by Patch O'Furr
RUKUS at the 20th annual SF Indie Fest
February 2, 7:00 PM / February 5, 9:15 PM
Roxie theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco
Birth of an indie furry movie scene
Videowolf’s documentary Fursonas  was a landmark, even if it split watchers between love and hate. (Wag your tail if good movie making comes before “does it make the fandom look good?”) It wasn’t the first feature-length indie production by furries – that was the only-fandom-seen Bitter Lake . It wasn’t the first high quality movie that had them in it – that was the German arthouse gem Finsterworld . But it was a movie that broke through to more than only a “furry movie” by aiming for a thoughtful, critical look at subculture and identity. It just happened to be directed by and about furries. Now they don’t just follow behind mass media that many claim not to depend on. They also make it and play on bigger screens.
At roughly the same time, Zootopia  was a huge event. Animation may be the holy grail for furriness on screen, but a behemoth budget from Disney is light years from the cottage industry where fandom gets its strength. Zootopia was merely a “furry” movie, as in, one whose directors won’t let you call it that. Journalist Joe Strike had a story about that in his book Furry Nation (another first for publishing in 2017.)
I was invited to a Zootopia press junket the week before the film premiered and was granted one-on-one time with Byron and his directing partner, Rich Moore. I immediately — and perhaps not too wisely — asked if the teaser was a “dog whistle” to the furry community. Howard deftly dodged my questions, and not long after the interview I received an email from my upset editor, who’d been contacted by an upset Disney PR person. – (Joe Strike, Furry Nation, p. 333)