When Pigs Escape Director Jusep Moreno Explains Why He Took on This One-Of-A-Kind Documentary

What inspired you to make this film?
The inspiration to make this documentary came from Matilda’s actions – the fact that she escaped from a farm and sought shelter in the woods before giving birth to her piglets. Many other animals that find their way out of farms are brought back and nobody ever hears about them, but Matilda’s tale came to the attention of the right people, and I wanted to amplify her story by creating a record of it. Looking at the bigger picture, I also wanted to make a documentary about pigs, because the general public don’t have an opportunity to get to know them.

Most people only interact with pigs when they eat them, and the only glimpse we catch of them while still alive is either in farms or in trucks on the way to the slaughterhouse. By making this documentary, I wanted to give people an opportunity to connect with pigs and offer an alternative perspective of them and their lives. Throughout When Pigs Escape, there are many moments of silence – perhaps as an opportunity for contemplation.

Was this deliberate?
Absolutely. A large part of the documentary is “silent” in the sense that we don’t have a narrator talking to the audience. The idea behind this was to place the focus on the pigs, who then fill that gap with their voices.

I wanted people to look at them and to listen to them, as opposed to having a narrator become the centre of attention by telling us about what we are seeing. I find it more interesting if I give the viewers the opportunity to come up with their own thoughts as they engage with the pigs as directly as possible.

I am sure some people will be dismissive of the film, but I also hope the documentary can open the eyes – and the hearts – of many others

How do you think audiences will react to the overall message of the documentary?
I expect a wide variety of reactions, because I think this film raises a lot of questions and it doesn’t necessarily give all the answers. I want the documentary to encourage people to think about what they have seen and how that relates to our individual lives and the disastrous situation that pigs find themselves in.

So, I am very interested to hear viewers’ thoughts after watching it, and the conversations that we may have as a result. Also, because of the nature of the documentary – which could be reduced to an animal rights one – different people will inevitably have very contrasting responses. I am sure some people will be dismissive of it, but I also hope the documentary can open the eyes – and the hearts – of many others.

What can audiences expect from the screening and Q&A in August at Bonington Theatre?
I hope everyone attending will have a great time and leave inspired by the story of Matilda. The screening will also be followed by a Q&A with myself and members from both sanctuaries, so everyone will have a chance to ask their questions about the film and the new life of Matilda and her piglets. Finally, by attending the premiere at Bonington Theatre, attendees will help to support the work of the two sanctuaries that were involved in Matilda’s rescue, as all the money from ticket sales will go directly to them.

When Pigs Escape will be screened at Broadway Cinema on Sunday 4 September