Norsk filminstitutt

A pig, two cows, and a one-legged chicken. Familiar, even commonplace animals, they peck, graze and roll in the mud, catching worms and brushing away the flies. Renowned filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky has brought a dedicated and unusual gaze to the lives of these animals. An intimate portrait which gives value to their lives, and reflect on our own human behavior.     

We share our planet with more than a billion pigs, more than a billion cows and over 20 billion chickens. In industrialized societies, we are oblivious to or ignore them as the sentient beings they are. What do they think about us? What would they say to us if we knew their language? Can we understand them by opening up and observing them carefully? What can they teach us? 

In Gunda, Russian auteur Victor Kossakovsky offers a moving intervention to recalibrate our moral universe by showing us their individuality.  A pig named Gunda, two ingenious cows and a scene-stealing one-legged chicken remind us of the value of life for each of our fellow creatures.  

Returning the sow's holding gaze and listening to the cow's gentle lowing, Kossakovsky debunks any pretension that we are separated from them by a uniquely human capacity for emotion, consciousness or will.  

Immersed in their lives, lived to the full in joy and pain, just like ours, it becomes inconceivable for humankind not to swiftly undertake the major changes necessary to end mass cruelty and slaughter. 

Gunda is Kossakovsky’s deeply personal attempt to renew our vision of life, a meditation on the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.  

Production and distribution

Production Year:
2020
Production country:
Norway
Co production country:
USA
Release date (international):
2020-02-22
Production company:
Sant & Usant AS
Co production company:
Louverture Films
Executive producer:
Joaquin Phoenix
Regina K. Scully
Tone Grøttjord-Glenne
Producer:
Anita Rehoff Larsen
Co producer:
Joslyn Barnes
Susan Rockefeller
Film consultant:
Even G. Benestad
Helle Hansen
Sales agent:
Cinephil - Distribution & Co-Productions
United Talent Agency

Director

  • Victor Kossakovsky

     Victor Kossakovsky (b. 1961) is a Russian filmmaker. He began his career in motion pictures at the Leningrad studio of Documentaries as assistant cameraman, assistant director, and editor in 1978. In many of his films, Kossakovsky plays the role of editor, cinematographer, writer, and director. He graduated from the Higher Courses of Film Writers and Directors in Moscow in 1988. In 1993, his feature Belovy (The Belovs) won both the VPRO Joris Ivens Award and the Audience Award at IDFA. Kossakovsky’s films have since then won over 100 awards and prizes. Kossakovsky’s latest film, Aquarela, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2018. 

    Victor Kossakovsky

Awards

2020:
Filmfest Hamburg
Audience Award
2020:
Stockholm International Film Festival
Best Documentary
2020:
Nordic/Docs
Nordic/Docs Award Best Documentary Cinematography
Honorable Mention
2020:
Nominated for The European Film Award for Best Documentary
2020:
Nominated for IDA DocumentaryAward

Festivals

2020:
Berlin International Film Festival
2020:
Antenna Documentary Festival
2020:
New York Film Festival
2020:
Zürich Film Festival
2020:
Filmfest Hamburg
2020:
Camden International Film Festival
2020:
BIFF - Bergen International Film Festival
2020:
Hamptons International Film Festival
2020:
Festival International du Film de la Roche-sur-Yon
2020:
Adelaide Film Festival
2020:
Aspen Filmfest
2020:
Middleburg Film Festival
2020:
Montclaire Film Festival
2020:
Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival
2020:
Denver Film Festival
2020:
Philadelphia Film Festival
2020:
Nordic Film Days Lübeck
2020:
Thessaloniki International Film Festival
2020:
New Horizons International Film Festival
2020:
DOC NYC
2020:
Stockholm International Film Festival
2020:
IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
2020:
Nordic/Docs
2021:
TIFF - Tromsø International Film Festival
2021:
DocPoint - Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
2021:
Glasgow Film Festival
2021:
Human International Documentary Film Festival
2021:
Dublin International Film Festival

Crew

Director:
Victor Kossakovsky
Screenplay:
Victor Kossakovsky
Ainara Vera
Cinematographer:
Egil Håskjold Larsen
Victor Kossakovsky
Camera:
Pol Roig
Editor:
Victor Kossakovsky
Ainara Vera
Sound Design:
Alexander Dudarev
Sound engineer:
Alexander Dudarev

Technical information

Format:
DCP 2k
Colour:
Svarthvit
Sound format:
Dolby Atmos
Length in mins:
93'
Language:
No dialogue

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