists Anita Krajnc, Caroline Wong, and Kelli Polsinelli are all shown at Pig Island in Toronto. The pigs on their way to transport are shown, with their incredibly expressive ideas. Animal rights narrations are cleverly voiced over, fading in and out, to powerful images of animals. It is a masterpiece. I could watch this a dozen times and never tire of it. I cannot wait to own a copy when it is out on DVD, eventually. Thank you Liz for making this. [update: Liz kindly gave me a copy yesterday, and a poster of the film, which is now on my wall -- thank you Liz]

  6. Emma Henry July 30, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I saw this documentary in Dublin also. I have been vegan for two years since watching a short piece on the treatment of a mother cow in the dairy industry. Since then I have watched most of the documentaries relating to either animal rights or the food industry. The “ghosts in our machine” contains less graphic imagery than the rest. The other documentaries made me question capitalism, man’s brutality towards other animals and my own health habits but this one made me feel sad and guilty. The photography captured the emotion of the animals beautifully. The terror of the ghosts in captivity and the joy in life of those that are liberated from our machine.
    Having spent most of my life thinking animals romped around fields until a quick and painless death I often wondered how I did not know the reality. Some years ago I watched the BBC documentary “the woman who thinks like a cow” about Dr Temple Grandin and continued to eat meat and think nothing of it. This is the first time I have seen her work/words included in a documentary since going vegan and I intend to watch the BBC documentary again, this time round I’m sure I will come away with a different perspective.
    A few days later the two images that are predominant in my mind are the photographs of Ron and the pig in the slaughter house truck. The words that Ron was very forgiving of humans just broke my heart. I think of the trips to zoos, Sea World, Discovery Cove, camel ride and elephant ride and all the many many animals I ate. I hope they all forgive me. I want to say I didn’t know but I really failed to see. Pig products were my favourite. I still love the smell of ham. I now see the pure terror of the pig in the truck and I am so sorry.
    My aim is to develop a talk for older school children and college age. I want to do this without using emotive language and brutal imagery. This documentary has given me more ideas on how to achieve this. I think using words like rape and holocaust can be off putting to those that have yet to accept that that is the reality. I want to show people the emotion in animals, their intelligence and curiosity, their love of their babies and by that lead them to question the morality of our captivity and slaughter of these beings. If I can get them to think differently and alter their perception then they may start to do the research and question their own actions and participation in “our machine”.
    Thank you Jo-Anne, Liz and everyone else involved in this documentary.

  7. Pat Blake July 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    • Pat Blake July 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Ha! I didn’t leave my comment oops…
      I attended the Dublin screening of “The ghosts in Our machine” on Sat evening 26th july 2014. My wife Dina and I – Yep that’s us in the pic – and I am very glad that I did attend.
      We travelled up from the country especially to see it and it was a wonderful bonus that the movies director Liz Marshall was there. To hear at first hand some of the methodology and reasoning from her gave us an insiders view.. Both of us were frankly bowled over with Liz’s articulate but always gracious manner one particular point she made during the Q & A about veganism being more than just a food issue but rather for her, it represented a mindset, an evolution in awareness and consciousness regarding her own world view. This resonated with Dina and I and we both found it extremely persuasive and compelling.
      The movie, brilliantly and cleverly titled “Ghosts” made, we thought, an irrefutable and irrebuttable case on behalf of the ‘ghosts’.
      Super and an invaluable work, a contribution that will be seen to be on the right side of history. Congratulations all round.

  8. Lís Leahy July 27, 2014 at 6:19 am

    For me all of the scenes touched my heart but I suppose the ones that stick out in my mind are the caged foxes & mink ( I have only ever seen photographs) just the look in their eyes & the conditions they live in are horrifying and I cannot understand how this is allowed to happen.

    I really admire Jo-Anne’s and Liz’s bravery and courage in capturing these animals stories and producing such a powerful and inspiring movie. I really do hope the movie can be shown in theatres worldwide, more people need to see the harsh reality of what happens to our non human friends.

    Save a life, Go Vegan!

  9. Chantal Goodey July 23, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I went vegan as soon as I had watched this film doc. No longer a struggle to become vegan. I just wish the film doc could have been harder hitting and really focused on shock tactics. It should have really focused much more on animal rights and mans inhumanity to the animals. For instance, an expose from PETA could have had a 5 minute focus. The public need to see what happens from start to finish. Thank you for what you are doing for the animals.

  10. Rachel July 21, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    This documentary is not as graphic as some of the ones of seen about animal welfare. I loved the fact they captured the personalities if these animals and showed how amazing they are as individuals. It’s a great documentary to watch. I think more of these need to be made and put out to the public. It’s what made me go vegan and hopefully more people will open their eyes to what is going on behind closed doors.

  11. Nicole Van Zyl July 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I watched the film this past weekend in Durban, South Africa.

    As someone who has always advocated for animal rights and lives a vegetarian lifestyle,the film was a great reaffirmation of what I believe in and stand for. I found the film to be very informative and a great introduction to the suffering of animals for those who aren’t as conscious or aware of their plight. Touching on a couple of different areas where animal cruelty occurs out of sight and behind closed doors, ‘the ghosts’ in our machine are revealed to us throughout the film.

    The scene that I still, days later cannot get out of my head was the scene with the cows being slaughtered.There were many disturbing images and scenes throughout the film such as the animal testing labs and fur farms but I have seen images and films exposing them before and had a basic idea of what we would see. Actually seeing exactly how the cows are pushed along the conveyor belt to their death and watching that exact moment, landing lifeless one on top of the other made me double over in pain. That scene will haunt me for the rest of my life.

    I cannot help but find these scenes and images to be reminiscent of the holocaust. I know that drawing this comparison to the suffering of the Jewish people would enrage many people, but to my mind I cannot differentiate between the two.I remember feeling the exact same way, seated head in hands, heart heavy, when learning about the Holocaust as a child. Common threads of children being torn from mothers,the weak being left to die or killed, bodies lining up for mass slaughter, intertwine the two worlds and tell the same story. A story of great injustice and gross cruelty to innocents.

    As I mentioned, I have always advocated for animal rights and have been a vegetarian since I was 18 but I was ashamed at how naive I have been when it comes to the dairy industry. My thoughts were always that it didn’t hurt the cows so it was excusable. My eyes have been torn wide open. And not only mine but my mother, whom I brought with me to watch the film. Having eaten meat her whole life, my mother has vowed with me to start living a vegan life.

    Apart from the educational aspect of the film, I found myself deeply inspired by Joann McArthur and her work. As an artist myself I am now more determined than ever to use my gift to help raise awareness for the cause.

    Thank you for this insightful and thought provoking film, I wish that everyone in the world could see this and get the conversation of change and compassion on everyone’s minds. I will definitely be recommending this film to anyone who inquires about my beliefs and hope that they too have their eyes opened.

  12. Becki July 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    1. Straight after watching, it was the scenes of acute suffering that I couldn’t get out of my head. The things I recalled most vividly were the tortured eyes of the foxes in the cages, and the sequence detailing the horrors inflicted upon that poor pregnant pig. The way the tenderness of some of the close-ups – skin, fur, the soft eyes of a cow – were juxtaposed with images of terrible suffering made me identify with the animals on screen in a very visceral, personal way, and I’ve found that emotion – that sense of painful intimacy – very hard to forget. (And, obviously, it’s something I don’t want to/shouldn’t forget.)
    2. The message I took away from TGIOM was that, just like us, animals feel, animals suffer, and animals have rights. This was something I already believed – but the film made me really feel it.
    3. I went to see the film because I wanted to write about it in the newspaper I’m currently working at, The Telegraph. (The article/interview with Liz went up last week =) ) I’m already vegan and already committed to animal causes/conservation causes, but I remember looking at the trailer/website for TGIOM and thinking that it looked like a really interesting film – one with the potential to engage with many people, rather than just speak to the already-converted. I reserved my judgement until after I’d actually seen the film itself, but ended up being pretty impressed by its eloquence and power (and really quite stunning cinematography.) I also interviewed Liz Marshall and was equally impressed by how articulate and persuasive she was in person.

    Ever since I was young, I’ve always been almost apologetic about my own commitment to animal issues – scared of being labelled an extremist, or shouted down, or told I’m being “stupid” or “irrational.” So I think the thing I’ve learnt is that it’s possible to speak up for animals and actually get people to listen.

    4. My pledge? To actually speak up more for animals/animal causes.

    • lizmars July 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      Rebecca Hawkes,
      You have done a great service to the issue, and I know I can say, with confidence, that we are all so grateful.
      Yes, it is “possible to speak up for animals and actually get people to listen”. Thank you.

      For the Ghosts,

      Liz

  13. Conflict John July 20, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I was at the Glasgow premier and had the privilege to address Liz with a question on Ag-Gag and the global conspiracy of corporations and governments to silence those speaking out on animal advocacy, to effectively brand whistleblowing on cruelty as a crime and to brand those who liberate tortured animals as terrorists.

    I also loved how Liz raised in the QA that Human and Animal Rights are intertwined. For those of you who are new to animal rights, this has been a concept that’s stretched back to the beginning of the movement which was credited to Peter Singer. This is a very important concept, to acknowledge animals have rights, you have to embrace that all humans have equal rights, animal rights cannot happen without it.

    But regarding the film.

    1. Is there a scene, an image, or a moment that stands out the most for you? If so, please explain.

    As always, there’s never really any scene of suffering from the mink and foxes in cages, to the beagles in the labs, to the “slaughter-factories” that specifically stands out. How can you acknowledge that one animals suffering is more horrendous than another. The whole film was a work of love and despair for me, and while the term enjoyment may be out of context to describe it, you’ll know what I mean.

    2. What is your take-away? Meaning, how would you describe the overall meaning of the film and/or its impact?

    I started being an animal rights supporter in the early 90s, but lost my connection with it, normal lives and all, but by the end of the last decade, I’d found my zeal again, For me, the message is that we need more photo-journalism to highlight animal suffering and greater promotion of animal rights as a goal beyond better animal welfare. While the film is not an Earthlings or Death On A Factory Farm, I would perceive that it challenges non-vegans to consider their choices, without necessarily being confrontational or making them feel inferior. From this perspective, I believe while I enjoy watching films that “preach to the choir” this is a great film that could be aired on national TV networks to make people more aware of what they’re doing to sentient beings.

    3. Has the film changed your perspective, or your life in a tangible way? If so, please explain the details.

    AR supporter/Vegan, don’t think there’s anything about me that could change any further, except to be more active in campaigns, not just on Facebook.

    4. What is your pledge (promise) to animals?

    My pledge is to find a productive outlet to my anger and my skills, like Jo-Anne, to become a better animal advocate and raise awareness.

    Respect to Liz & Jo-Anne, and all involved in making this documentary and good luck with it’s syndication.

    • lorena elke July 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      “The whole film was a work of love and despair…” This is one of the most accurate way of describing the film I have seen. Thank you for your words and insight, Conflict John!

