Our Hollywood Screening of The Ghosts in Our Machine

Posted by Stefanie Wilson, SALDF Chapter Regional Representative for Los Angeles on April 11, 2014

ALDF is now expanding its presence in the greater Los Angeles region with ALDF-LA. By doing so, this regional attorney network will advance ALDF’s mission to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system by hosting local events, offering CLE activities and speaking engagements, collaborating with local animal protection organizations, and providing legal expertise to strengthen laws for animals.

One such local event was the April 3rd screening of the film, The Ghosts in Our Machine, where ALDF gathered in Hollywood, California with local attorneys, SALDF chapter members, and local supporters. The screening celebrated the partnership between ALDF and Ghosts to mutually promote the film and ALDF’s Animal Bill of Rights.


There was a festive atmosphere at the welcome reception, where attendees quickly discovered mutual connections over delicious vegan appetizers and drinks. A shoe-in for ALDF’s Parent of the Year Award (if there was such a thing), a mother came with her ten- and thirteen-year-old sons, proudly introducing them as animal rights advocates. She told me that, next month, her thirteen-year-old will be giving a presentation on animal rights at his bar mitzvah.

After the film, ALDF hosted a Q&A session with Jo-Anne McArthur, the human protagonist in Ghosts. Questions ranged from, “how do you stay sane?” to “how can I do more for animals?” At times, audience members chimed in to add their thoughts and reflections from their own experiences as animal advocates.

Ghosts follows photo-journalist Jo-Anne McArthur as she travels across the world to photograph animals in captivity for her We Animals book and project. The film is perfect for people who have never heard of animal liberation as well as seasoned animal activists. For the uninitiated, Ghosts is a “gentle” animal rights film. The viewer is so caught up with Jo-Anne’s story and her poignant photographs that they barely notice that their eyes being opened to the Brave New World of animal exploitation that is too often hidden from sight.

For the animal advocates, we find solidarity with Jo-Anne’s experience in the first half of the film. We know her frustration all too well when she faces rejection from a mainstream agency because they can’t sell her photographs to the big publishers. Our hearts ache with hers when she must leave the animals behind and thinks of the ones that cannot be saved. But towards the end of Ghosts, Jo-Anne delivers an important message for all of us in this field—despite everything that she has seen and documented, she still has hope.  She still believes that humans are innately compassionate. “I’m trying to save the world,” she whispers, as if the thought is too radical to say out loud. We are with you Jo-Anne. We are trying to save the world too.

To make sure you get updates about other ALDF-LA local events, be sure to sign up. ALDF is planning a special CLE event for law students and attorneys on September 27, 2014 at Loyola Law School.


2 thoughts on “Our Hollywood Screening of The Ghosts in Our Machine

  1. Please do at world lable for animal welfare…. I also run n.g.o for animal welfare in India…very common thing cruelty on animals… Becz they r helpless n depend on humans….

  2. LorriePaige says:

    I’ve heard of “The Ghosts in Our Machine”. Hopefully it will come to Portland, Oregon, where I live, AND eventually to Netflix and other DVD rentals, where quite a few animal rights films are….

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