Women & Advocacy…

Julia Huffman is the producer and director of the award winning documentaries Medicine of the Wolf and Wolf Spirit. This interview is from July 2016.

Julia can you tell the readers where you grew up?
I grew up in Southern West Virginia with a few years living in “Philly”, Philadelphia.

 Can you tell us about a childhood memory that helped create who you’ve become now?

My parents “dropped out” of living in the city, when I was very young and joined a “back to the land movement.”  They really re created themselves and didn’t follow the norm of mainstream society. This influenced me deeply. I developed a close connection to the land and to animals growing up in the hills and hollers of WVA. Nature is my base. I am interested in finding new ways to do and say things in this life time and my parents really taught me by their example to be true to that inner voice.

 Can you tell us about a person in your life that inspired you?

Jane Fonda. Beautiful spirit inside and out. An incredible activist and honest. I think we dismiss honesty at times In our culture, but she always struck me as someone who doesn’t apologize for who she is, but can admit openly she made a mistake. We all do. But the humility it takes to be out In the public eye and work on the many environmental issues she has over the years and then also say, “I missed the mark there”, to me, takes incredible courage.

People don’t realize how many years this woman has been using her voice, money and celebrity to speak out for women, human rights, Indigenous rights, and environment… It goes on and on. And lastly she is actually a bit shy by nature, but does it anyway, because she believes in it, I relate to this!

 Can you tell us a little about your post high school studies and why you chose them?

 I got a degree in broadcast journalism, at Bethany College in West Virginia.  I wanted to be a news reporter at one time.

 Can you tell us about a person that helped develop your creative artistic side?

 So many. At a point in my life, I learned, finally, to ask for help and I have been blessed to have found several amazing mentors over the years.

One of my latest is actress Sheryl Lee. She really liked the film and we found each other through a mutual friend. I always thought her work was very cerebral and magnetic and so we had this mutual admiration, which is a good starting place. She is incredibly generous with her talent and time. She is a teacher by nature. She has shared gems of wisdom with me and supported and inspired me to be true to my creative and ever evolving intuition.

 You chose wolves as the subject of your award winning documentary Medicine of the Wolf. Can you tell us what led you to that choice?

 I have always loved wolves. My connection to them, like many, is through my first dog Bozo, he was my soul mate. You’ve heard the term, “the wolf is in your living room? Well Bozo was my “wolf.”

My film was really this amazing opportunity for me to learn more about the dog’s wild cousin, the wolf, right along with the viewer, I really went on that journey.

Medicine of the Wolf Trailer

As a director can you tell us what was the most challenging segment to film in Medicine of the Wolf?

 All of it…ha ha. I call myself, “Me myself and I Productions”..

I say that with a smile, there are S0 many people who donated time energy, money love…into making it! And it certainly IS a WE film. But I bit off a huge chunk in wearing most of the hats. And I am grateful; it’s the doing that makes us learn.

 But maybe the pain was the hardest. The wolf hunt was happening when we were making it and I felt like the whole time I was sprinting (and I was) I had this crazy notion that I needed to save them…And I, we, do. And it took a toll.

 As a director can you tell us what was the most rewarding segment to film in Medicine of the a Wolf?

 I loved ALL of it truly. But being with Jim and my amazing crew up in Wolf country, in Ravenwood for several shoots was MAGICAL, it gets under your skin, the beauty and rawness of that country. And all that Jim shared and gave and revealed in the film was the biggest gift and life changing experience, I truly cherish and admire Jim so very much, he is one of my teachers.

 Can you tell us how has the making of the film Medicine of the Wolf touched you spiritually?

…..It changed me. I am fairly quiet about this, as I believe now that some of what we experience in life is sacred.

Chi Ma’’iingan, Larry Stillday who is in the film and has since passed, shared with me, that the Medicine of the Wolf is love, this I know now on a core level.

 Can you tell us how the overall production of Medicine of the Wolf enhanced your professional career?

New opportunities.

Well. I was invited to do a TEDx talk in Fargo, My talk is on the Healing power of Wolves, so that is a big honor..I have traveled all over now with the film, many seem to really like it. Maybe I am recognized more now as a director. I think as women, there are still a very low percentage of us getting our projects seen and so I am honored to help carry that torch for us.

 Now let’s talk wolves. Can you tell us why you think the topic of wolves drives such fear and hate in some people?

I think that the wolf issue in many ways represents a mirror into our own selves; meaning they remind us of our capacity to love deeply and hate deeply.

And just like the political battles and the bashing you see around us now, many humans seem to need to vilify something.

The wolf in my mind in certain circles has become a scapegoat of misplaced anger and resentment.

 Can you tell us what about the wolf inspires you? Why do you champion him?

The wolf has given so much, just by being. The film was a thank you for all that they have done for the planet and for us humans.

You’ve chosen the topic of Celebrating the wolf for your Ted Talk; can you tell us why you chose that topic?

We have been so programmed to believe that wolves are bad and evil, its everywhere in the news…ISIS attackers are labeled ”Lone wolves” The Wolf of Wallstreet…etc etc etc.

And anti wolf groups continue to spread propaganda about wolves that is incredibly destructive.

So my intention is to speak only of the wolf in the positive and celebratory way that they rightly deserve. I believe that words and ideas…can change hearts and minds. We’ll see! J

Julia’s Ted Talk

Final question. Can you tell us what’s next for you? 

Rest. Maybe a dramatic feature film…

You can meet Julia Huffman on Saturday August 24th, The Center Theatre for more information go to the Facebook event page by clicking here.