  14. Jane Easton July 19, 2014 at 9:18 am

    There were so many moments that stick in my mind – the foxes and the gorillas. The dairy cows too – I feel such a bond with these abused, exploited animals. But strangely enough, what made me really crack was the rescued beagle having to be shown how to walk up stairs; she was helped with such tenderness and it served as a heartbreaking reminder of how little tenderness she or other abused animals receive in their lives. She was so lucky – but she shouldn’t have to be ‘lucky’ – her fate should not be so random. It also emphasised just how confined and unnatural and terrifying her life had been.

    I think this film is groundbreaking – I’m a vegan and also work for a vegan campaign group in the UK so I see lot of terrible images. But I’ve been juggling with the idea of how do we get non vegetarians to watch films about animal suffering – there is such a huge resistance. I do think this will – and is already – having a profound effect in that it’s non-judgmental, very tender in places and not just about how horrible the human race/meat-eaters/farmers etc etc are to animals. It doesn’t pull punches but it isn’t gratuitous either.

    Seeing Liz Marshall speak at both the screening I saw and also seeing her on BBC tv and in the Telegraph article made me grateful that the film has such an articulate, non-confrontational but honest advocate. She has done amazing work both in making the movie and also promoting it with skill and persuasiveness. I very much hope that the combination of the two will help it reach the people who need to see it – and that in turn will help more animals to avoid the fates we know awaits them.

  15. Miriam A. July 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    There were many very strong scenes in the film that really moved me, especially since Jo is such an incredibly talented photographer; however: the scenes with the foxes on the fur farm and the pigs touched me most. How people can tolerate such suffering is a mystery to me. No living being should have to endure it. The pain, fear and agony were absolutely tangible.
    How Jo manages to do this job, I don’t know. Leaving those farms without rescuing the animals; leaving them behind, knowing that they will continue to suffer . . . those images will surely never leave her.

    I think the overall meaning / impact of the film is a very important one. It has the power to get people thinking and to connect more with other animals. I really hope that ‘The Ghosts in our Machine’ will be shown at schools and universities for future generations to make the connection. It should be shown everywhere. It is an educational film without the intention of being judgmental towards people who still eat meat.

    I am already vegan and I usually avoid watching documentaries about animal suffering, but I have to say that it is always good to remind myself of the conditions that are still in place; to remind myself why it is worth fighting for animal rights and to educate people. Thank you for reminding me of that, Liz & Jo.

    My pledge to animals is that I will stay vegan and do everything in my power to make people aware of the circumstances animals are living in, without being patronising.

    Miriam

  16. kate elliott July 13, 2014 at 5:06 am

    1.The moment was fleeting. Jo was photographing the chimpanzees and gorilla in the zoo. She seemed to brace herself just for a couple of beats before putting the camera back up to her face to frame the next shot. It was like a world in a water drop moment. Encapsulating what it means to bear witness to the lives of animals, where every animal is an individual and every animal deserves better & the feeling that you could be the one to make a difference to that individual. But most of the time you don’t because the machine is bigger than you and you know you can’t change all of their lives but it doesn’t stop you thinking that perhaps you should for this one that you have just locked eyes with… and the emotional effect this has on us. It also reminded me how isolating seeing ‘entertainment’ animals can be because the suffering is veiled by family ‘fun’ and we feel more connected with another species than our own.

    My take-away was that it ain’t going to be easy to encourage people to take the blinkers off but I do believe there will be a tipping point when people will be keen to publish the stories and images of animals and their treatment. One of the ways to do this is to produce work (docos,photojournalism etc) that is so darn good the distributors and publishers can’t help themselves but get on-board! Mission accomplished with this project ; )

    I went away feeling fortunate that animals have highly skilled creatives working to tell their stories to a broader audience.

    Also, the importance of farm sanctuaries in redefining our relationship with animals.

    My pledge to the animals is to dismantle the machine one piece at a time – Johnny Cash style (except NO reassembling) and tell ghost stories far and wide until they are ghosts no more !

  17. Karen Rowell July 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    1. Is there a scene, an image, or a moment that stands out the most for you? If so, please explain.

    There was no particular scene, image or moment that stood out more than the rest. The entire documentary was incredibly moving. It was so beautifully shot and the story was a good balance of the exploitation in the various animal industries that were the subject and the organisations that work so hard to rescue abused animals.

    2. What is your take-away? Meaning, how would you describe the overall meaning of the film and/or its impact?

    Animals are not ours to use. But this use and abuse is so ingrained in our society that bringing this into the mainstream in order to generate awareness and create empathy is an enormous challenge.

    3. Has the film changed your perspective, or your life in a tangible way? If so, please explain the details.

    It actually made me feel better and more hopeful that this documentary has been made and is getting some exposure.

    4. What is your pledge (promise) to animals?

    I’m already vegan but I’m going to keep being a voice for the animals.

  18. Sue Ripley July 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    You made a very beautiful film.
    I thought it was beautifully shot and the emotional timing- the moments of respite were perfect.

  19. Fiona McRostie July 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    11th July 2014 – Melbourne – Australia . I must say i was very fearful of watching this film. I have never allowed myself to watch any film that exposes what i know in my heart is the reality about the treatments of animals . However, even though i cried from start to finish i thought the film was truly brilliant. The blend of images, the way the story was told allowed you e to connect in on a metal level but more so on a feeling level and this is where change starts. To answers the questions
    1. There so many scenes and image that stood out ..the fox in the cage and the dolphin at the end just laying there by side of the pool as if he/she had completely surrendered in spirit to human demands His/her soul was diminished. ….so sad
    2. To me, the overall meaning of the film is that as humans we have a responsibility to re- write the definition of our relationship with other species. Because they don’t look like us they are judged as inferior ..this is been perpetuated through history ..the film asks us to challenge that mental concept. The other message was to remember there is always hope and to never give up, play a part no matter how small.
    3. Watching the film has empowered and made me even more determined to speak up for those who have no voice and to educate others.
    4. My pledge to all non human sentient beings is that i will dedicate my life to having them lawfully recognized as sentient beings with right and to help create a world which is safe for them.

  20. Magda July 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I loved how it was written like a story within a story. A gentle blend of heart and kindness within what is a most most foul and rotting industry, and lets face it, all industry where animals are exploited is foul and revolting.
    Thank you to Jo for putting herself forward like that in a most genuine and honest manner. You are exactly the same when I met you to how you are on the film. You work straight from the heart. And Liz, you wove the magic to shine the truth in a way that isn’t hard to watch, but hard to ignore. Thank you

  21. Paul Mahony July 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

    1. Perhaps the stand-out scene for me was the final one, with the poor dolphin stranded at the side of the pool enclosure, in a totally foreign and demeaning environment, with the voice-over pointing out that it’s not a matter of giving animals rights; they already have them.
    2. Ghosts was beautifully filmed and superbly paced, allowing us to absorb subtle yet clear messages about our relationship with non-human animals.
    3. The film has reinforced my existing views. It is comforting and empowering to be reminded that others also perceive the insanity that seems inherent in humans’ approach to the planet and its non-human inhabitants.
    4. My pledge to animals is to continue to fight for them by highlighting the gross injustices that are inherent in humans’ approach to others, and not accepting the blinkers and blind spots that exist.

  22. Marcela Prochon July 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I bought the documentary and watched it at home a couple of times. It is a very moving film. It describes and shows the relationship currently established between human and nonhuman animals. There are images that will move you because it shows the sad reality some animals endure, but nothing gruesome. There’s also a beautiful part where the photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, who is compiling images, takes solace in spending some time amongst rescued animals in farm sanctuary, where you can appreciate the loving and trustworthy relationship that could easily be established with the nonhuman animals.
    I recommend watching it. It’s changed many minds and strengthen those already on the right path of change. :)

  23. Inka July 11, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I’d like to see it. But unfortunately there is not yet the opportunity to see it in puplic or online in Germany. Maybe i’m going to buy one video…
    Thank you

  24. Nerissa July 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Saw it last night at Film Conscious Movie nights.. am more motivated to go Vegan now… and I REALLY want to do something about the fur industry… working on it.. will get back to you with ideas and support. Thank you for your determination and compassion. The whole world needs to behave more kindly and ethically. We will get there… small steps lead to giant leaps. Much love, much respect

  25. Carolyn Burley June 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I watched this documentary last night. It broke my heart to think there is such cruelty in our world. The image of the dog in the cage has haunted me especially when it was trying to bark. I’m sure the dog was trying to communicate and say please don’t leave me. Please reassure me this poor helplesss animal was rescued from it’s deplorable conditions.

    • lizmars June 24, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Carolyn, thanks for your heartfelt comments. You will notice that I placed the images you are referring to right before Jo says “Leaving is the hardest thing … leaving is the hardest part of my work.” The tragic and helpless image of the white fox haunts us to this day. We were there to document the appalling unspeakable conditions, to show the world, to help shine a light on the invisible animals, the “ghosts”. An organization doing excellent work in North America is the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals: http://furbearerdefenders.com/. Please check out their work. You can also go to our LEARN MORE section on our website.

      For the Ghosts,

      Liz Marshall

  26. Min Sook Lee June 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for the film, beautiful, painful and thought provoking. Just saw it with my class, and I know it had huge impact. I think the students will be submitting more comments later.

  27. Min Sook Lee June 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Just saw it with my class, very powerful. Thank you Liz. More comments to come from my students and me later.

  28. Jude Berry June 5, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Ghosts has a highly sensitive camera. The camera not only sees; it feels. The film isn’t, and isn’t meant to be, an exposition on the state of species-atrocity in our world today. Nor does it concern itself with argumentation, exhortation, or rhetorical devices per se. It only invokes. The crew seems to firmly believe: in transports are imports. Thus the viewer is carried off from the golden pastoral sun of California, to a soulful, intimate journey, and, unwitting, plunges into the darkest hour of humanity which we live in.

    If Riane Eisler is right, then humankind joined the dark side three or four millennia ago, when the blade-obsessed, patriarchal, dominator tribes subjugated the peaceable, joy-of-life and inclusive civilizations. If Will Tuttle is right, then our fall into a 21st century death-worshiping cult started when we first exercised tyranny over other animals — thus even the sophisticated, harmony-centered Minoan Cretan culture admired by Eisler contained the seed of evil. In either case, if heaven is only a place on earth, then so is hell. Ghosts offers an intimate tour, a wounding glimpse of the Inferno of our age on a blue dragonfly’s wings. When we behold the flames through that fragile transparency, we may not yet comprehend the burning, but we at least grasp our complicity in the flitting.

  29. Candice June 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I first saw the film at the 2013 Hot Docs Documentary Festival in Toronto, and was lucky to be able to stay for the Q&A with Jo-Anne and Liz after the screening.

    In a way I feel fortunate that I was already vegan when I went to see the film; some of the scenes were very hard to watch. That said, being vegan certainly doesn’t absolve me of any responsibility to the animals! After all, I am still a consumer and I live in the world – animal abuse in testing labs is just as big an issue as eating animals (or animal produced products like milk).

