Asian Cinema Fund 2018
2018 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund
|Project||The Primate Citizen|
The Primate Citizen follows the unprecedented challenge to break down the social and legal wall for orangutan Sandra to find a better place to live. In 2014, Sandra was given the legal status from a court in Argentina. That implies she can live in an appropriate space as a non-human person. Sandra’s lawyers proposed to move her to a private sanctuary in Brazil. But her owner, Buenos Aires Zoo, insists her best place will be an improved enclosure. Here starts Sandra’s dilemma. Sandra is legally a subject in Argentina. But if she moves outside the country, she wouldn′t be able to maintain her status. To keep it, she should have a kind of passport to guarantee her rights. If Sandra were a wild orangutan, it would be simpler. Healthy wild orangutans are better suited to return to the wild. But Sandra was born in captivity and has lived in the care of human beings. She doesn’t know the natural life. Where does Sandra prefer to live? How much freedom do we allow for her?
The legal situation with Sandra really intrigued me. It is unique and exceptional. The court in Argentina took the decision in December 2014 that Sandra is a ′subject of rights,’ not an object. The deeper I get into Sandra’s case, the more I realize its dilemma without adequate solutions. Sandra’s lawyers proposed to the court to send Sandra to a private sanctuary in Brazil. But the owner of Sandra, Buenos Aires Zoo, insists that the best place for her will be an improved enclosure in the zoo. At the same time, lawyers face another obstacle. If Sandra moves to a sanctuary outside the country, she wouldn′t be able to maintain that legal status. To keep the status, she should have a kind of passport to guarantee her rights and to travel outside the country. The most important thing is how do we make a decision for the better. If Sandra’s case has an effect on the next generation, it is the best thing we can do. Through this film, I also started thinking.