Wolf Spirit Trailer

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Learning to live with predators

A Wisconsin premiere of “Medicine of the Wolf” explores ecological significance

by Craig Johnson Source: The Isthmus 

October 13, 2016

Why are we afraid of the big, bad wolf? Is it because they kill so much livestock, or steal our babies? Or is it because they have been vilified for centuries in every manner of media from folk tales to blog posts?
Julia Huffman’s award-winning documentary, Medicine of the Wolf, explores the lives of wolves in Minnesota, their place in the ecosystem, their relationship with humans and the continued smear campaign against the predators.
It includes footage shot by National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg, and will screen at the Barrymore Theatre Oct. 19 as part of Wolf Awareness Week. The 7 p.m. screening will be followed by a panel discussion with wolf experts and advocates, including Robert Mann, an elder from the Ho-Chunk Nation, and Randy Jurewicz, former wolf administrator for the state Department of Natural Resources.
Wolves once ranged throughout the lower 48 states, but by the late 20th century they could only be found in northern Minnesota. After decades of protection and management, their range expanded to more than 10 states, and they were removed from the endangered species list. Here in Wisconsin, 528 wolves were “harvested” from the north from 2012 until 2014, when a federal court ruling put wolves back on the endangered list.
“A forest with wolves is a healthy forest,” says environmentalist and author Barry Babcock, who appears in the film and will speak on the panel. Babcock says wolves spark a “eutrophic cascade,” which influences plants and animals throughout the wilderness: Wolves cull the deer population, which means the deer don’t eat as much foliage; more foliage means a greater variety of herbivores are sustained, which leads to a greater variety of small predators and scavengers (eagles, foxes, weasels, etc).
Despite their beneficial effects, the vilification continues, with propaganda fueled by exaggerated tales of wolves killing livestock. Now, the push is on in various states, including Wisconsin, to allow wolf hunting again. Sometimes the hatred crosses into the irrational. Animal behaviorist and panelist Patricia McConnell says she heard “one hunter in Northern Wisconsin say he liked to kill wolves in as painful a way as possible, because ‘they are evil.’” The truth is that incidents of wolves attacking humans are about as common as them blowing over pigs’ houses.
Huffman and the panelists hope that Medicine of the Wolf will help turn society’s mistrust and hatred for wolves into a respectful partnership. Learning to share the world with wolves would not only improve their lives, but our own as well.

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Featured Image Jim Brandenburg 

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Purchase tickets here: http://www.barrymorelive.com/tickets/1610194.html

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Wolf Awareness Week event: Wisconsin’s premiere of the award-winning documentary film “Medicine of the Wolf.”

The Humane Society of the United States, (HSUS), and Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin present in celebration of Wolf Awareness Week the Wisconsin premiere of the award-winning documentary film “Medicine of the Wolf.”
Produced and directed by Julia Huffman, the showing will take place on Wednesday October 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI, 53704.

In 1991 Governor Tommy Thompson proclaimed this week – Sunday October 16th through Saturday October 22nd – as Timber Wolf Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

Reserve your tickets Tickets are $10.00 advance/$12.00 day of show.

Advance tickets are only available on-line at: http://www.barrymorelive.com/tickets/1610194.html or by phone at (608) 241-8633. 

After the screening there will be a panel discussion and Q&A with:
HSUS Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedrowe; certified animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.; Robert Mann, Ho-Chunk Nation Elder; Woodsman, environmentalist and author,Barry Babcock (who appears in the film); Randy Jurewicz, retired Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Program Administrator, and emcee Carl Anderson.

Wolves are part of Wisconsin’s wild heritage.

Medicine of the Wolf trailer
https://vimeo.com/113797412

250 Commemorative posters will be given away at the screening 

This is the official commemorative poster for the Wisconsin premiere screening of Medicine of the Wolf taking place in Madison Wisconsin. These masterfully designed commemorative posters by artist Ned Gannon http://bit.ly/2aDsrRO Commemorative posters will be given away at the event by our donor Timothy Jon Coburn.  

About the film 

In this beautiful and important documentary, filmmaker Julia Huffman travels to Minnesota and into wolf country to pursue the deep intrinsic value of perhaps the most unjustly maligned animal on the face of the planet. Medicine of the Wolf focuses on these extraordinary sentient creatures and the remarkable, world-renowned National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg who has photographed and studied wolves for 45 years—longer than anyone in history. As our guide, Brandenburg enables us to see the world of the wolf as we have never seen it before. Documented with stunning cinematography of the Northern Minnesota landscape “wolf country”, Medicine of the Wolf tugs at the emotions while presenting the complexities and highly charged politics now surrounding an animal being pushed towards extinction. 

The following is what Dr. Jane Goodall has to say about the film ‘Medicine of the Wolf’ “The sound of wolves howling under the stars is for me one of the most haunting and beautiful of nature’s voices. Native Americans revered wolves for their wildness, courage, and loyalty. Today science respects them for the important role they play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. And countless numbers of the general public are fascinated by them. Yet the myth of fierce and dangerous beasts, handed down from early white settlers, informs much of the horrific and unjustified cruelty and persecution that wolves faces today. Medicine of the Wolf explores the facts. It is powerful, informative and moving, and as I watched I was first enchanted and then enraged. I urge you to watch this compelling and courageous film and tell everyone you know to watch it as well. Thank you, Julia Huffman for making it.” Review by Dr. Jane Goodall

Let’s send a clear message that; wolves are part of Wisconsin’s wild heritage! Wolf advocates join us on October 19th for the Wisconsin premiere of Medicine of the wolf. Get tickets here: http://bit.ly/24FDUkL



Listen Wort Radio http://www.wortfm.org/  to win Medicine of the Wolf Wisconsin premiere tickets.