The documentary “Snowy” is a touching short film by Kaitlyn Schwalje and Alex Wolf Lewis about a tiny turtle named Snowy who lives in the family basement with very little sunlight and is largely ignored by everyone in the family except for father Larry Wolf (the filmmakers’ uncle). Larry had bought the turtle for his young sons over ten years ago, but the now-grown boys expressed that they had forgotten about the basement terrapin. Concerned that the turtle wasn’t living a good life, Larry found himself searching for ways to make Snowy feel happy.
Snowy has lived an isolated life in the family basement for the past 10+ years with minimal sunlight and no companionship other than that of his primary caretaker, Uncle Larry. In an effort to improve Snowy’s life we ask: Can Snowy be happy and what would it take?
Wolf would dig up earthworms for Snowy to eat, something he felt that the turtle loved. One day, however, the turtle rejected the worms, which led Larry to seek outside resources, such as Animal Cognition expert Anna Wilkinson of the University of Lincoln, who told him that Snowy needed more space and more sunlight. Wolf followed these instructions to the letter, taking Snowy outside and giving him a larger enclosure in a more accessible area in the home.
This short documentary is both an investigation into animal happiness and an intervention to improve one turtle’s life. Through interviews with Snowy’s veterinarian, the Wolf family, a reptile expert, and an animal psychic we explore our capacity to understand the animals that live in our homes.
Schwalje and Wolf Lewis stated that they were inspired to make the film after visiting their aunt and uncle for Thanksgiving one year.
Filmmakers Kaitlyn Schwalje and Alex Wolf Lewis decided to make a film about Snowy the pet turtle after spending Thanksgiving with him one year. Their short documentary is both an investigation into animal happiness and an intervention to improve one turtle’s life.
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