A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Unlocking the Cage

For the last two years, Academy Award-winning movie maker D.A. Pennebaker and Oscar nominee Chris Hegedus have been following the work of Steven M. Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project for their upcoming movie Unlocking the Cage.

In this Op-Doc video, adapted from the movie for the New York Times, Steve teaches at law school, visits the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary, tests his memory abilities against a chimpanzee, meets with the legal team as they prepare the first court cases, visits Merlin, who would have been their first chimpanzee plaintiff had he not died of a tooth infection at a roadside zoo, and heads into court on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee being kept in a dark shed at a used trailer lot.

Pennebaker has directed more than 20 feature-length documentaries, including Don’t Look Back, Monterey Pop, Moon over Broadway and Kings of Pastry and The War Room. Hegedus won the 2002 D.G.A. award and, with Pennebaker, received an Oscar nomination for The War Room.