Movie News & Reviews

Animal Film Festival to return to Grass Valley with films about rescue, animal rights

More than two dozen short films about dogs, cats, camels, horses and more will be screened in Grass Valley and Nevada City on Saturday and Sunday, as the Animal Film Festival returns for its sixth year in Northern California.

The festival is produced by a Grass Valley nonprofit called Center for Animal Protection and Education. All the proceeds benefit animal rescue, according to film festival director Shelley Frost.

The festival will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday in Grass Valley with a presentation from Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips of Animal Defenders International, to discuss their rescue work in Guatemala and the lion preserve they’re founding in Africa, according to the festival’s website. The presentation will be followed by a series of selected short films.

Saturday’s event will also feature the Tarshis Short Film Awards, which honor short films that “successfullly, creatively and convincingly highlight the issues of animal suffering in modern food production and laboratory research,” according to the festival’s website.

The Tarshis Film Awards General Categories will be presented Sunday. Cash prizes for films shown at the festival amount to more than $14,000 this year, with funding provided by the Amber & Adam Tarshis Foundation, according to the festival.

On Sunday, the festival runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City. Films include stories from Canada, Iran, Uruguay, and the U.S. and explore themes of “rescue, rights, and the human/animal bond,” according to the release. Some films are documentaries and others are scripted or animated.

Some of the selected short films include “My Paintbrush Bites,” a film about a horse that learned to paint after a life racing, “The Firefox Guardian,” a film about the special bond between a girl and red pandas in Nepal, and “Judas Collar,” a scripted film about a wild camel in the Australian outback who is fitted with a tracking collar.

This year, “Mercy’s Kennel” will star as the festival’s only feature-length film. A documentary, “Mercy’s Kennel” stars a former dog breeder who explores the economy of backyard breeding and gets to the root of pet overpopulation and animal abuse. The film, which focuses on pitbulls, shows the challenges facing the breed and clears up many misunderstandings about the dogs, according to the release.

“Mercy’s Kennel” will be the final film shown Sunday.

Both days will also include vegan food options, with a food truck Saturday and lunch in the lobby Sunday.

For more information, to see the full list of films, or to buy tickets, visit

If you go

What: The Sixth Annual Animal Film Festival

When: Feb. 9, 7-10 p.m.; Feb 10, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Saturday, Gold Miners Inn Ballroom, Grass Valley; Sunday, Nevada Theater, Nevada City

Tickets: One-day tickets are $15 for seniors and students, $20 regular admission. Two-day tickets are $30 for seniors and students, $35 regular admission.