    There were several moments in the movie that really struck me – the frightened look on the foxes faces, the interview where Jo-Anne admits she has PTSD, Sonny laying on the ground, scared but about to be rescued. But the biggest, most horrifying is the scene where the cows are taken through the slaughterhouse to their deaths. When I saw the automated gun, I had to look away, I couldn’t watch. Every time I think of that scene I think about both the meat industry and the dairy industry and it strengthens my resolve not to contribute to them.

    This should be essential watching for everyone, so they can better understand what really goes on behind the scenes in the industries featured in the film, and so they can learn to practice compassion for the non-human animals who share the planet with us.

  30. Vincenzo Lerose June 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    hi i just just just saw your movie at cinemambiente environmental festival (turin, italy) and i liked it really much…
    it was intense, very well shot and i enjoyed cos it was not using tons of shocking sequences to indoctrinate people or merely sell an idea as the truth but it was a pleaseant trip through such an important issue.
    the most important scenes for me are the ones in which you can see how smart, kind and “human” are animals that you usually see (or been taught too see) as just gross and good to be eaten… like pigs for example…
    that’s what i still noticing the most ‘cos i grown without any direct animal experience (just cos it happened) and so i’ve grown with a sort of diffidence towards animals… but luckily things have changed cos i had the chance to meet persons who had different kind of perspectives and experiences so after a whole life of fear-like feelings for animals i’m become to be willing of trying another point of view feeling like i kinda missing a part of the world…. in this process i started eating less meat (actually because i just feel better doing it) and it’s possible to see myself stop eating it quite soon… i don’t find it necessary if i can have a choice…
    anyway being european or italian is quite interesting cos we’re really smaller than USA or such contintent-like countries, so we still have chances to buy healty meat or cruel-free meat from our trusted butcher, and even our industrial meat (usually) have some kind of ethical issue because ppl here is more educated about and more demanding (i guess) but i think people take that for granted, while we should understand that if our unreasonable and unconditioned meat demand still grows we will fall in a massive industrial era from which coming back will be impossible…
    anyway i think that films like this are important cos they tend to describe great ideas throught quite small and personal journeys (as “our” photographer’s)..
    my pledge to animals is to get to know them better (as many other things in the world i must say) and respect them as i wish a superior alien from universe would respect me without just eating me cos it seems i have no feeling or i’m not capable of thinkg (compared to their possible standards)..
    so that’s it..
    i dunno if everythings i said make sense or it’s even understandable but i tried..
    good work..
    see you around..

    V L

  31. Jim June 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I just got my copy of the DVD and while I found the movie compelling I feel it stopped short. While well produced and beautifully filmed, I was hoping there would be less about the making of the film and more about the condition of the animals and ways to help. The film does powerfully illustrates the needless suffering humans impose on animals, but it only offers one Veganism as a solution. We need ways to affect the machine as the exploitation of animal by humans is not likely to end anytime soon. We should treat the animals humanely if we are going to use them for food. The fur industry should be eliminated, as with technology we have no need for animal fur. This film should be shown in every school in the nation.

  32. Sharon L. Regan May 26, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I live in West Newton, MA (next to Boston) & recently saw “Ghosts” @ a screening in Cambridge MA. Seeing into the eyes of these animals with the film’s intimate lens created a connection to these (& all) animals that I have never experienced before. (I am an animal lover & strong advocate for their rights to start out with.) Liz & JoAnne draw one right into the hearts & souls of these creatures we share the earth with & help to give us a deeper, more felt sense of why we need to respect them as our neighbors. It gives a rationale for cooperative existence, even if one is not an “animal person” that starts with the heart & sists securely with science as well. I wish it could be in all the schools, both elementary & high school levels so all kids could have the opportunity to think at all angles about their relationship to animals & the socities we live in.

  33. Troy May 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I watched this movie as part of the Documentary Edge Festival in Auckland today. I absolutely loved it and can’t rate it highly enough. It will definitely appeal to those who are already converted to the idea that animals are treated as another nation, which we appear to be at war with. However, I think it will also appeal to others who try to understand the world around them and why there are so many people so very passionate about exposing the horrors of animal exploitation. We constantly complain about how the media keep us ill informed of the real issues, yet so many people are not interested in viewing any images that reflect the horrors of reality. This documentary shows the difficulty of engaging the mainstream media in such issues and through the eyes of someone who has chosen to dedicate her life to exposing reality in an attempt to get people to change how they perceive and interact with animals. We also get introduced to a range of very unique animal personalities, such as a rescue cow and her calf, and a rescue pig and her gorgeous rambunctious piglets- they all live in an animal sanctuary now. We also get to lock eyes with those who are not so fortunate- and we know that their fate lies with changes in market attitudes, such as not buying fur, not eating meat, not visiting dolphinariums or zoos. It seems like a massive challenge; to change consumer behaviours that are so ingrained in people’s psyche but at least Jo-Anne McArthur is trying.

  34. Candice Menzies Yesk May 24, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Attended the Bay Area premiere last night and I’m in awe of this film! Ms. McArthur’s dogged determination in obtaining the photos & documenting these horrors is heroism of the first order. Ms. Marshall’s artistry & thoughtfulness in presenting the message in impactful & meaningful. This is the film that can change thinking, but so artistic in the way the beautiful souls of the animals are front & center. Currently a vegetarian, this film has spurred me to make a commitment to be vegan! ALDF helped present the film and also had some insightful dialogue with the audience members.
    See this film – it will change the way you think!

  35. Troy May 24, 2014 at 1:08 am

    I found this movie poignant and provocative. For me, the scene with the pigs in the slaughter trucks really moved me, as did the scene with all of the meat. It is such a massive task to get people to consider going vegetarian, let alone vegan. I wonder how we could get to a tipping point where we don’t see animals as a commodity but as individuals?

  36. Monica DuClaud May 12, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    How can this important documentary be viewed in Mexico? I have many informal connections with passionate animal rights activists in Mexico (mainly Mexico City). I’m sure they would welcome any way to view it and share it, online or screened.

  37. Jane O'Hara May 11, 2014 at 10:59 am

    so so happy to meet Jo-Anne McArthur and Liz Marshall all the way from Toronto, at the premiere for The Ghosts in Our Machine This is an extremely moving documentary, I highly recommend because as it features Jo and her photography you get to know these animals in ways I’ve never seen in a movie/documentary. Beautiful filmaking right down to Radiohead at credits. a loving portrayal of the dilemma. Please see it, and ty again Jo for putting 5 great photos in Beasts show!

  38. Mary Robles May 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    1. The white fox has haunted me since I saw the trailer for this movie. It is a pure image of a living soul confronting doom.
    2. I left feeling hopeful and encouraged. This film depicts startling and overwhelming violence but in such a way that I could watch it with my mom and perhaps change her mind about supporting factory farms. And it’s wonderful to know that there are friends to fight alongside; we must support each other as a community, and I felt part of that community as I watched the film.
    3. Yes. I was nearly vegan and now I’ve made the full commitment. My boyfriend has also.
    4. I promise to be brave, to never look away, and to fight against animal cruelty no matter how impossible the fight may seem.

  39. Ed Rutledge May 9, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you for coming to Boston and sharing this incredible work of yours. Ghosts is one of the most, if not the most, beautifully filmed and constructed documentaries I’ve ever seen. And it is surely the most moving and powerful film I’ve ever seen regarding our complex, and frankly shameful and abhorrent, relationships with the sentient beings among us, hidden from us, that we call animals. To be able to look through Liz and Jo-Anne’s lenses into the eyes of beings whom we know to be fully present and to possess the senses and faculties to know and experience deeply the unfathomable suffering we impose on them for the most fleeting, trifling and unjustifiable purposes imaginable is an experience not soon to be forgotten and one which should be widely shared and experienced. The astonishingly beautiful sanctuary scenes (as well as being in the presence of those on the front lines of active compassion, and among those involved and interested in being the change) were a source of great joy and hope for a future of compassion, empathy and liberation for the ghosts and for all beings.

  40. Kathy Downey May 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Saw The Ghosts in Our Machine last night.Compelling. Haunting. Disturbing. Inspiring. Brave photographer Jo-Anne McArthur and visionary film maker Liz Marshall expose the clandestine and pervasive industry that commits horrific abuses against those animals whom we as a society view as commodities: whether to eat, wear, or otherwise exploit. In the film, we see the faces of these animals and, as we look into their eyes, a glimpse into their souls. See this film. It will inspire you to look into your own soul. And help.

  41. Theodora Capaldo,.Ed.D May 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Last night NEAVS sponsored Ghosts’ Boston screening. Some 175 people attended. The response was that of people all over the world: “inpspiring”, “compelling”, “beautiful,” “important”. If you have not seen it, you can now do so online. For those of us who care, and those of us who wonder why we do, Ghosts with its whispered prayer of solidarity with the animals will show you.

  42. Linda Nelson May 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    This is the best animal rights film I have had the privilege to view.

    What got to me, and what I hope moves others was the raw emotion on the faces of both the victims and those who seek to document their suffering.

    That is what I think sets this film apart. The suffering of the ghosts was mirrored back in the crumpled faces of the humans, and reveals just how sordid is our use of their bodies and their spirits.

    I find it hard to fathom that decent people wouldn’t seek change in themselves after watching this film. While watching it, I yearned to save the animals and also, to save Jo-Anne from the need to do this work.

    No one should have to look at what she has seen. Everyone should want to protect her from the imperative of her mission, and the only way to do that is to change.

    This film won’t change me; I’ve changed already, but if I were to be asked to name a film that speaks to my deepest concerns and convictions, I would name this film.

  43. Kristin May 6, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I watched the film and was changed forever! It is remarkable how you tell the story of these animals that are abused, mistreated and degraded daily. I have been a vegetarian for the past 2 years and lately have been living a mostly vegan lifestyle. I’m vegan now and I have you to thank. Thank you for making the intimate connection between human and animal so real for me. I have already started sharing your film and will continue to applaud your efforts.

  44. Yifat May 6, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Hi,
    is there any way to watch it in Israel?

  45. Emma Whittaker April 20, 2014 at 5:28 am

    I have just watched this most incredible documentary, the Ghosts In Our Machine. Wow. Truly powerful on so many levels. I cannot encourage others to watch it enough. Thank you to Jo-Anne and all the others who made this unbelievably important film,I am deeply grateful to you all.
    Each of the souls featured stands out for me in their own unique way but I am so thankful that at the start there was a small section of film of a horse. The horse was a beautiful bay stood in harness on a busy street. Horses, I find are often over looked when it comes to animal rights by the outside world. They are subjected to so much torment, torture and restricted from even the most simplest of their basic needs. I think the silence of that scene also illustrated perfectly the fact that horses will not cry out or scream even if on the inside they are.
    I was already a vegan before watching this film and I am deeply thankful that I am. I always feel however that there is always more that can be done and I will continue to look into every avenue for the most ethical ways to live.
    I am blessed to have a beautiful peaceful home with land that I share with four horses, 2 dogs, 10 cats and a vast array of wild birds, mammals and insects that have chosen to join us.
    I will be passing this film onto as many people as I can in the hope that one by one people will open their eyes and see the suffering and realise that they can play a part in ending it. I think that was also a brilliant aspect of the film in that it showed that as individuals we can all have an impact.
    Thank you again.

