We got a fabulous review of the film this past week in 24 Carrot Lane’s December newsletter!
Check it out below:
|Q & A With Filmmaker Rebecca Sansom of Equal Hoppertunity
Learn about her new documentary and her mission to educate the world about rabbits
Photos: upper left: Equal Hoppertunity DVD cover; upper right: “Jayhopping” during filming; lower left and right, respectively: Tofu and Andre, two of Rebecca Sansom’s bunnies.
How much does the general public know about domestic rabbits? What Chapel Hill, NC filmmaker/bunny crusader Rebecca Sansom officially knows for sure, and documents splendidly and with a good dose of edge, charm and humor in her brand new documentary Equal Hoppertunity, is that the general public is sadly and overwhelmingly clueless when it comes to rabbits. The film vividly illustrates the need for education as well as offers suggestions on how we, as rabbit guardians, can better care for our pets and improve conditions for all bunnies by helping to enforce existing animal rights laws. In an ironic twist, the film also contrasts information and advice given by pet store workers to that of rabbit experts such as Dr. Alvin Atlas of Riverview Animal Clinic in Birmingham, AL, and Friends of Rabbits’ Ruth Fledermaus.
The production features some familiar faces: witty Webby Award winning Buns and Chou Chou of Rabbit Bites, as well as Sansom’s own adorable bunnies: Hortencia, Tofu, Andre and Bebe. The soundtrack includes tracks by Wild Sweet Orange, Monarch, Steve Lee, John “Trailer Park” Jackson, and DJ Nastique, and also features artwork by popular animation artist Russell Quick.
Learn more and order your own copy of the film at equalhoppertunity.com. Cost is $12.95, and 10% of the film’s sales will be donated to the House Rabbit Society. We thoroughly enjoyed Equal Hoppertunity, and are pleased and honored to share with you our recent Q+A with Rebecca Sansom:
What first inspired you to create the film? Tell us about your creative process during production.
Originally the film was supposed to be a short film called Bonding Bunnies, and was only going to portray the necessary and often hilarious process of, you guessed it, bonding bunnies! I had become friends with Ruth Fledermaus through the bunny community and she told me all of these really funny stories about bonding a pair of rabbits.
She would do things, like, put a pair in the bathtub (no water of course) and turn the radio up, sing loudly, and dance in order to completely freak the poor bunnies out until they had no other choice but to comfort each other. She had a few other tactics that were equally amusing. I was working with another filmmaker friend of mine, Jennifer West, and mentioned Ruth’s funny bunny stories. She just looked at me and said, “That would make a really funny short film.”
The problem was that the more we delved into the lives of domestic rabbits, the more we saw neglect, abuse, and just plain taking care of them the wrong way. It quickly went from being a light-hearted-funny-film-about-cute-bunnies to being a still quirky yet mostly somber account of how domestic rabbits have been mistreated not only because of un-enforced animal rights laws, but also because pet stores consistently sell products that are harmful to our pets. So, I thought this film could be used as a fun way to educate the public about the most misunderstood pet of them all!
During your interactions with the general public, what surprised you most?
What surprised me most about the general public was how nine times out of ten I would get a story about the horrible fate of their pet bunny they got for Easter when they were six years old. Usually this bunny was kept in a hutch outside, eaten by the dog, or was kept inside yet only lived two years (which they thought was a long time for a rabbit). People were always shocked to learn that a properly cared for house rabbit can live for 10-12 years.
What were the best moments/worst moments during the making of the film?
Best moment: Jello Wrestling.
Worst moment: Jello Wrestling.
Let me explain. After a long day of trying to convince the public that bunnies are people too, and no one listening to us, we took the night off, threw back a few shots, and decided to take out our frustration in the jello wrestling arena (this was filmed at 2 a.m. in a club that actually does this). As a feminist this was also the most degrading thing I’ve ever done in my life…I think.
What type of response have you had to the project so far?
So far the response has been extremely positive! My goal with this film is to educate the public about house rabbits, so to see it actually happening is thrilling! My hope is that current and future bunny owners will utilize the resources they have out there like, 24 Carrot Lane, and the House Rabbit Society before they blindly trust a pet store employee who probably has no experience with rabbits and will sell you anything. I would love to see more chic no-animals-for-sale pet stores like Phydeaux’s in Chapel Hill, NC (where I live), that only sell quality products, like Oxbow’s organic pellets, and exercise pens.
What can other bunny parents do to help educate others about rabbits?
I don’t want this to come across the wrong way. But, honestly if you know someone who isn’t properly taking care of their rabbit and you don’t want to be rude, I think giving Equal Hoppertunity as a gift would be a subtle way to get them to think twice about how they are caring for their pet. I often hear, “Oh man, my friends have a rabbit, and they keep it in this little cage in the basement. They need to see your film.” And all I can say is, “Yep. They do.” I’m actually giving 10% of the proceeds to the House Rabbit Society, so it would be a gift that keeps on giving!
Tell us about your own rabbits – the things you love most about them and what you have learned from them.
Okay. I have 4 bunnies. 3 and ½ were rescued. I’ll start with the eldest, my little black lionhead, Hortencia. She had 5 babies the day after I rescued her. She also had mites and, brace yourself, bunny syphilis! From her I have learned that as bad as my life may seem at times, if Hortencia could make it through all of that, I know I’ll be okay!
Next we have 3-year-old, son of Hortencia, Tofu! He is the only one of my bunnies that wasn’t completely rescued, technically I rescued him in utero, hence the 1/2. Anyway, he is spoiled, and he knows how to use his charm by giving kisses to get anything he wants. He’s been in commercials, and promo videos. Basically he’s a diva. I’ve learned absolutely nothing from him.
Next is Andre. He stars in the film and you’ll have to watch the movie to see his story. Sorry. However, I will tell you that I have learned the most from him. He’s taught me that, contrary to Amy Winehouse, it is possible to complete rehab and be a better bunny! And I’m not really sure what I would do without him.
Lastly, Andre’s wife, Bebe. She’s the youngest and the biggest. She’s the most vocal bunny I’ve ever met. She squeaks about everything! I got her through Ruth and Huntsville Animal Services (essentially the pound) a year ago. Bonding her with Andre was a perilous adventure, but it was worth it. Andre’s favorite thing to do is groom his Bebe. My friend Luke just built them a 3-story bunny condo. She’s taught me how intelligent and communicative rabbits can be.