Lucy’s Labrador has lost 25 pounds. Tabitha’s chihuahua has parvovirus. For these two families, a mobile veterinary clinic is the only affordable option. One in three New York City households owns a pet and about 20 percent of New Yorkers live below the poverty line. As the city gets more expensive, so does veterinary care. Lucy and Tabitha have to make tough choices to save the pets who help them cope with isolation and poverty. The vet van is a low-cost solution, but not a perfect one. Is it worth the trade offs? Two families risk it all to find out.
We are both first-time filmmakers and made this film as part of the graduate program at Columbia Journalism School. The film was produced, filmed, and edited entirely by us. Making this film was a labor of love. We spent over 300 hours shooting the film, interviewed over 100 Low Cost Vet Mobile clients and spent 18 months working on the edit. As drama unfolded at the van, it brought into question the legitimacy of the operation. Calling on our journalistic foundation we investigated and found a lack of regulation in the veterinary industry and a complicated history of the van. The Vet Van is not a story that wraps up neatly. It leaves audiences questioning the ethics of each character's decisions and behavior. Our intention was to be impartial. Rather than presenting a solution, we wanted the audience to confront the impossible choices people in poverty have to make.
#AniFab judge's aggregate score is 6.8 out of 10 with the following note from one judge, "The Vet Van is very much in the moment.. It puts you in the Van with those trying to help the poorer in their community. It is so hard to get this kind of intimate glimpse into this community, yet The Vet Van succeeds. Nice job Sarah Jenks and Lizzie Mulvey!"
2021 Monthly Official Best Of Selections
Animalis Fabula Film Festival official monthly selections have the opportunity to compete for monthly attention as well as inclusion in the annual live / virtual film festival in Austin, Texas and end of year fundraising benefit for animal welfare.