Daniel Gartzke is an alumni of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Radio/Tv/Film Department and an internationally, award winning Director. Dan is the winner of Best Documentary and Best Director awards in London, Paris, and Los Angeles for his debut documentary, Light in The Darkness. He brings expertise and vision to the important issue of companion animals and euthanasia in Rescue Story.Director Statement
Each year, 6.5 million companion animals enter the shelter system in the United States, and of those, 1.5 million are euthanized. This ﬁlm seeks to reduce that number, by presenting the many causes of the issue, as well as some of the ways people are trying to help. I have been an animal lover all my life, and am currently the father of my own rescue animal. I can’t imagine a world without him, but he could have easily become one of those 1.5 million animals who never found a home. This grim reality is one that cannot be ignored. I wanted this ﬁlm to place these two outcomes in contrast to each other. The problem of animals being euthanized also has solutions. The ﬁlm opens at a troubled animal shelter in the south, where the animal overpopulation problem is at its worst. We use this as an opportunity to talk about the challenges facing shelters such as this one, including over-crowding and under-funding. We do not wish to portray the shelters as the problem, but rather show them as they are, victims of their situation. We are also introduced to a group of animals in danger of being euthanized if they run out of time. It is a grim start, but this story does not end in tragedy. From there, we follow the animals as they are rescued, and taken to a no-kill animal sanctuary in the north, where there is more demand for animals and, if necessary, a permanent home for them at the sanctuary. As they bond with their rescuers, and make their way through the adoption process, we also discuss other causes of the issue including cultural history, lack of education, and lack of personal and social responsibility. We meet a few organizations on the front lines of
the issue, including animal rehabilitation specialists, adoption program facilitators, and even technology developers. Finally, we follow these animals all the way to their forever homes. Some ﬁnd families. Others ﬁnd a permanent family at the sanctuary. They all ﬁnd a loving home.
My hope is that people ﬁnd this ﬁlm equal parts enlightening and entertaining. Although the ﬁlm does seek to foster real conversations about animal issues, the love and connection between humans and animals is at the heart of this piece. If we can save one more life, or open one more heart, then this ﬁlm will have been a success.