Reception following The Ghosts in our Machine Sept 23rd

What: Reception following the opening night screening of The Ghosts in our Machine
Where: 134 York St. Ottawa, ON
When: 9:15 – 10:30 PM, Monday, September 23, 2013
Who’s invited?: Everyone! Come even if you can’t make the film that evening.
Cost: $10 per person

As I mentioned a couple of days ago (click here to read), The Ghosts in our Machine will be playing at the Bytowne Cinema from September 23-25.

Following the opening night screening, the NCVA will host a reception to celebrate the incredible work of the film’s protagonist, Jo-Anne McArthur and director, Liz Marshall.

This feature documentary was one of the top ten audience favourites at this years Hot Docs festival in Toronto. It follows Jo-Anne, a professional photographer, as she travels the globe trying to bring the plight of animals to light through her photographs.

The reception will feature delicious vegan snacks, a brief presentation by Liz on the film’s upcoming American release, and a brief presentation by Jo-Anne on her new book – which no less a legend than National Geographic’s Wade Davis describes as follows: “If ever there was a document that might cause human beings to reconsider our entire relationship to the animal world, this hauntingly beautiful book is it”.

Jo-Anne (an Ottawa native, by the way!) will also have prints of some of her favourite photos for sale, and will be happy to sign them.

So please come out and meet these two trailblazing activists and celebrate their amazing accomplishment.

Tickets are $10, with proceeds going to support the film’s US release (check out the indiegogo campaign here).

Note that a minimum confirmed guest list of 30 people is required for this event to go forward, so please RSVP to the facebook event if you intend to come.

Advance tickets to the reception can be purchased here. Note that these tickets are just for the reception. The film screenings are not private events but are part of the Bytowne’s own lineup – So you just purchase tickets at the theatre as you would for any other film.

*The venue is a 5 minute walk from the Bytowne Theatre, so you may prefer to walk and avoid the exorbitant Byward Market parking fees.

Cranapple Scones

One of my fellow Veggie Runners at today’s Run for the Animals asked me for the recipe for my cranapple scones. I brought a batch since I didn’t know if the post-run snacks would be vegan. They wound up having bananas and some bagels of dubious veganity. But I did notice tofu on the menu at a lot of the food trucks at the event.

Anyway, this is for you Ashley!

Cranapple Scones


3 cups white flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Earth Balance buttery stick (equivalent to 1/2 cup of any solid fat) – keep them in the freezer for optimal results in biscuits
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup vanilla flavoured soy milk or water
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 tart apple (e.g. granny smith) very finely chopped (like almost minced – if they’re not very finely chopped they’ll prevent the biscuit from cooking properly)
1 cup confectioners sugar


Preheat your oven to 400

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a deep bowl.

Cut your buttery stick into small cubes and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter

Pour vanilla into soy milk and pour over flour. Mix 3 or four times, scooping from the bottom.

Add water. Mix 4-6 times, scooping from the bottom.

At this point, the batter will still be only partially combined – there will still be lots of loose flour. Add the cranberries and apples and sort of push them onto the dough.

Using your hands, scoop from the bottom of the bowl until the dough more or less comes together. It will still be very loose and floury – not a cohesive ball. This is important – not overworking the dough is what makes the biscuits light and flaky.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface (maybe 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour). Flatten it out by gently pushing it down with your hands. Fold it over and flatten it out 4-5 times (this will give the finished biscuits their layers), then finally shape it into some sort of rectangle (whatever shape allows you to work the dough the least).

Cut into 9 or 12 equal sized triangles or rectangles with a very sharp knife – use one chopping motion – don’t “saw” them in half or they won’t rise as well.

Bake for 12-13 minutes for the 12 scones or 15 minutes for the 9 scones.

Cool for 15-20 minutes on a baking rack

Place confectioners sugar in a paper lunch bag. Put each scone in the bag and turn the bag gently 4-5 times to coat the scone.


The Ghosts in our Machine at the Bytowne Cinema Sept. 23-25, 2013

What: Documentary film, The Ghosts in our Machine
Where: The Bytowne Cinema. 325 Rideau St. Ottawa.
When: September 23, 6:45 pm; September 24, 6:45 pm; September 25, 8:50 pm

Jo-Anne McArthur, a professional photographer who has dedicated her off-hours to the development of the We Animals project, is the subject of the feature-length documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine. You can check out the trailer here.

The film was a top-ten audience favourite at this year’s Hot Docs festival in Toronto, and animal advocates from Ingrid Newkirk to James Cromwell to the Our Hen House hosts to Jason Priestly (what?) are abuzz with excitement that this film might have what it takes to get mainstream audiences to have serious second thoughts about the spectacularly horrible crap humans do to our fellow earthlings.

Jo-Anne McArthur with Orlando, Farm Sanctuary, 2011. Photo by Nick Ugliuzza.

The film follows McArthur over the course of a year as she photographs several animal stories in parts of Canada, the U.S. and in Europe. Each story and photograph is a window into global animal industries: Research; Food; Fashion and Entertainment.

But the film as a whole is as much the story of McArthur herself, who has spent more than a decade trying to bring the plight of animals to light through her photographs – often at great personal risk. As Jo-Anne says, “I feel like I’m a war photographer and I’m photographing history; I’m photographing changes in history right now.”

And while the horror of the film’s subject matter cannot be overemphasized, director Liz Marshall was kind enough to steer clear of graphic imagery, and to include some substantial rays of sunshine in the story. Whether though Jo-Anne’s visits to the idyllic pastures of Farm Sanctuary or her unshakable certainty that human beings are essentially good, the film offers enough buoyancy to prevent audiences from fleeing the theatre in search of the nearest liquor store.

So at this point, I am assuming that I have convinced 90% of you to go. If you’re still on the fence, here are a couple more arguments:

1) Jo-Anne McArthur and director Liz Marshall will be on hand for post-film Qs and As, as well as for some other events that will be held in conjunction with the film’s Ottawa premiere. I’ll provide more detail on these events in the next couple of weeks.

2) Jo-Anne is an Ottawa native. So even if you hate movies, civic pride alone should compel you to come. And if you’re worried that the disturbing subject matter will freak you out or give you nightmares, you’ll just have to suck it up. If it gets too bad you can hide under a chair with me and share the paper bag I’m sure to be hyperventilating into.

And don’t forget to bring a friend. If you’re reading the NCVA blog, chances are you’re already at least a little bit haunted by the ghosts in our machine. It’s the, shall we say, “unbelievers” who will benefit most from seeing this film.