The Challenges of Giving Shelter

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The Premiere of Kevin Nikkel’s documentary on the Winnipeg Humane Society.

The Winnipeg Humane Society

The Winnipeg Humane Society

The film provides a glimpse into the complexity of shelter life. It demonstrates how our days are filled with highs and lows; life and death

A new documentary about the Winnipeg Humane Society will premiere May 14th, 7 p.m. The film was made possible through the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Community WITH ART Program. It was a collaborative process whereby the filmmaker was given access to The WHS to discover the focus and theme of this film.

The Winnipeg Arts Council’s Community WITH ART Program partners professional artists with community groups to work on community identity, issues, and shared goals through the development of an art project. By engaging in the artistic process and interacting with professional artists, people are given a chance to express themselves and often gain a deeper understanding of their own communities.

The Challenges of Giving Shelter gives a behind the scenes look at the daily workings of the Winnipeg Humane Society shelter. This is a world of dedicated animal lovers faced with difficult decisions, where sympathetic staff and volunteers manage their compassion fatigue and community expectations to care for cute, cuddly, at times dangerous and homeless animals.

The film gives a better understanding of the people who work on the front lines of this unique facility to offer medical treatment, foster care and adoption services for animals. The daily intake of animals is performed with a ritual of humane care, but the constant dilemma of overpopulation raises the issue of euthanizing animals. The film explores the personal aspects of work, societal responsibility and the challenges of providing humane treatment to animals.

“The film provides a glimpse into the complexity of shelter life. It demonstrates how our days are filled with highs and lows; life and death,” said Aileen White, Communications Director, “Kevin immersed himself into shelter life. The staff became so familiar with his presence that the result is a very intimate and moving portrait. I am grateful for this opportunity WITH ART provided us. Without it, we would not have been able to work with such an outstanding filmmaker and to share this story with our community.”

“Filming on location at the Humane Society gave me a new appreciation for the work done by these caring and dedicated people. There is so much more to the typical headlines of the cute cats and dogs in this shelter needing homes. This is a fascinating place full of stories of interesting people and complicated issues being played out on a daily basis,” said filmmaker Kevin Nikkel.

“This film is a wonderful example of the power of art to reflect a rarely seen perspective,” said Carol Phillips, Executive Director of the Winnipeg Arts Council. “You can’t help but experience a greater sense of empathy for the animals and the people who work with them when watching this film. That is art at work.”

For More Information, Contact:                                        

Hannah Rose Pratt
Communications Coordinator
The Winnipeg Humane Society
o: 204-988-8810

Alix Sobler
Communications/Resource Development Manager
Winnipeg Arts Council
o: (204) 943-7668 m: (204) 918-0164

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Hannah Rose Pratt
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