A fully rounded, elegantly observed documentary on the world of taxidermy, its dedicated practitioners and their empathy for the animals whose lives and beauty they lovingly preserve.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Stuffed takes us into the beautiful and bizarre world of taxidermy and on an eye-opening, globe-trotting encounter with passionate artists and experts stretching boundaries in this little-known field. Although the subjects featured in Erin Derham’s enlightening film have vastly different approaches to their art, none of them work with any animal that hasn’t died naturally or been acquired ethically.
“If taxidermy – the art of preserving animal remains – and conservation seem antithetical, then Stuffed is the film to reshape all those preconceptions. For many practitioners, taxidermy is not about trophies or death. It’s about preserving the animals so that people can understand and appreciate them. The taxidermists Derham studies love their subjects, studying them in life and death so that they are shown in natural positions, so that the muscles and motion are captured, so that aspects of their beauty that are hidden by speed or rarity or even the skin can be seen and understood and wondered at by viewers who may never see an ocelot or axolotl or alpaca in the wild. This is the art of seeing animals, and her subjects are, in their own very real way, conservationists.” — Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle
“Stuffed is full of beautiful long shots… that show off all the little details and flourishes of each animal on display. From the skinning and washing to the creation of a mold body and fitting, to the posing and decoration, the documentary is filled with hypnotic imagery that vividly captures the efforts of the artists.” — Bobby Le Pire, Film Threat