Veggie Propaganda is a quirky, sing-song animation that puts a spotlight on animals, our relationship with them and their rights. This 2D fine-art/digital animation features original music performed by New York City band, The Penultimate. It explores childhood myths about animals vs. the reality of their lives in a human-centered world, where our food really comes from and how by simply eating less meat individuals can make an astounding positive impact on their health, their finances and the environment.
Independent animator, Kristen Palana has been a flawed, on-again/off-again vegetarian since the age of twelve. She continually is torn between her love of animals and the powerful cravings that make her want to occasionally eat them (especially when pregnant). She created this animation to raise awareness about the lives animals lead and to show that normal everyday meat-eaters have the power to make things better for animals, themselves and the planet just by taking a few baby steps towards eating less meat.
The idea to make Veggie Propaganda originally stems from Kristen’s lifelong love of animals and the growing realization as a child that perhaps the relationship between animals and humans was not as innocent as she was originally led to believe.
“I think every animal lover can remember the day when they first learned where meat actually comes from. For me it was at my family’s kitchen table in Swansea, Massachusetts back in 1982 when I was about four years old. Previously I had taken the bits of information the well-meaning adults told me such as “ham comes from pigs, etc…” and came up with the idea that animals “laid” the meat (good friends of ours that they were) just like a hen lays eggs or in the way that milk is extracted from a cow. I proudly repeated my theory to my parents and then 9 year-old brother to let them know that I was in the loop and knew how the world worked. I still remember my shock and dismay when my brother told me in less-than-friendly terms that the meat WAS the animal. I was in fact, a misguided idiot.
My mother, wishing to console me as I tried to process this earth-shattering news reassured me with, ‘Oh Honey, don’t worry! Animals don’t feel pain.’ It worked though. I didn’t really think about the issue again until around the age of twelve when most kids really start to ask tougher questions. That’s when I started my first stint as a vegetarian; a label I have worn with varying degrees of success, failure and hypocrisy these last twenty three years.
I wanted to make an animation that got people thinking about their relationship to animals and to their food. I have found that many ‘propaganda’ offerings that seek to convert people into vegetarians or vegans come off as heavy-handed or extremist and ultimately turn off more people to their cause. My goal was to make something funny, quirky and yet full of educational information that was targeted to regular every day meat-eaters who might be looking for good reasons to eat less meat.
From 2008 to 2010 I actually wrote and rewrote Veggie Propaganda three times during pre-production because I was trying to strike just the right tone. Also, after sending off my rough (a huge understatement) attempt at a song in to my friend Steve Rittler of Queens, NY., he ultimately got his band, The Penultimate together and they recorded a much better version- albeit two whole minutes longer than what I had originally planned for! However, I was so happy with their take on the song that I decided to rework my storyboard/animatic yet again and the result is this current six minute version.”
-Kristen Palana, October 2011.
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