  46. Bogar Felix April 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    It was probably for the best that I was already vegan, a shiny new one, on April 28, 2013, the day a friend had chosen for us to go watch the premiere of “The Ghosts in Our Machine.” Had I still been a pre-vegan, in the grip of apathy and hopelessness regarding all things to do with social justice or animal rights, the film would’ve been more painful to watch than it turned out to be, simply because of the acute embarrassment-bordering-on-shame that found a nest in my gut as Jo-Anne McArthur delivered line after line of simple, self-evident, powerful truths.

    The memory of the invitation is fresh: my wonderful friend sent a link and suggested that “Ghosts” should be really good. I read the info and sketched a basic impression of what the film might portray, and decided that it would be the typical bleeding heart feel-good piece seen here and there: a worthwhile effort, but hardly special.

    I truly had no idea. My eyes had only begun to open, even as a longtime (on and off) vegetarian recently turned vegan.

    “The Ghosts in Our Machine” changed my life. Jo-Anne’s comment “dairy is one of the cruelest industries” was a body blow, a gut kick, because of the many years I spent weakly rationalizing and justifying my consumption of some animal products. (The nonsense was of this type, which I expect is typical: “since it’s not necessary to kill the cow in order to get the milk, then cheese is acceptable”; “eggs are totally fine because hens lay them anyway.”)

    I experienced an intensely emotional response to the compassion,love, commitment and strength that the film shows, as well as the suffering and outrage at what humanity continues to inflict on those who are most defenseless. When the Toronto Pig Save portion rolled on screen and we watched the dedicated rabble-rousers on Lake Shore Blvd., I was sold. I didn’t simply think, “Hey! That could be me doing that.” I actually felt more: “Hey! That *should* be me!” I joined Toronto Pig Save a few months later and also started helping with vegan education outreach in public settings.

    I owe a huge debt to those who motivated me to finally stop participating in the exploitation of animals, to start taking an active part in helping others stop as well, and to take a step in finding my voice, long silenced. Liz Marshall and Jo-Anne, and the entire film crew: Thank you. Toronto Pig Save and all others working towards the abolition of animal exploitation: Thank you for showing us newbies the way and for being so welcoming.

    And to my wonderful, beautiful friend: You were the original spark, the best example of boundless compassion and hope against all odds, and you continue to inspire me. Thank you.

  47. TEYZoo April 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

    2. What is your take-away? Meaning, how would you describe the overall meaning and/or impact?
    3. Has the film changed your perspective, or your life in a tangible way? If so, please explain.
    4. What is your pledge (promise) to animals?

    Saw the film last night at a screening in Philadelphia thanks to Kevin and the Animal Activists of Philly. I already knew about Jo-Anne’s work and have her book. What stood out for me most were the scenes of the fur farms –I guess it’s because I haven’t seen them before, while I have seen so much footage of factory farms of animals for food. I was also struck but the courage of Jo-Anne and through her all those others doing this kind of work. I am so glad and grateful that Liz chose to feature Farm Sanctuary –as a respite in the film from the horrors of animal abuse, and also to show animals as they are when allowed to be themselves. (also because Farm Sanctuary was the catalyst for my becoming vegan)
    My takeaway is renewed conviction to work for societal change in the way we view/treat animals. I don’t think the film changed my perspective, but it helped strengthen my conviction. I pledge to keep working to spread the truth about animals and to change society’s relationship with animals.

    Thank you Liz and Jo-Anne. xoxoxo

  48. Tommy Knowles April 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    hands down the best animal rights documentary to date. beautifully shot and allows the viewer to see into the soul of the amazing creatures we share planet earth with. as activists, we too often see the tragic side of animal rights. Jo-Anne’s time at Farm Sanctuary is time we all need to take in order to heal ourselves and move forward as animal rights activists. thank you for this film! make the compassionate choice, GO VEGAN :)

  49. Sarah Bexell April 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    We were so lucky to be able to host a screening of Ghosts and even more, have Liz and Jo-Anne with us. It was a truly inspirational night.

    I feel the major strength of the film is that it is hard hitting but after segments that are emotionally difficult, sometimes extremely so, there are then segments that give hope, happiness and reason to fight – that we CAN be part of the solution, that animals can heal and forgive and live healthy happy lives because of our efforts.

    I also think that it allows people to start seeing who is on their plate, not what it on their plate, not just what is placed on your shoulders in the name of fashion and displays of wealth, but who suffered and died for your luxury. So many people just never put that together and this film is the first I have seen that make it clear and present the truth in a way that more people can accept and start to assimilate into their hearts and minds, and importantly, personal lifestyles.

    Liz and Jo are heroes, they are brave, they inspire us to be better creatures!

  50. Debra Roppolo April 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Beautifully shot and thoughtfully edited. I’ve heard a number of people say they’re afraid to see it. Don’t be. This ultimately hopeful film will take on an journey you won’t regret. You’ll follow renowned photographer Jo-Anne McArthur as she documents the plight of animals trapped in a world dominated by humans — but it’s a world that can change, that indeed IS changing, thanks to the work of McArthur and others like her. And you’ll see the enormous good in the world, here represented by the heaven that is Farm Sanctuary. See this film, let it move you, let it make you think…and then act on what you’ve seen.

  51. Michelle April 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

    It has taken me several days since watching the documentary to feel ready to post my comment here. I found the film devastating and it basically knocked me flat for a full 24 hours after watching it (after which I read as much of We Animals as I could handle). My first thought as the film started was that I would never be able to summon the strength to witness the things Jo-Anne does and walk away. I don’t think my body and brain would allow it to happen and I would have to intervene and open cages or do something impulsive. I truly appreciate the fact there are people in this world who are willing, at their own emotional expense, to bear witness to the atrocities conveniently ignored by so many. Jo-Anne captures her experiences so beautifully and presents words and images to us in such a palatable way – it gives me hope that some eyes and minds will be opened. I often struggle not to lose faith in humankind. It feels like we have learned nothing from the horrors of the past (slavery, genocides) and continue to seek out others (human or otherwise) to supress and exploit. Though The Ghosts In Our Machine haunted me and knocked the wind out of me, I am very glad it exists. Thank you Jo-Anne and Liz.

  52. Kelli Clark March 29, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Hi. I saw the film at the University of Denver’s screening last night. The film was beautiful, profound, essential. I was very moved and needed some time to process before even really being able to speak. Jo’s life and Liz’ portrayl of these issues and practices are remarkable.

    My intial comments are these:

    1. While I found seeing the foxes, cows, minks and dogs in such unspeakable conditions very difficult to see, what touched me most and evoked the most significant emotional response was the truck that drove by with all of the pigs who were being taken to be sold and then slaughtered. Then, the mama pig who was beaten, burned and confined. While looking into the eyes of those pigs and seeing their suffering, it brought me back to the first time I processed the reality that slavery and the holocaust were events that in fact occurred and for which I will never truly comprehend. The souls of all persons affected by oppression were highlighted for me in the eyes of the animals experiencing the same life events. The devaluing of any soul’s value is something I struggle with daily. How do you find the rationalization in the thought process and actions that justify such unspeakable horrors?

    2. What also struck me was how Jo’s journey resulted in her being diagnosed with PTSD, and logically so. What moved me was her commitment to seeing, documenting and sharing these atrocities as well as her commitment to self care in order to heal and remain committed to her advocacy. Her time at the sanctuary, I think now my favorite word in the English language, is what restored her in every soulful way. It reminded me that as a Social Worker, and an instructor, I need to practice the same. Building in time to restore your personal energies is crucial in the work of assisting souls to equal and just treatment. As a professional I am committing to an increased awareness of this need and as an instructor, I am committing to discussing this more with my students on an ongoing basis. …

    3. Seeing this film resulted in a significant realization that I need to change my personal habits, I need to be more aware of the choices I make and how they affect each one of the souls in that film. I spent hours last night researching alternative food and clothing choices to the ones I am currently making and am now also committed to embarking on more humane practices. I appreciated both Jo and Liz saying this is not a perfect journey but one worth considering. In one night I moved from little awareness, to hightened awareness and now action.

    Thank you for sharing this with us all and sincere respect for your work.

    Best, Kelli Clark

  53. Lisa Rimmert March 29, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I just watched the documentary this evening at the University of Denver, and I am so moved by it. Before I even address the issues it brings up, I must take a second to profusely compliment the beauty of the film. The filmography, the photography, the music and the story were all so incredibly well done. Bravo and brava to all involved.

    What stands out most to me was a line from the beginning of the film. Jo-Anne says something about how leaving the animals (after photographing them) haunts her. This really resonates with me. As an advocate for animals (though on a much smaller, less intense scale than Jo-Anne), I often feel overwhelmed, guilty for not doing more, ashamed to be human, etc. I want to be doing more; I want to be doing everything. It’s somehow simultaneously comforting and not-at-all comforting to know that such an amazing advocate, who spends her life working for animals, has similar feelings of sorrow.

    Thanks to Liz and Jo-Anne for making this film, and for traveling around to show and discuss it. You’re heroes to us all.

  54. Benji March 28, 2014 at 1:43 am

    WHAT WOULD THE GHOSTS OF THE DEAD SAY IF THEY WERE ABLE TO HAVE A VOICE?

