Abstract

Nature and Nurture is an animated short film about a mother wolf raising her newborn cub through its first year of life. Humanity has started to develop near their home and we see how that affects their ecosystem and existence from the perspective of the wolves. It is fiction based on historical facts of grey wolf populations in the American Midwest from the 1960’s onward. Being a predator species, they have been viewed as the villain in the folklore of many different civilizations and have been considered a pest for the damages to livestock and farmland that they can cause through their presence. The human response to wolves has been “kill on sight,” to the point of near extinction due to their negative publicity. By telling a story from the perspective of the wolves and especially through the eyes of a mother caring for her child we can empathize with their plight more readily than as the monsters they are portrayed as. Wolves hold an important place in an ecosystem by balancing out the overpopulation of deer and rodents that can decimate vegetation and erode landscape due to their consumption of resources. There are many ways wolves can be kept separate from livestock without the use of violence that will benefit both our world and theirs. In the film, the pup grows up alongside its mother as they bond over food and play together through the forest they call home. As time goes on, the presence of humanity becomes more apparent: starting with logging operations and the clearing of an area for development, the hunting and trapping of deer and small game that would be a food source for them; finally, a collision of worlds at the climax of the film, presenting the emotional toll and thought process of the mother through her actions and silent gestures. The film concludes with a symbol of hope, and a statement representing the current state of the grey wolf populations today.

Publication Date

11-30-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Film and Animation (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CAD)

Advisor

Jonathan Seligson

Advisor/Committee Member

Thomas Gasek

Advisor/Committee Member

Daniel LaTourette

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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