The short documentary film “73 Cows” has won the “Best Overall Film Award” and the “Best Lifestyle Film” award out of the 29 movies screened at the first-ever Ottawa International Vegan Film Festival (OIVFF) on Sunday.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Alex Lockwood, “73 Cows” provides snippets from the journey of Jay Wilde, the “first farmer in the UK to trade beef farming for sustainable organic vegan farming,” as he and his wife Katja undergo the unheard-of transition.
The reason for the change? Wilde became “friends” with the cows, realizing that each has their own unique personality. Wilde said he could no longer cope with the ethical dilemma of continuing the family beef farming business. Instead of living with the guilt, Wilde makes the decision to give custody of his cows to a sanctuary and he and his family transition to organic farming instead.
The 15-minute documentary premiered at the Raindance Film Festival, received a nomination for “Best Local Film” at the Birmingham Film Festival, and trended on video platform Vimeo upon upload.
“Having set out to make the film with no budget and a team of four, we’re absolutely delighted that ’73 Cows’ is being received in the way that it is,” said Lockwood in a statement where he thanked OIVFF for honoring him with the award. “A huge personal thanks to Jay and Katja (and the cows) is in order, as without them being as accommodating as they were, we wouldn’t have been able to make this film.”
The OIVFF jury had high praise for the film, stating: “73 Cows is a beautiful and moving film that traces Jay’s journey through the changes he never expected. It is an exquisite meditation about the bond between man and beast, and a profound portrait of a man awakening to the call of conscience, compassion, and courage.”
Other winners include “Promises,” a six-minute Danish documentary that follows vegan photographer Jo-Anne McArthur and director Jan Sorgenfrei as they investigate the industrial chicken industry, which won Best Animal Welfare Film. “Eating You Alive” won Best Health and Nutrition Film, and “Where Do We Go?,” a short documentary where director Reza Mejlesi shows how pollution is affecting the natural ecosystems and human residents of Northern Iran.
The OIVFF was founded and directed by festival organizer Shawn Stratton with the mission of celebrating vegan ideals and inspiring people to adopt healthier, eco-friendly, and compassionate lifestyles.
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