    I just got done listening to a presentation you guys gave at my school the University of Northern Colorado about a documentary called “The Ghost In our Machine.” And I must begin by describing my personal experience of the seminar. The film firstly was a perfect balance of emotionality and factual/empirical evidence displayed in an open minded way. I was taken aback, made to think for myself, and most of all shown that there are people whom have compassion and empathy in this world, and that the few people who still have the capacity to be open and honest about the realities of the illusions the world is unable to see are the people WHO WILL MOVE/CHANGE the world. The world typically is only moved in one way or one direction. But now I see more clearly, in that I see that the most powerful way to change or move society in this world and that is through 2 things which are love and empathy for everyone… IT’S FRICKEN SIMPLE PEOPLE. These individuals that have brought these issues to the forefront are sooo courageous, and I just give them all the love and praise I can humanly throw their way. I actually brought my golden doodle dog “Charles” to the seminar, and the power of the film took hold over the person who understands this more than maybe I ever will. In the beginning of the video the film displays events that are taking place currently in which animals are being enslaved. These individuals or animals voices crying out, which were so powerful for my dog that before the video ended I decided to take him home (which was 2 seconds away from the university). Although, I will never forget his reaction to the voices of the documentary, “ghosts of the machine”. There is NO lack of courage within anyone displayed in this video, animal or human, which are categories that truly are one in the same. And that is the thing I think the world could use a heavy dose of, courage and empathy. For THE MINUTE WE START TAKING OURSELVES SERIOUSLY IS THE MINUTE WE HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER TO THE WORLD.
    Also, it was very powerful for me to see that the documenters did in fact live their beliefs instead of just preach them. One specific way that moved me, was not only the fact that they displayed all the animal’s names in the credits, but the simple fact that the animal names CAME BEFORE THE HUMAN NAMES!!
    This feeling that I experienced solely due to these empathic and loving humans have given me, more than I could have dreamed for…. Which is the unveiling of my illusions which is a feeling that I wish, that I will hold onto forever. These powerful rich truths have changed the entire paradigm of what I call myself, which has invariably released me from the shackles of the uncaring souls that walk like zombies with hallow minds following orders. The hallow/shallow souls which are a ball a chain for humanity will no longer enslave me. I have a choice, and I choose to love. This feeling I have at this very moment is one I wish to hold on to forever… I want to walk, I want to run, I want to enjoy and remember this moment forever. There are moments in our lives that we should live for and try to have EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, AND NO MORE will we live lies instead of lives!! Why have people forgot that the only thing that can truly transcend this life, that can last forever through our vessel, is love and connection, which has the power to change/move the world! Love is not in a book, it is not in a computer, it is not just inside ourselves. It is through our actions that we can touch other people’s lives… and we have a choice, do we do it with honesty or lies? What would the voices say of those who are enslaved say? The minute we give a face, a human appeal, or emotions to these lost souls is the minute that can’t ever destroy another…. We can’t kill; we can’t enslave those who we humanize. WITHOUT LOVE AND HONESTY WE HAVE NOTHING AT ALL. Who will practice what they preach? Will it be you? It’s a choice….. That’s the truth.
    AND never let go, never forget, and I realize this can be the motivation that I need and hopefully others as well to push each of us individually to our highest individual potentiality. I feel as though I have crossed a bridge into more of what I already am….And I just give soo much love to the people whom still have retained their hearts in the face of so much despair. Those are the people whom deserve all the love in this world…. what will you do to move this world?

  55. Jeff Widmer March 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    This movie sucked me in right from the beginning with some of the most beautiful and moody closeup shots of animals I’ve ever seen. After about five minutes into the movie, I knew it was going to be something special. Somehow Ghosts never lost touch of the focal point, the animals, and delivered a strong message without anything particularly too graphic or upsetting. A lot of the time I felt like I was right there with them. To me, that is pure magic as far as delivering a message regarding animal advocacy as I feel like it allows the audience to build a relationship with the animals. instead of them being presented as nameless individuals without their own unique personalities. The animals are talking to us, we just need to listen.

  56. Jaydene Lavallie March 16, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    While many souls in recent years have set out with a camera and a vision, none have managed to enunciate so delicately, yet profoundly, the case for animal rights as have Liz Marshall and Jo-Anne McArthur in The Ghosts in Our Machine. Tonight I had the privilege of attending a community screening of their film. Without the bombardment of graphic imagery, the film stirs within you a sense of tragedy and gravity. It walks the fine line between too far and not far enough. Jo-Anne McArthur typically builds bridges through her photography, where her subjects lie on the other side of the camera. In The Ghosts in Our Machine, Liz Marshall turns the lens around and we are offered a glimpse into the inner struggle of a dedicated soul. It is the palpable sincerity of Jo-Anne, lacking in all other films in its class, which has the power to make the connection between the potent message of the film and the public. We are all animals; like us, all other sentient beings are deserving of and entitled to respect and, quite simply, life. I sat there tonight, in a room full of warm bodies and hearts, and felt comforted that someone had managed to capture the urgency and the joy and the cause so compellingly in a film. But, as the lights come on, the realization sets in that out in the world there is much work to be done to convince others to choose the path of compassion. The Ghosts in Our Machine is a gift with which to do that.

  57. Rachel Bower March 12, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I had the opportunity to see this documentary in Halifax, Nova Scotia this past weekend.

    The story telling was beautiful; I was drawn into the documentary after the first two minutes. It was gorgeously shot and edited which allowed it to elegantly unfold.

    The result made me think, it made me open, it made me feel.

    I still start to weep when I think of the documentary. But its not a helpless or hopeless feeling. It left me feeling empowered, that we all can do something to shift and change our relationships with animals, and with ourselves.

  58. Nichole Vecchiola March 5, 2014 at 12:47 am

    On january 26, I was watching the documentary channel and just happened to catch this show. I have watched many documentaries in my day and I know this has been the most influential of all of them!!! A wonderful and unique documentary and so so devastating. Since I was “glued” to the tv throughout the show, i don’t think i choose a specific clip or section of the documentary that stood out for me, however, i think I might have fallen a little in love with Jo-Anne. Lol. Her heart for sure!!!

    Immediately, i started doing my homework and a week later, I gave up red meat. I gave up pork and fish the following week and poultry a week after that. In the last week, i switched over all of my products and gave up dairy. Athough it has only been just over a week, I can proudly call myself a vegan!!! I feel as though I am finally living more true to myself and my beliefs and that I’m finally becoming a part of the “solution” as opposed to a part of the “problem”. Though I have considered vegetarianism over the years, I was always too selfish to make a move. Most certainly, it is this documentary that changed all of that!!!

    Much love to Jo-Anne and Liz for opening my eyes and finally allowing me to live as the truly compassionate and gentle soul that I am!!! Much love to the others in the film and in the world, who dedicate their lives to saving and loving all of the innocent, helpless and beautiful animals in our world!!! Xoxoxo

  59. Tamara March 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    This was a moving, inspiring, haunting, and soul touching film. Thank you for having the courage to make this film and to all who are brave enough to document the suffering day after day. There were so many endearing and touching moments it is hard to say what touched me the most. The scenes from the slaughterhouse and the narrative on how using an animal’s behavior to exploit them was very powerful and it really made me angry. The rescue of the research beagle was also deeply moving. I could feel the relief wash over me though I know the journey into this new life for Abby would be hard. I really felt for Jo-Anne; her determination in the face of such cruelty is admirable and I cried when I heard her say that leaving was always the hardest because it would tear most of to shreds and she keeps doing it. My takeaway is that we need to stop hiding our ugliness as humans and confront it. The “inconveninece” as one narrator put it is no longer acceptable. I personally will pledge to make concious decisions when it comes to what I eat and put on my body and do my best to getting the word out about these ghosts. Well done. While the film was sad (as expected) it was hopeful in a subtle way, too, and I appreciate that.

  60. Matt Eckmann March 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    People of all ages should see this movie. It presents a number of important topics regarding animal rights in a unique way. The photographs (non-graphic) allow viewers to connect with animals as living things; not products and food. Liz mentions a desire to change the world by telling the stories of animals. This movie captures these stories brilliantly, and if enough people listen, the movie will change the world. I hope this movie has lots of success – the animals really need it!

  61. Gözde February 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I was at the screening in Stockholm yesterday. It was a full room. The screening was part of an event that focused on veganism and animal liberation so everyone in the audience was pretty engaged. Sometimes we cried and at other times we laughed. We liked that the movie did not focus only on the horrible things happening to the animals but there is also the rescue animals, showing us that there is hope. We found it to be quite inspiring, after the movie we were talking about what more we can do to help animals. Unfortunately, there is no place like Farm Sanctuary in Sweden for animals that are grown for food industry that one can volunteer in, but maybe it’s time for one to open… All in all, we thought it was a great documentary. I’m going to tell everyone I know to see it if they can. Thanks for making this documentary.

  62. star simmons February 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Went to the premiere last night at Valley Harkins, in Tempe, AZ. Being a veggie for 16 years and converting to a vegan in 2013 I have found myself tasked with awakening people on a daily basis. Out of everything I have accomplished in my life there is no greater passion for me then being a voice for the voiceless. The dedication that Jo-Anne has taken to make this film is something that is so beautiful and heartfelt; you can feel it in every aspect of the movie. Unbelievable courage. This film moved me beyond words. I plan on becoming much more active in the discussion once we have our media company fully launched. Now is the time to awaken humanity and the more we can come together on the issues at the hand, the greater the change.

  63. Destiny February 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Beyond beautiful. I’m honestly in awe of how beautifully directed and produced it was, and how great of a job it did at conveying the raw emotions of the animals. Thank you Liz Marshall and Jo-Anne McArthur for all of your bravery and passion.

  64. Caroline January 26, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Absolutely loved it in a very happy/sad kind of way. Thank you
    for making this much need documentary! Now if
    only I could make the people who need to see this film actually watch it and change their ways. Such a challenge!

  65. Jesse Armaline January 25, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I would like to thank Jo-Ann and Liz for making this
    Powerful documentary. Also thank you to all the crew
    That was involved. I really enjoyed the film but I cried intensely. Thank you for being a strong voice for all animals. I hope this documentary changes the way people view animals and they way we treat them.

  66. Kara W January 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    A refreshing interpretation of the documentary format that has such an impact in its message and in the manifestation of that message. I appreciate that Ghosts looks at the issue of animal exploitation from so many angles to reveal the scope of the horrifying machine through which the human race is processing and abusing animals. My concern is that the film may not provide that final call to action or that the message is slightly diluted by the drawn out nature of some of the story lines. I was very moved by this film, and I would definitely recommend it to pretty much anyone. Good luck at the Oscars!

  67. Jaires Caldart December 21, 2013 at 8:36 am

    This film is fantastic. I am brazilian and I intend share it with students and people of my country. I think with people like you, making film like this we will change the world.

  68. Wayne Wright December 8, 2013 at 2:09 am

    This is the film I was hoping would be made. This is the film I’ve been waiting to share with family and friends. It’s powerful, beautiful, inspiring, haunting, and accessible. It’s effective because it doesn’t tell the viewer what to do or cast any judgement. It only provides a glimpse into systems we all unknowingly participate in. It’ll undoubtedly raise a lot of questions as viewers make personal connections about how they participate in these systems. But most importantly, it’ll empower the viewer with the freedom to make informed choices about how they participate in these systems.

    Thank you for coming to Chicago and it was an honor to meet Liz and Jo-Anne. I’m only 161 days into my ghost-free journey, but I’m inspired to do anything I can to make a difference for the Ghosts. Thank you for shining light in the darkness!

  69. Liz Tampe December 8, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Hi! I had the distinct pleasure of viewing this film tonight at The Music Box in Chicago WITH Liz Marshall and Jo-Anne McArthur. :) This is a film that everyone needs to see. It will plant many seeds of compassion and help many people to “make the connection.” THANK YOU JO AND LIZ!!!

