Donkeys are “capturing hearts worldwide”, as two films starring them are tipped for Oscar nominations when they are revealed tomorrow (24 January 2023).
The Banshees of Inisherin stars Colin Farrell and miniature donkey Jenny, who plays the role of his best friend. The film, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, won three Golden Globes this month and is expected to be among the contenders for Oscar nomination.
Also expected to make the shortlist is the Jerzy Skolimowski-directed EO, which tells the story of a donkey’s journey through the hands of different owners, some who treat him well and some who do not.
“While EO and The Banshees of Inisherin are a celebration of donkeys and their special relationship with humans, they also expose their vulnerability and some of the many and varied challenges donkeys face all over the world as innocent animals often exploited and abused by humans,” said a Donkey Sanctuary spokesman.
Faith Burden, executive director of equine operations at the Donkey Sanctuary, said EO is “beautifully shot” and offers the opportunity to view the world from a donkey’s perspective.
“The portrayal and billing of the donkey as the central character clearly demonstrates the film-maker’s deep appreciation of these emotional and highly intelligent animals. Although we do not encourage the use of donkeys purely for entertainment, we do appreciate that films featuring donkeys can be used to educate, inform and advocate on their behalf,” she said.
“In recognising and celebrating the intrinsic value of donkeys, we hope these poignant films will elevate the status of donkeys in the eyes of the public and give them the recognition and status they deserve.”
The Donkey Sanctuary has created its own short film, Innocent Lives, to raise awareness of the illegal trade of donkey skins around the world.
“Many people will be shocked to discover that around five million donkeys are brutally slaughtered every year to produce ejiao, a traditional Chinese medicine made from donkey skins. Campaigning for an end to the skin trade is just one element of the Donkey Sanctuary’s efforts to improve the lives of donkeys everywhere, through advocacy, legislation, research and education,” the spokesman said.
“Closer to home, the real donkeys of Inisherin – on the Isle of Inis Mor where the The Banshees of Inisherin was made – are just a few of the animals in remote places to benefit from the charity’s outreach.”
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