Growing up in New York means having spent happy hours in the Hall of African Mammals in the American Museum of Natural History, ogling the amazing dioramas. Filmmaker Erin Derham is a vegetarian and animal lover with a Masters degree in Environmental History, so she approached the subject of taxidermy with trepidation.
But in this gorgeous, quirky, fascinating documentary she discovers a new generation of taxidermists dedicated to applying their artistry to a field that has conservation at its heart center. Lonesome George, the last of his species (a Pinta Island tortoise) has been preserved - as have hummingbirds, aardvarks, ocelots, and axolotls.
There's even a subculture ("rogue taxidermy") specializing in the creation of fantasy or "cryptozoological" animals. Whether tattooed or strictly white-bread, these new taxidermists are articulate and passionate about their work; they will surprise and delight you.