  70. Robert Grillo December 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    There were many things I liked about the film The Ghosts in Our Machine. Among them is the way Temple Grandin was portrayed. Rather than mythologize her as an animal advocate, as in the case of the HBO film about her, Ghosts presents a more authentic and truthful depiction of Grandin, allowing her to explain her designs of cattle slaughterhouses in her own words, while showing us her detailed plans and drawings that she developed, which the film intersperses with scenes of actual animals being led through them and ultimately meeting their deaths. What is most startling from this scene is the fact that she admits to using her knowledge of the psychology of cows to “trick” or “outsmart” these animals into greater complicity on their final journey to death (which Grandin euphemistically refers to as the “stairway to heaven”). She refers to a variety of environmental factors like lighting and flooring and the curvature of the chute they are led through. The end goal is to get them to walk willingly into the knock box, rather than fearing and resisting it. For those who know the meticulously-studied plans and methodologies of mass extermination developed by Nazi Germany, there is a chilling and yet unmistakable connection here with Grandin’s worldview and work. The Nazi’s claimed that the design of their camps were driven by the goal of making the whole process more “humane.” Indeed, they often referred to murder as “euthanasia” or “mercy killing” as if to suggest that they were doing their victims a favor by gassing children and women instead of shooting them point blank in the head. Grandin’s “humane” slaughter concept and execution borrows much from this historical precedent of the Nazi death camps (perhaps not consciously) — not only in design and methodology — but also in the relentless propaganda used to garner its acceptance. And this propaganda has successfully seduced most people into mistakenly believing that Grandin as a true animal advocate, rather than the meat industry spokesperson she is, paid by and representing the leading meat industry trade group, The American Meat Institute.

    • john February 27, 2014 at 12:49 am

      That was a beautiful summation of Temple Grandin. I too think she is like a wolf in sheeps clothing. She has conned way too many….

  71. Nancy Pagé November 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you for this amazing documentary. I’m a university instructor. 
    I have been promoting your doc all week. Tonight, I was concerned I would not be able to watch–too much heartache, however, I watched. I watched every minute and despite the deep sadness and fear that things can never change–I feel hope, hope that things can change. Your movie will help to save the world–it can. 

    I’ll do my best to spread the word.

    I wish you much success on your next project. Know that in this small corner of Canada (Nanaimo, BC)–you have a fervent supporter and, some new converts at VIU.

    Take care,

    Nancy Pagé MA, CGD
    nancypagedesign.com

  72. Don Hughes November 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    In the trailer, the narrator states, “if only people had the chance to be compassionate, they would”, people do have the chance in my opinion, but choose not to part take, simply because it is inconvenient. In other words, if it is going to cost them money, time, or effort YOU CAN FORGET IT…at least for 30 to 40 percent of the world population. You can not teach empathy to sociopaths or narcissists, it requires a conscience for that to happen. Thank you for speaking for animals, I am looking forward to seeing your documentary.

    God bless,

    Don Hughes/Dallas,TX

  73. Jeff White November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I am a big supporter of animal welfare campaigns. I expected a great deal from this film, but I was very disappointed. I saw it on the CBC Documentary Channel.

    This is not a film about animals. It is not a film about how humans treat animals. It is a film about a photographer who wants to make a book about the relationship between humans and animals. Sadly, we never get a clear idea from her as to what she thinks that relationshp is, or ought to be. She is not very articulate, and is not an effective advocate for animal rights.

    The photographer was on the screen more than the animals were. When she wasn’t on screen we were shown still or moving images of animals, with very little explanation by way of voice-over or screen captions as to what exactly we were witnessing, and where it was. We were largely left to observe whatever was presented and form some kind of judgment or conclusion. There was very little attempt to provide us with the benefit of actual expertise to assist us in comprehending what was being shown. There were audio soundbites from certain notable animal rights thinkers and activists, most of which sounded as if they had been recorded over a telephone(!), but they were brief, general, bumper-sticker pronouncements with no elaboration, and no actual commentary on the visual images that were being presented to us.

    I found the scope of the film much too narrow; it barely scraped the surface of how our society abuses animals for profit. There was nothing about horse racing, dog racing, hunting coyotes and wolves with dogs, dog-fighting, cock-fighting, bullfighting, leg-hold trapping, shark-finning, Iditarod racing, drift-netting, ivory poaching, trophy/captive game hunting, bear-bile farming, puppy mills, dog shows, whaling, dolphin slaughtering, cosmetics testing, environmental poisoning, or dozens of other ways in which animals suffer and die needlessly at our hands.

    I spent a lot of time wondering: Was I seeing an extraordinary event, or was it something commonplace? What exactly was going on, anyway? Are we seeing depictions of animal suffering caused by cruel individuals, or are we looking at examples of a systemic, social problem requiring socio-political answers? What exactly were the unseen and unnamed experimenters doing to those beagles, anyway, and how did it affect them? We could only guess. And most important of all, what are the alternatives? There were no answers. There was no real advocacy in this film. There was no sense of outrage evident onscreen, nor did the film inspire a sense of outrage in the viewer. There were plenty of cute or sad-eyed animals, but that tells me nothing.

    This is a prime example of what is becoming all too common in documentary films – it’s lazy! It presents what is essentially raw footage, with no explanation, and assumes that you will figure out for yourself what the film is trying to say, if anything.

    I couldn’t help contrasting this film, in my mind, to top-notch documentaries like Gasland, where a great deal of attention is paid to telling a story not just in pictures, but in words, and where the causes of the problems depicted in the film are elaborated, and solutions are pointed to. A good documentary explains things; it makes you understand things you didn’t understand before. It is above all advocacy for a cause. Advocacy requires more than just showing images and leaving it up to the imagination of the viewer to construct his or her own narrative and an analysis of a problem. It requires at the very least the application of some expertise to the subject at hand – in this case, face-to-face interviews with qualified zoologists, animal behaviourists, agriculture and food scientists, important social critics, ex-employees of slaughterhouses, etc. – not to mention a decent script writer with a coherent story to tell. All these things would have added a great deal to the viewer’s appreciation and understanding.

    Only in the last fifteen minutes of the film did we begin to see some powerful images and hear some challenging ideas spoken, but it was too little, too late. As it is, I was left feeling that this film would not convince anyone who wasn’t already an animal rights/welfare activist to become one.

    • Lynette Browne December 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Great insight and summary of how you saw this film. Thank-you.

  74. Jane November 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I am so glad that I was finally able to see this film and that my meat eating husband watched it with me. Perhaps now he will understand my need to be vegan.

    There were many parts of the film that will haunt me, but I was prepared for them to be there. I wasn’t expecting the time given to the animal sanctuaries. These parts nicely balanced the awful parts and we see how well the animals can be.

    I noticed how gentle they seemed to be. I’ve always been told that cows, horses, pigs, chickens are aggressive, nasty beings. Perhaps it’s because they are treated as a commodity. I don’t believe that any being is inherently aggressive, they become that way with poor treatment. Thank you for those sweet moments.

  75. Krista Ashford November 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I have so much respect for the people that made this film. The abuse of animals at the hands of humans is such an important issue and it MUST be addressed. So many people are scared to look at the truth of this issue or think “It will be too depressing.” Well, it takes a massive amount of courage to look at this abuse and to make oneself aware of the issues. Everyone should see this film. Everyone should think more about where their food, clothes and medicines come from. In this world run by money and technology, nature suffers and therefore humanity suffers. We will never endure if we cannot think of the ghosts and stop these corporations from destroying our humanity.

    All my love to Jo and Liz. Keep doing what you do and others will stand with you.

  76. Nancy November 24, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you. Thank you for capturing and expressing one of the most relevant documentaries I’ve seen in a long time. This should be required viewing for all especially the younger generations–who can and will make a difference for the rights of animals.

  77. Big Tent Vegan November 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    We saw “The Ghosts in Our Machine” in Los Angeles, and are grateful to the film-maker Liz Marshall, photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, and the entire cast and crew for making such a beautiful and hopeful film.

    As some professional reviewers have mentioned, this film is not nearly as graphic as other documentaries exploring the relationship between humans and other animals, but it still manages to evoke a wide range of emotions (yes, including some tears) through both haunting and joyful images.

    There is one segment featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, who is championed by some for designing slaughterhouses which enable what they deem to be humane killing of cattle. Dr. Grandin calmly describes each step of the architectural rendering in detail. The accompanying footage shows how live cattle are led through the process all the way up to, and including, the actual slaughter. Some people were bothered by the inclusion of Dr. Grandin, as it may have seemed to condone the notion of “humane slaughter.” However, this inclusion is part of what makes this film appealing to a general audience rather than just animal rights activists. The film offers no judgment as to whether this is acceptable or not, but rather lets Dr. Grandin present her explanation, and leaves it up to each viewer to decide for themselves.

    There are also scenes of a mother cow and calf from the dairy/veal industry. The footage of this part is filmed at an organic, certified humane dairy, not at the worst factory farm they could find. And again, the film does not tell the viewer whether this is wrong or right, but simply presents the information for each person to make up their own mind.

    As the protagonist and photographer Jo-Anne McArthur mentions in the film, most people want to be compassionate, and will be compassionate, if given the chance. Part of the beauty and brilliance of the tender approach of “The Ghosts in Our Machine” is that it will appeal to thoughtful, caring people who are not animal rights activists (nor want to be). A greater awareness of empathy and compassion towards all living beings, whether human or not, can only be a good thing.

    It is currently screening in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall 3, and in New York at the Village East Cinema. It will screen in Columbus, Ohio at the Gateway Film Center and in Chicago, IL at the Music Box Theatre starting December 6. Check the Ghosts in Our Machine website for other screening dates. Please go and see this wonderful film if you can.

  78. Jennifer Hall November 22, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Liz!!!! I just heard your CBC Vancouver interview. You were marvelous!!! Your commentary, analysis and metrics were excellent and the final piece I needed to fully understand your beautiful work. You should include yourself in your next documentary. Your journey with this topic and your stories of self-analysis make you a fitting protagonist too; they really are an important part of the interpretation of the film.

    I liked it when you talked as though you were a little bit outside of the scene, referring to: your realization of the ghosts being unknown animals that aren’t named or cherished; how we cherish our pets and some keystone species but do not think of the other animals being processed; your response to the number of animals that are processed.

    But, me being a mainstream foodie, I especially liked it when you talked about your journey to understand the issues that animal activists hold dear – I took it as a thought-provoking assessment of a fringe group which wants to teach us all to hold all living beings more tenderly. In the interview, you described the movie as a gentle bridge to a new way of thinking.

    It would have been cool to hear your own transitional thoughts as a slight contrast to Jo-ann’s committed devotion to the cause. I found your thoughts easier to relate to. For me, your stories are the bridge to the film. And the film is the bridge to the cause. I feel so privileged to have been at the LA premiere. And to have met you. Go with your instinct! You rock!

    I ate a vegan meal today! It is working on me.

    Cheering from Vancouver for you and your team!

    Jennifer

  79. whitney November 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I attended the premiere screening in LA. Thank you to all involved with bringing this elegant, artistic, soulful, brave, hopeful and thought provoking film into being. The title of the movie itself is utterly brilliant. Thank you for showing these “ghosts” to a wider audience who may never have otherwise encountered any of these plaintive images or realities. The contrast between the caustraphobic grating despair of beautiful wild animals wirecaged to be killed for “glamour” of a coat or a crispy side of “bacon”—with animals free in sanctuaries ,protected, comfortable and enjoying the natural world they belong to– is a contrast only the heartless are not horrified. What man has wrought in treating animals like insentient “product”? The faces of all the doomed hidden in disgusting “farms” have kinship with our domestic puppy mills. There is just nothing involved but crass, grasping greed for money with ZERO regard for the integrity and feelings of the captive animals. The filmmaker and photojournalist bring you over and over close up to look into the eyes of these manipulated animals. If humans “eyes are the windows of the soul” by the end of this docu it feels that you have been confronted with the steady innocent direct souls of animals who’s eyes of despair ask “Why?” Because I wanted to wear your skin and because I wanted you as a snack and because I wanted to experiment with your body– has no ethical standing. Ever. I hope children and teens and college age people will see Ghosts and be inspired to not participate in this endless misery cycle and painful perversion of another beings very life.

