Dreaming of Big Furry Animals

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‘The Animal Project’ director Ingrid Veninger.

Ingrid Veninger’s latest feature film, The Animal Project, is a hard film to categorize. It’s about the separation between dreams and reality. It’s about loss, remembrance and the depths of familial love. It’s about trust and truth and even art itself. And it’s about a bunch of big furry animals, standing in a field. It’s the story of an “unorthodox” acting teacher, struck by a dream featuring said animals standing in said field, who decides to use his pupils, and a bunch of man-sized animal suits, to fulfill his vision. Guided by his belief, the students gradually submit and find the project a life-changing experience. “It’s about trying to reconnect with life as a child and bringing innocence up out of the darkness,” said Veninger, who wrote and directed the film. The actual film came together in a similar manner as the film in the story, according to Veninger and actors Jessica Greco and Johnathan Sousa. “We didn’t know the premise coming in,” said Greco, with agreement from Sousa. “I’d seen Ingrid’s films in the past and I really wanted to do it because she’s about people and about truth,” said Sousa. “And I thought it was a chance to do some of my most truthful acting.” The Animal Project screens Apr. 8, at 5:45pm in Regal 20.

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