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"We Are Boats" Breaks Bread and Ground As First All-Vegan Film Set.

We Are Boats has bragging rights for being the first all  vegan film set.


Zombot Pictures new movie “We Are Boats,” holds special meaning for us. This is not because it is profound, spiritual and moving (which it is). But because of its business-almost-as-usual line that briefly appears in the end credits.

 “No animal was harmed, worn, or eaten in the production of this film.”

In fact, the movie’s press material states this is the “first fully Vegan film set.”

We had to learn more. We turned to Anya Remizova, the film’s producer/composer, a Zombot partner, and a vegan. The other partners (who also happen to be of the plant-based persuasion) are writer/director James Bird, and producer/actress Adriana Mather.

Anya talks in crisp clear sentences, interspersed with laughter.

She explained that all three partners had been vegetarian for a long time.

“Adriana became vegetarian at age 10,” said Anya. ”She went to a slaughterhouse and that changed her forever. James became vegetarian actually when he met her.”

Anya took perhaps a slower route.

“I’m Russian,” she said, “so I grew up with meat and everything. About 15 years ago I made a friend online who I actually never met in person ever. He introduced me to the idea that you don’t have to eat animals. It took me a second to consider because I had all the, you know, normal arguments about it. ‘hey but we raise them for that. ’ All the things that people say on that,  I also said.

We argued about it a little bit. The idea stayed in the back of my head and brewed in there. Me and my family went on vacation. We were at this restaurant and I saw lobsters on a plate; and it just clicked in my head. I can’t any more eat this. These are beings. I don’t want to hurt them anymore. Since then I became a vegetarian. Gradually I discovered that dairy also is hurting animals. it’s a process. I feel good about getting to the place where I am. I’m proud of myself but it didn’t happen overnight.”

Which brings us to the film.

The company describes “We Are Boats” this way.

“Lives intertwine and connect when Francesca navigates through the living world by encountering strangers at the exact moment she needs to, sending their lives on either a better course towards happiness or setting the wheels in motion towards a tragic end — All while she secretly searches for a loved one that she never had the chance to say goodbye to.”

“We Are Boats” manages to be both compassionate and clear eyed. It looks at the coexistence of free will and fate. It reveals the persistence of empathy in an almost indifferent universe. Written and directed by James Bird, its cast (in alphabetical order) includes Uzo Aduba, Justin Cornwell, Jack Falahee, Graham Greene, Luke Hemsworth, Adriana Mather, Amanda Plummer, Angela Sarafyan, Booboo Stewart, and Gaia Weiss.

Anya, James, and Adriana describe Zombot as a “fiercely independent” production company.

“We started the company,” said Anya, “because we wanted to make movies on our own terms about things we wanted to talk about, things that were important to us.”

One standard logistics practice they adhered to in their early films literally stuck in their collective craw.

“You get a catering company,“ said Anya. “You know you feed the people. But it didn’t sit right with us that we were contributing money to hurting animals. We just felt really wrong by it.

“It’s not easy to raise money to make a film. And we somehow end up giving some of it or a portion of it to a cause we are very much against ourselves. We decided why don’t we just make it vegan. It’s our company. It’s our film. We can make that choice. We don’t have to do it the way everybody else does it.”

Hey everybody let’s put on a show. Let’s put on a vegan show.

James, Arianna, and Anya told the line producer about their food decision. Her immediate reaction? “This is going to be difficult.”

“Of course,” said Anya, “we had to talk to the crew and actors and everybody. Before they signed on we told everybody straight up this was going to be a vegan set.”

 Everybody signed on the dotted line. Anya suspects that people didn’t want to put themselves in the position of saying, “actually I do want to kill animals. “

She concedes some crew members wondered, “how am I going to eat?”

Her gaffer imparted two pieces of wisdom to “her crew of big men who were asking how are we going to survive this.”

1.     This really involves only one meal a day.

2.     The film was being shot in Los Angeles. And there was no lack of nearby places to eat.

All who signed onto the film — cast and crew —knew what they were getting into.

Spoiler alert: Everyone survived and flourished. It helped that the caterer, Well Done!, laid out some scrumptious food, including falafels and a fabulous vegan manicotti. According to Anya, a few hardy souls who worked on the film decided to remain in the vegetarian mode.

“Off the top of my head,” said Anya, citing examples, “Justin Cornwell. became vegan after that. He was not before and he said he felt just great. Our wardrobe/costume designer became vegetarian and converted her husband to vegetarian.”

Being the rigorous, truth-seeking journalists that we are, we felt obliged to ask at least one tough question: How do you know you were the first all vegan movie set?

“We googled,” said Anya. “We couldn’t find anybody else who declared. So we took the chance and said we are. If there’s anybody out there who can prove they were, they can take it. We’re not greedy. Or we’ll be the first independent set that’s all vegan. I don’t care. I’m all for anybody doing it. It’s great.”

“”We Are Boats,” distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures,currently is playing in Los Angeles theaters. On 26 March, it will be released to streaming services and DVD. To see the trailer, click here