I’ve been a follower of Jim Brandenburg’s work for many years. I consider him to be the Dr. Jane Goodall of wolves. Brandenburg, like Goodall, has spent decades observing wild anmals (wolves) in the field. I’ve learned a great deal about wild sentient beings from both Goodall and Brandenburg, whom I highly admire.
Admire, because they are both taking a stand against trophy hunting of wolves.
Then there is the director, producer and screen writer of this remarkable film about wolves. I’ve come to know Julia Huffman through her work, finding her to be a compassioniate wolf advocate. Her creative attributes drive her to look for answers as to why some humans love wolves while others hate them.
Interview with Film Director Julia Huffman
Rachel: When did you start working on this film?
Julia: I started thinking and visualizing sometime in early 2012, around the time that wolves went from being de listed to sport hunted and trapped in the Great Lakes region, in this very short period of time.
Rachel: Out of the many species imperiled why did you chose to focus on the wolf?
Julia:Well, I grew up with dogs, (the wolf in the living room) so I had some of that energy in my home and still do for 40 plus years.But I have always admired the wolf, like many people, I’ve been drawn to the wolf. Then when I heard that they were de listed after only very minimal recovery, (less than 15 percent from their original roaming territory and numbers) I was shocked. Then there was this incredible political PUSH, like a frenzy to sport hunt them. So it really felt like this sweeping massive attack on the wolf and I felt deep in my bones that something must be done to protect them.
Rachel: What drew you to Jim Brandenburg?
Julia: When I decided to focus the film in Minnesota and was doing research, everyone I spoke with said, ‘If your going to do a film about wolves, you must speak with Jim Brandenburg.” Then I read his book Brother Wolf and I was completely blown away. Jim Brandenburg has been living closely to wild wolves since 1968- the year I was born! Just looking at his photographs of wolves, you see something incredibly unique and intimate. Jim has been telling stories visually, and with words in a way that I found to be so beautiful, that I knew right away, if I could meet him, he very well might be THE heart of the story, and that is what happened!
Rachel: While doing the research and making of the film what surprised you the most?
Julia: Hmm, well, I am surprised by how much the old myths and fairy tales about “the Big Bad Wolf” are still ingrained in peoples’ psyches even well educated, good people. Quite a few prominent politicians, for instance, in Minnesota who seem to care for the environment, have totally abandoned the wolf and supported a full on assault of them. It’s mind numbing. It doesn’t take much research or understanding to see how important wolves are to the natural balance of things. We actually need wolves now more than ever, but there still is this archaic belief system so ingrained that the wolf is bad. Most people don’t realize that wolves are more afraid of us than we are of them. There have only been two wolf attacks in our history, and the percentage of wolves predating on livestock is less than 1 percent. Politicians would have you believe otherwise. There is this disconnect. I blame the entertainment industry for still depicting wolves as evil, and I think its incredibly irresponsible. I also think that the wolf has somehow become a token that politicians have given to lobbyists who feed their campaigns. The cattle industry, the Deer Hunters Association and The Safari Club are powerful groups with lots money to donate…the wolf doesn’t have these Lobby groups, grassroots organization are scrambling, its become the American Way now, money talks, democracy is dwindling.
Rachel: Why should people watch this film?
Julia: If there is any curiosity about wolves, or even negative feeling about wolves, I think that folks may learn something or connect to something they haven’t before, by watching the film. I try to bring a unique story to the table, they may observe things about wolves they didn’t know.
“I am indeed proud to contribute my years of experiences, feelings and photography to Julia Huffman’s inspired documentary Medicine of the Wolf. I am troubled about the misguided and unfortunate wolf hunt in here Minnesota (and neighboring states) because our legislature could be so irresponsible by continuing a hunt under the umbrella of science. It’s not about science or wolf management, it appears to be more about giving our ‘sportsman’ a new species to hunt, a new trophy. Old, tired and misguided myths continue to haunt this valuable member of our delicate ecosystem. I thought those days were over.“ ~Jim Brandenburg
Featuring John A. Vucetich
Featuring: Ch-Maiingan/Great Wolf (Larry Stillday)-Tribal Elder (honorable memory for his passing in 2014)
Also featuring: Dr. Jane Goodall, elder, actor, Saginaw Grant, Dr. Maureen Hackett (HFW), Brooks Fahy (Executive Director Predator Defense), Marc Bekoff, Galeo Saintz (Wild Peace) Barry Babcock Woodsman, Environmentalist and our friends at the The Wolf Connection in Acton CA.
With Musical contributions from: James Taylor, AA Bondy, MOBY, Piano Magic, Louise Du Toit and More!
Award winning film: 1st place Animal Content in Entertainment Award from the Humane Society for Medicine of the Wolf.
“Julia Huffman and her film Medicine of the Wolf exposes the real threats facing one of America’s most iconic species – the gray wolf. The ecological benefit of these keystone species is staggering: gray wolves modulate their prey herds, protect forest and river health, increase biological diversity and minimize the harms caused by deer on crops and commercial forests, and reduce deer-auto collisions. Now they are facing unprecedented attacks from trophy hunters in Northern Rockies and the possibility for delisting in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region. This film reveals the harsh reality that wolves are facing today and the political hullabaloo responsible for it.” ~Nicole Paquette, Vice President Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States
For more information, to buy tickets, watch trailer, cast and crew information here: http://prod3.agileticketing.net/WebSales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=121755%7E36893ed1-b0b9-423c-bbab-90f22d0aeafe&epguid=02bcf1bd-86b9-4d4d-9d0d-a11ff2a158b2
About filmmaker: Julia Huffman is an independent filmmaker and acting coach living in Los Angeles, CA. She is a writer, producer, director, and editor and recently won the 1st place Animal Content in Entertainment Award from the Humane Society for Medicine of the Wolf. Some of her past producing credits includes HGTV, Steven Bochco Productions, and others. She also shot, edited and produced a short film – The Rainbow Murders in 2008. Julia has a strong passion for animal advocacy, social justice and the environment. She grew up with parents from Los Angeles who dropped out of the mainstream life (the Back to the Land Movement) and moved to rural West Virginia where she still has a strong connection to the land, she likes to call herself a child of the Revolutionaries. http://www.medicineofthewolf.com/
“Medicine of the Wolf”:
Filmmaker Julia Huffman travels to Minnesota and into wolf country to pursue the deep intrinsic value of brother wolf and our forgotten promise to him. Questioning the rationale of wolf hunts, the film Stars captivating testimony from world renown environmentalist and National Geographic photographer, Jim Brandenburg, someone who has studied and been on the ground with wolves for 45 years—longer than anyone in history—as well as a Medicine Man, Chi Ma’iingan (known as Big Wolf) from Red Lake Nation, and wolf scientist John Vucetich.
Rachel holds a Batchelor of Science Degree in Art Education and is a retired art teacher. Tilseth is a freelance writer and journalist. Tilseth’s interests in nature, specifically wolves, led her to advocate for wolves and wildlife. In the year 2000 she became involved in WI DNR Wolf Recovery Program working as a volunteer winter wolf tracker to present. She founded the blog and social media network Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin to bring education and awareness to Wisconsin’s wild wolf. Tilseth has spent several years speaking out against wolf trophy hunts. Tilseth is active in working to ban Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin. She has a strong background in the visual arts. She’s a sculptor and oil painter. Tilseth has expanded her interest into filmmaking. She’s currently in the process of creating a documentary film about the heart of wolf advocacy.
View all posts by Rachel Tilseth