Growing up in New York means having spent happy hours in the Hall of African Mammals in the American Museum of Natural History, ogling the amazing dioramas. Filmmaker Erin Derham is a vegetarian and animal lover with a Masters degree in Environmental History, so she approached the subject of taxidermy with trepidation. But in this gorgeous, quirky, fascinating documentary she discovers a new generation of taxidermists dedicated to applying their artistry to a field that has conservation at its heart center. Lonesome George, the last of his species (a Pinta Island tortoise) has been preserved – as have hummingbirds, aardvarks, ocelots, and axolotls. There’s even a subculture (“rogue taxidermy”) specializing in the creation of fantasy or “cryptozoological” animals. Whether tattooed or strictly white-bread, these new taxidermists are articulate and passionate about their work; they will surprise and delight you.
NR, 85 min.
“If taxidermy - the art of preserving animal remains - and conservation seem antithetical, then STUFFED is the film to reshape all those preconceptions. Lyrical, poignant, and beautiful.” - The Austin Chronicle
“STUFFED is full of beautiful long shots, courtesy of the director of photography Jan Balster, that show off all the little details and flourishes of each animal on display. Filled with hypnotic imagery that vividly captures the efforts of the artists. Truly engrossing.” - Film Threat
“Director Erin Derham beautifully displays an insightful cabinet of curiosities. Derham is an animal lover, vegetarian, and has a Masters of History with a focus on Environmental History. STUFFED captures the dedicated passion of talented artists behind a stigmatized vocation in the most fascinating and entertaining manner. [It] shows us that love and art can be found everywhere - in nature, conservation efforts, science, and yes, even in death.” - Birth.Movies.Death.
“Enchanting. As rich in visual splendor as it is in insight and information.” - Pajiba