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'Skin Trade,' anti-fur documentary, has its L.A. premiere

June 14, 2010 |  4:23 pm

A new independent documentary, "Skin Trade," aims to take on the fur industry with a combination of interviews with prominent animal advocates and graphic footage of the process by which a living animal is turned into a fur coat. "Skin Trade" had its Los Angeles premiere last week at Westwood's Majestic Crest Theater, and our colleague Emili Vesilind, a Times fashion blogger, was on hand to see the film and hear from its director.

"I just could not believe that people were still wearing fur," director Shannon Keith, an animal rights attorney and founder of the nonprofit organization Animal Rescue, Media & Education, said before the screening. "I knew it was high time to make this film because these animals are being tortured alive -- it's not a pretty thing."

Keith's film tackles topics including fur's use as a status symbol and efforts by the fur industry to brand pelts a "green" product because they're biodegradable. ("It's anything but green," actor and green activist Ed Begley Jr. says in an interview that's included in the documentary. "That, for me, is green-washing.") It includes interviews with fur-free designer Todd Oldham, actor and animal activist James Cromwell (who went vegan, he has said, as a result of his involvement in the movie "Babe"), PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk and other anti-fur activists.

Learn more about "Skin Trade" at The Times' fashion blog, All the Rage.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: A trailer for "Skin Trade." Credit: uncagedfilms via YouTube

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