  80. Judy Hurst November 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    It’s taken me a little while to write down my thoughts on this movie, and I will say in all honesty that I am still thinking about what I saw and trying to process my thoughts and emotions.

    The use of a human protagonist is something I don’t think I have seen in any other animal rights movie and is what sets it apart from all the rest. I have been captivated by Jo Ann’s story as much as I have been by Maggie and Abbey’s, Sonny and Fanny and all the animals featured in the film.

    Seeing Jo at the fur farms, I am captivated and drawn into the danger of the situation. How dangerous it is for the animals trapped in it, and also how dangerous it is for her if caught. It is inspiring. If she can do that, then certainly I can do something for the ghosts as well.

    This is what the movie has left me with, inspiration. So many movies about food safety, animal rights or veganism, leave me with a sense of self righteousness. I’m left thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t eat animals so I’m all good” as I pat myself on the back. Watching Jo Ann struggle to make her passion and her cause in to something at which she can also make a living has caused me to stop and think, not that I am doing pretty good, but that I can do better.

    I am changed by the ghosts and will forever remember that while there is suffering in the world there is more that I and all of us, can do.

    Thank you for showing me the ghosts, for bringing them out of the shadow and into the light, where hopefully, they will all finally be seen.

  81. Kate Riley November 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Dear JoAnne and Liz, thank you for your courage. Please know you are not alone when you go to these places Joanne for we are with you in spirit too. By sharing the stories of these beautiful babies hidden in the machine, you will open many hearts. I promise you, we will end factory farming, fur farming, and more. You shine light in dark places. That scene you say, “I’m already there with them” is true, they are with us now too. When you go there, send love. You both are doing important work to heal the planet. Now we step up and do our part on behalf of every animal photographed. They did not and will not die in vain. I came home
    last night and just hugged my white kitty, knowing it could
    be him in thoses cages. You are both so brave, we are with you and will continue to carry this torch #untileverycageisempty many Angel blessings to you both.

  82. Hope November 17, 2013 at 12:36 am

    First off, Liz and JoAnn, thank you for existing. Thank you for everything that you do and for staying strong through what must have been an extremely emotional process in creating this film.

    Inspiration is rare today but you have embodied it in this breathtaking film. No matter how educated I think I am on these issues, I am reminded that there is always more to learn, more to do.

    There is so much about it that I loved: the way issues were presented and sort of melted together to articulate a grander issue, the balance between positive and negative depictions of human-animal relationships, and just the pure heart behind every scene.

    Films like this will hopefully shake people from their apathy which is all to easy to fall into. This is certainly not an easy issue to fight for in this day and age, but I truly believe this is one of the best ways to do it: through educational, thought-provoking works of art that awaken our sense of empathy.

  83. Lesley Horowitz November 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I first became aware of Jo Ann’s work through the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary’s facebook page. As others may have, I thought ‘sure, I know all this exists, so do I really need to see this film? Do I want to see this?’.

    What I wasnt prepared for is that even as a long-term vegetarian and more recent vegan, this film was life-altering. Firstly this is absolutely stunningly beautiful work. Liz Marshall’s direction is first-rate, the cinematography and Jo Ann’s photographs are aesthetically breathtaking. The pacing is perfection – where it could have so easily dissolved into schmaltz or the trap of sentimentality, the film never does it. The story of Jo Ann’s journey as a photographer and advocate is told both with sense and sensitivity. I was not prepared to come away with so much knowledge, anger, sadness, hope, gratitude and gravitas.

    The factory farm and animal captivity footage, rather than being gratuitious or gory, to the contrary is incredibly well done. The scenes are heart-wrenchingly painful in their quiet honesty and the chilling silence and excruciating cries of of suffering and desperation will haunt me for a long time. In one scene, where JoAnn says she has PTSD, I can’t even imagine. But it was the long, lingering cinematic views and freeze-framing of exhausted, hopeless non-human, but close-enough-to-human eyes and the pit-in-the-stomach understanding that as I write this, this exists, as I get up tomorrow this exists and as I do all the things I’m allowed to do with my rights, this exists — that has changed me. The film generously and unapologetically allowed me to see things in a way I’m not sure I would have seen. Because one can’t unless one looks straight at it. And because this film is so beautifully done, it’s impossible to look away.

    I was fortunate enough to meet Liz, JoAnn, the wonderful Farm Sanctuary people and the lovely women from Our Henhouse after the NYC screening. I believe they are really pioneers in what is hopefully a new day in awareness and advocacy. I can’t thank the cast and crew enough for making me see things that I thought I knew, and taking on one of the hardest subjects I can imagine. I could only hope the entire planet could see your beautiful, incredible work. We need to know this, not only because it is positively inhuman to allow this to continue, but we need to change this for our own moral, spiritual and ecological survival.

  84. Rori Fay October 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I just received NEAV’s email linking to your video and web site.   I am in tears that you have made this documentary.  For almost 40 years (I am just shy of 50) I have been making sure the products I use are not tested on animals, nor will I take any medicine.  All of the charities I donate to have the humane seal and have been sending links and relaying what goes on to others for years.
     
    Mankind is on an ego trip and has decided everyone is on this planet for man’s own use.  When people ask me why I never had kids… I reply… I am not a fan of the human race… all we do is destroy, we have only made things for our ego and our own betterment… never thinking of the animals – the poor souls who pay the consequences of our greed.   Animals balance, humans cause an imbalance.  While there are some people that do their best to tip the scales back and help animals… and keep the balance; there are far too many that are pulling in the other direction.  We are headed for disaster and I hope and pray that the animals are not part of our disaster.
     
    A friend often talks about picking and choosing the people that can remain, but all it takes is one human to cause the scales to tip again, and sometimes all I can think of is MegaMaid from Spaceballs… we need a giant vacuum to suck the people off this planet for good… let the animals and plants remain… I truly believe at that point they will look around and realize they are finally free and safe.  Also, there are so many people who believe that we were given dominion over animals… and they translate it to mean that we can do whatever we please to them.  If they were truly holy people, they would realize that they are not respecting all of their God’s creations, just selectively the human race.  
     
    Thank you so very much for educating and showing so many what is going on.  People put their heads in the sand, they don’t care just as long as it doesn’t affect them…  without even thinking how they would feel… how sad and lonely their hearts would be if they were in a test lab being tortured and wondering when someone might come and save them, or if they were pushed out of a car because they were not wanted any more, piled into a crate or trailer, hung upside down and bled out.   Mankind has become more and more numb.. heartless monsters!     The books that are out on the market… do animals have souls… I cannot believe that is even a question…   we must look to ourselves and conclude… mankind is without a soul for someone with a soul would never do as man has done to animals.
     
    Much kindness and blessings to you all!

  85. Michael Barker October 22, 2013 at 12:58 am

    Ani­mal rights is not an easy sub­ject to tackle. My first self-initiated teenage polit­i­cal involve­ment with activism was with the ani­mal rights move­ment — an issue with some trac­tion back in the 80s. My first punk zine (embar­rass­ingly titled ‘anger’, worse yet, ‘anger’zine’) was almost entirely about ani­mal rights. When I started work on it, I had the inten­tion of doing some kind of objec­tive jour­nal­is­tic arti­cle on the issue, and wrote to a bunch of dif­fer­ent ani­mal rights orga­ni­za­tions (includ­ing ARK-II and oth­ers) ask­ing for con­tri­bu­tions and infor­ma­tion. I remem­ber being over­whelmed by what I received in response, some of which was very graphic, and very dis­turb­ing, the pho­tos in par­tic­u­lar, but also the style of the dia­logue, the balaclava-clad mil­i­tancy, the embrace of direct action. I ended up reprint­ing some of the pam­phlets I was sent ver­ba­tim because I couldn’t get any dis­tance from the sub­ject, I had trou­ble pro­cess­ing it. I couldn’t find the right lan­guage. “The Ghosts in our Machine” finds the right language.

    This is a film that can’t be eas­ily dis­missed as a fringe issue, doesn’t preach to the con­verted, and insists that the ‘ani­mal ques­tion’ hit main­stream con­scious­ness, main­stream dia­logue. It’s a film that con­trasts hor­ror with beauty, impris­on­ment with res­cue, that cel­e­brates com­pas­sion and for­give­ness rather than rage. This film will upset you, there are some deeply trou­bling, deeply sad images here — but don’t let that scare you away from see­ing it — because it’s also a hope­ful film, an inspir­ing film — many injus­tices feel beyond our abil­ity to address as indi­vid­u­als, but this is one that is extremely per­sonal, extremely close, one where you can make an imme­di­ate impact through per­sonal choice, where just chang­ing the con­ver­sa­tion around ani­mals as food, enter­tain­ment, prop­erty, can have a mean­ing­ful impact on the lives of liv­ing crea­tures. It has me recon­sid­er­ing some of the choices I make in rela­tion to ani­mal prod­ucts, and I sus­pect chang­ing some of those choices.

  86. Kenneth LEE October 21, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Excellent documentary I have seen in ages . I was lucky to have stumbled across DMZ documentary festival in Ilsan, South Korea when I was on a date with my girlfriend. The suffering and fear these animals that are going through for human consumption was heart breaking and emotional. From now on I will actively participate to stop the people of Korea from buying furs, consuming animals and become a vegan . Is there any organization I can participate in to help ? I know for a fact Korean’s eat dog meat and that is something I cannot just pass by.

  87. Lorraine Gilbert October 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    At first, I wasn’t sure if I could handle such a film, but I’m so glad I had a chance to see it. I learned a lot about how my own ignorance, and habits contribute to so much misery. And I learned about how some people can find energy and inspiration in the acts of trying to alleviate some of that pain.

    Liz Marshall has made a Beautiful film about a Beautiful woman who cares deeply about the ‘subjects’ she photographs, and so I also learned that animals are subjects in a way I had not previously considered.

    This doesn’t mean I can change completely, tomorrow, but at least I am a touch wiser than I was before I saw this film.

  88. lizmars October 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    POSTING ON BEHALF OF: Christopher F. J. Ross, Ph. D, C. Psych. Associate Professor, Psychology and Religion
    Department of Religion and Culture
    Wilfrid Laurier University
    Waterloo

    The heart of Ghosts in our Machine Liz Marshal’s latest documentary, is humans’ relationship to animals, its degradation, and its elevation, and how we all will feel better toward each other as planet sharers if we cease to cause unnecessary suffering to so many other species, the mammals, birds and fish upon whom we think we need to prey for protein, bones and flesh that we could receive from sources that do not feel.

