|Unlocking the Cage
A film by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker
91 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2016
From the filmmakers of Dont Look Back and The War Room comes a real-life legal thriller about one man's lifelong quest to protect "nonhuman" animals.
Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise as he tries to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. Arguing that cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and elephants deserve to be treated as sentient, self-aware and autonomous beings, Steve and his legal team are making history by fighting to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with limited legal protections. This riveting film captures a monumental shift in our culture as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve's impassioned arguments.
Watch the Trailer
"Thoughtful, compelling and heroic. The film made me proud to be a primate." - Jon Stewart
"D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus bring their relaxed, acute observational style of filmmaking to bear on a thorny tangle of legal and philosophical questions. Observant and absorbing." - The New York Times
"Take a journey of enlightenment in this eye-opening documentary." - Boston Herald
"With legal-thriller pacing and emotional intelligence, the film chronicles attorney Steven Wise's gung-ho effort to get a U.S. court to recognize a chimpanzee as a legal person with protections." - The Los Angeles Times
"Presents some fascinating legal and ethical issues.... an exemplary piece of documentary storytelling." - The Guardian
"Riveting." - The Huffington Post
See details about this film's theatrical run.
● Music Video "Meant to be Free" (original song by Steve Wise and Alex Forbes)