Lisa Vanderpump’s harrowing documentary, “The Road to Yulin,” doesn’t premiere until next month, but TooFab got an exclusive clip of the film — and we’re warning you now, it’s extremely difficult to watch.
The documentary includes raw footage of China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star and her crew of canine crusaders have been protesting for years. Their mission: save as many dogs as possible from being tortured, killed and eaten at the annual Chinese festival.
Vanderpump and her team were able to capture on film the atrocities that occurred during the 10-day event, which resulted in some pretty gut-wrenching footage. The documentary will make its world premiere at The Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles.
The film’s director, Dr. John Sessa, has been to Hong Kong to protest the festival three times but said the trek never gets easier.
“When I got to Yulin, despite preparing myself emotionally as much as possible, I was not even close to prepared for the torture and horrific treatment that I observed,” Sessa told TooFab of his most recent trip. “And while at times I just wanted to break down, it’s not what I went there to do. I couldn’t allow myself time to live in the pain or stress I was feeling because every minute mattered more to the animals than it did to me.”
“You start to feel very small,” he added. “And in the end, no matter how hard it got for me — and trust me, each trip got more difficult — it just became more evident how much more important saving the innocent lives were.”
Sessa, who also stars in the film, told TooFab that he witnessed some of the dogs being killed at one of Yulin’s slaughter houses.
“It was probably the worst day of my life, but at the same time, I think it was essential for the documentary,” he said.
Sessa added, “We knew that the subject and the people that were involved would get recognition, and that awareness could hopefully do things like what ‘The Cove’ or ‘Blackfish’ did and really kind of change procedures and the way that we view certain topics in the world. So we thought, every time we do something big, let’s film it and then let’s put it together and see where it ends up.”
And so “The Road to Yulin” was born.
Bravo will be filming an episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” at the film’s world premiere.
“I was lucky that Bravo supported it and documented it,” Vanderpump told TooFab in February when we stopped by Vanderpump Dogs ahead of the rescue center’s grand opening.
“The Road to Yulin” will be world premiering at The Awareness Film Festival on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. with a Q&A panel to follow.
To purchase tickets, or for more information on the festival, please visit AwarenessFestival.org.
Below is official synopsis:
“The Road to Yulin” is an in depth look at the dichotomy between the empathetic, companionship-based human/canine relationships exhibited in many countries, and the horrific and brutal interactions that dogs face in parts of the world that have an unrestrained dog meat trade. Often, humankind’s capacity for love and compassion can only be rivaled by its capacity for cruelty, hatred, and despicable actions. Exploring the barbaric Yulin Dog Meat Festival, the documentary highlights the torture and neglect that dogs are exposed to on their journey through the insidious dog meat trade. The documentary features the new Chinese culture of activism, The Vanderpump Dog Foundation’s involvement in ending the festival, and provides solutions as to what one can do to help end the torture.
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