    With the steady hand of wondrous cinematography the film starts with our eyes suffused with the soft gaze of three beautiful animals. The argument is irrefutable these are beings who see and feel the weird being with a metal object of camera in front of their nostrils.

    The steady heart of the director Marshall weaves many threads of connection between ours’ and those animal beings who visit, as beagles, minks or foxes in cramped cages, or conveyed as cows upon on belts to drills to our head.

    Distancing defenses are scuttled by shifting our empathy to the a soulful photographer Joanne Mc…….who journeys through the continents of our planet – and her life – to bring warm images of consciousness from the nation of animal to the breakfast and coffee tables of our human world in bound and electronic publications.

    In a high Manhattan office Marshall exquisitely captures the dilemma of a sensitive artistic Newsweek editor as he struggles to suppress his sorrow for being a member of the species responsible for the suffering of the beings of fur and feather looking out at him from the pages turne by Joanne whose book We Animals will be published in November .

    By the end we feel accomplices too, but ones with alternatives for we are also shown the animal sanctuaries that are springing up around the globe, silent watchers of the factory films next door, now realised to be prison of suffering, including the lush fields of Ontario where I live in Waterloo County.

    I think I shall put soya milk on my cereal, and give dairy cows a break. For image and narrative combine in Ghosts in our Machine to make us want to do better, and experience the pleasure of sharing our planet. I am optimistic that with such eloquent cultural artefacts as Marshal’s documentary and media platform, within two decades the animal industry will be the emabarrasment that the smoke industry has become.

    Christopher F. J. Ross, Ph. D, C. Psych.
    Associate Professor, Psychology and Religion
    Department of Religion and Culture
    Wilfrid Laurier University
    Waterloo

  89. David McConnachie October 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Truly a powerful and moving experience. A reminder that we, Human-Beings, are not the only passengers. The Bovine-Beings, Porcine-Beings, Canine-Beings, et al, that share this planet with us have rights that we must respect.

    Thank you Jo-Anne and Liz for your courage and bravery in capturing and sharing such an important story – and best of luck with the theatrical release.

  90. Emmeline Manzur October 3, 2013 at 1:35 am

    It’s probably the first article about the film in Spanish. Here go my views about this documentary which I hope will be released in the short term in Latin America and Spain once subtitled. I quote two of my opinions in English:

    “The film does not seek to shock viewers but to invite them in a subtle but firm way to think thoroughly, creating a space of awareness so they’re able to question their participation in the operation of the machine and how, at the same time, they can stop doing it and contribute to “turn it off “…”

    “The viewer sees and understands what is going on there, perceives the context because he’s in full communication with the non-human animals featured all throughout the film”

    http://www.animanaturalis.org/n/43450

  91. Rachel Baker October 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing your work, this is a crucial issue that needs to be at the forefront. Just as we look back on past practices and ideologies, I know there will come a day when we think animal rights are fundamental, universal rights for all.

  92. lizmars September 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    WE ARE POSTING ON BEHALF OF NORMAND RHEAUME, A GENTLEMAN WHO ATTENDED OUR OTTAWA PREMIERE AT THE BYTOWNE CINEMA:

    À la suite de nos brefs échanges les 23 et 24 septembre 2013, à Ottawa, concernant le film « The Ghosts in Our Machine » de Liz Marshall, dans lequel, à titre de photographe, vous partagez le rôle central avec vos amis les animaux, je désire ajouter cette note pour vous et la réalisatrice:

    D’abord, je veux souligner que, de mon point de vue, le document cinématographique possède une qualité cachée difficile à saisir immédiatement après le visionnement et qui ne se révèle qu’avec le temps. C’est-à-dire que j’ai constaté que le film m’habitait encore profondément le lendemain de la projection et qu’il suscitait une réflexion presque envoutante, comme si les fantômes annoncés dans le titre avaient traversé l’écran et pénétré la conscience des spectateurs. Comme le veut la formule consacrée, on ne sort pas indemne d’un film pareil.

    J’ai été décontenancé par ce film tout en finesse, douceur et compassion. Peut-être parce que je suis un homme?
    Probablement, aussi, parce que je suis un journaliste dont la longue expérience des milieux politiques et financiers décourage de croire en un changement du système alors que presque tous les lieux de pouvoir sont aux mains de décideurs dont la courte vue mène le monde contemporain vers sa décadence. Si le journaliste est un peu désabusé de l’univers médiatique qui, en général, a viré à droite et plongé dans l’insignifiant depuis environ 20 ans; le citoyen, lui, a été stimulé, surtout intrigué, devrais-je dire, par cette façon, dans le film et par le film, de militer et de lutter en portant l’étendard de la tendresse.

    Le film m’est apparu complexe durant la projection; complexe de façon positive, comme c’est le cas d’une oeuvre majeure, complexe en terme péjoratif, comme s’il y avait un dédoublement dans le récit, une sorte d’histoire en parallèle à une autre.

    Je suis un cinéphile assez averti, je crois, et j’ai vu le film de Liz Marshall comme si Ingmar Bergman était devenu un cinéaste animalier; je vous ai perçu, vous Jo-Anne MacArthur, comme si Liv Ullman avait abandonné ses relations introspectives avec les hommes pour se convertir à une sorte d’osmose entre une femme et les animaux non humains. D’ailleurs, cette distinction, dans le film, entre les humains et les animaux non humains, nous amène, subtilement, à prendre conscience que les humains sont aussi des animaux.

    Par dessous tout, la magie du film, son essence même, celle qui contribuera à changer le monde et lui fera gagner des prix je l’espère, c’est la danse des regards.

    Ce choix de filmer les yeux de près, cette façon puissante de river le regard du spectateur dans ceux des animaux permet d’établir un contact d’affection avec les bêtes. Non seulement devient-on leur ami, mais on sent leur détresse et leur souffrance aux mains de ceux qui ne les considèrent que tel un produit susceptible de générer un profit.
    Les câlins prodigués aux bêtes, les caresses des caméras qui les filment font du documentaire un hymne à la tendresse comme en chantait tant la grande interprète québécoise Pauline Julien (1928-1998) – « L’âme à la tendresse ».

    Si le film abolit la distance entre le spectateur et les animaux, il tisse aussi un lien de proximité entre le spectateur et la photographe. Compte tenu de la grande beauté de cette dernière et de la lumière intérieure qu’elle irradie dans ses activités professionnelles – l’épisode de clandestinité en est l’oméga – , j’ai dit, durant la première période de questions\réponses au ciméma ByTowne, que le film m’incitait à me métamorphoser en renard pour obtenir le privilège de scruter Jo-Anne les yeux dans les yeux. L’aveu intime était osé et a fait rire une partie de l’auditoire, mais il n’en demeure pas moins que cela illustre comment le film, en raison de sa facture, de son rythme, crée une atmosphère étrange et nouvelle entre l’humain et l’animal, suscite un rapprochement autant intellectuel que sensuel entre le spectateur et la photographe.

    En terminant, sachez que j’étais en voie de devenir complètement végétarien et que le film m’a incité à accélérer mon processus de changement diététique.

    Je vous remercie donc sincèrement d’avoir fait ce film qui, à mon humble avis, s’inscrit dans la mouture des grands du cinéma d’ici: Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, Mireille Dansereau…

    - Normand Rhéaume, from Rigaud, Quebec.

    • Sylvain Le Bourhis October 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Very awesome (long!) comment from Normand Rhéaume. I’ve been waiting to see this documentary for quite some time now. I’m hoping to see it in the near future. Hopefully it makes its way to Edmonton.

  93. laszlo gyongyossy September 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    This is a brilliant film. It illustrates one of the central contradictions in modern society. We live in a system of production that feeds the majority of people who do not produce their own food. This is accomplished by industrial agriculture. Our tastes and ideas of what food is are based on a previous system. In this system the majority did produce their own food. The farm yard animals and the forest full of more animals meant that we had a more humane appreciation of the lives and deaths of other creatures. Meat was a special treat.
    Now it is a commodity like any other. But wait!! It is not like any other!
    This film reminds that we must not be thoughtless and complacent. While an individual cannot change the current system each one of us can change our own perceptions of the reality around us and make choices that express that altered consciousness. This beautifully crafted film shows one artist’s experience and actions. It is a fundamentally opitmistic and loving story.
    BRAVO!!!

  94. Raphael Morin September 24, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Bravo!!

    The Ghosts in our Machine is inspirational, and illustrates honest relationships between humans and animals. I highly recommend this film.

  95. Josh Flower September 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

    The film stirred strong emotions in me, but was balanced so well as to keep me invested to the very end. Often times animal industry exposés can be such a tough watch that one emotionally “checks out” at some point. It’s a testament to Liz’s film making that she was able to capture the balance Jo-Anne has found in her own life, to stay motivated and emotionally strong to keep doing such difficult but important work.

    I love and admire Jo-Anne so much, even more so now thanks to this film. What an incredible human being… to put herself on the front lines year after year is something only the strongest people can do.

    She is talented, loving and maybe most importantly, hopeful. True leaders ultimately must have hope that a better world is to come, in part through their work and sacrifice.

    Thanks you Liz for your incredible film, and Jo-Anne for being a true leader and advocate for animals everywhere. I am deeply inspired by both of you.

  96. Krista September 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you to Liz and Jo-Anne and everyone that was a part of this film. I’m hopeful that this film has the ability to awaken the compassion in humans for the ghosts (animals) and really enable positive changes to take place.

    The film does a beautiful job putting the ghosts front and centre, so as a viewer you are face to face (without physically being there) with the animals. You see their eyes and the dire situations they are faced with. It was also great to see positive changes and happy endings for some. This film left me empowered and incredibly hopeful for the future.

  97. Diane September 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I found this film deeply moving, and appreciated the way it does “expand the circle of compassion to our non-human neighbours with whom we share this planet”, as the film-maker said at the Hot Docs premiere in Toronto. The information is presented in a way which doesn’t assault us, yet moves us to both care and action.

  98. Siobhan September 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    First off, let me just say that you and Jo-Anne are absolute rockstars. The animals, and animal lovers around the world all thank you!

    One thing I found myself wondering while watching the film was…how does one feed their carnivorous house pet in a sustainable, humane way? Should vegans stick to housing pets that are herbivores in order to be safe?

  99. Danielle Legg September 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Even within the limited time of the trailer, this film plants the seed that ALL animals are individuals, with a history, and a story. It’s a select lucky few who have amazing futures ahead, and it’s those select few who will grasp the minds of a broad audience, and begin to change the world.

    The film beautifully seeks to expose a harsh reality of the animals who are so often invisible in the machine that is our daily lives. Not only does it seek to do so, it does. You’re taken on a journey through the lens of Jo-Anne McArthur. Her photographs document the lives of a handful of animals who’ve been set free from the machine. In following Jo-Anne, and her work, the viewer begins to fall into the realization that the lives captured on film represent thousands. After watching the film the viewer isn’t left hopeless, the film, and the online presence illustrates that there is something YOU can do to help end the needless suffering of the ghosts still caught in the machine.

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