Final Film
Final Film
Animation Video Installation by Melissa Goduto Massingill, Lyrics by Adrian Lilly
Medium: Flash, Photoshop, Digital music, and found objects

This 2D computer animation was created to imitate the style of traditional children's television shows. It is a farcical musical sequence questioning the content of children's cartoons. I also incorporated it into a video installation combining farm toys and books for a group exhibition at Calder Gallery.

The film has received honors including acceptance into the Grand Valley State University Film and Video Senior Show, inclusion in the GVSU Student Retrospective at the GVSU Art Gallery, and Third Place in the student Animation Category in the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts.

Stills from the final film

  As a filmmaker I am concerned with messages sent to the public through the mass media. Responsible filmmakers should be aware and mindful of the harm that can be done through misrepresentation and idealization. I am particularly interested in the effects cartoons have on children. In Down on the Farm, I explore myths conveyed to children through cartoons about the treatment of animals on farms. I am using the same medium and imagery that was originally used to spread the ideas I feel are problematic, and I am trying to deconstruct visions of Utopian farms that I found appealing and exotic as a child. I question the images fed through television and film. I wish to warn all who work in the mass media and all who are subject to it. Filmmakers have a responsibility to honesty, and citizens have a responsibility to question what they see in the media and their own practices.
  As I child I often watched cartoons and videos about cute, happy farm animals and the lucky children who lived on farms. I wanted to be one of those children who take care of the animals. I played with plastic barns and small tractors; I placed my rubber ducky in the yard and threw seeds at it.
  As I grew older I realized that torture and death were also a part of farm life, that the animals were fed and cared for only to die an often long and painful death. I also became aware that farms like the ones perpetuated by the media, small family farms, were being overshadowed by large corporate farms. Factory farms show no mercy or care for their animals. They breed, raise, and slaughter them in inhumane conditions.
  Many of us, even as adults, tell ourselves that farms are beautiful places where animals live long and healthy lives. We tell ourselves that eating meat supports local small business owners. We have believed it since we were children and expose our own children to these fictions.   With this animation and installation I wanted to explore and dispel the myth of the idyllic family farm. I wanted to question the fictions the mass media spread to our society's children. The viewer is led to consider the harm of the myths and the harm of the truth. Hopefully one will question one's own place in the corporate farming industry, be it support, complacency, disgust, or maintaining the myth. Ultimately I assert: if we wish to hide our society's actions from its children, then perhaps we should change them.

Visit Certified Humane to locate more humane farms and markets in your area.
Visit Go Veg to learn about removing meat from your diet.