Becoming Animal, 2018, 78 min

"We are only human in contact, and conviviality with, what is not human." – David Abram

An inspired collaboration between filmmakers Peter Mettler and Emma Davie (I Am Breathing) and radical writer and philosopher David Abram (author of The Spell of the Sensuous), Becoming Animal is an urgent and immersive audiovisual quest, forging a path into the places where humans and animals meet, where we pique our senses to witness the so-called natural world—which in turn witnesses us, prompting us to reflect on the very essence of what it means to inhabit our animal bodies.



"Something actually new and full of life came in the form of freewheeling audiovisual essay Becoming Animal, a collaboration between Scottish filmmaker Emma Davie and Swiss-Canadian Peter Mettler. With input from philosopher David Abram and shot in one of North America’s most intact ecosystems, the film explores notions of animism and the effects of language on our perception of the natural world. Although a largely meditative experiment, some surprising late shifts in the cinematography, in which the camera appears strapped to one of the park’s flying residents, brought to mind the more visceral documentary Leviathan (2012). The soundscapes, in particular, make a big-screen viewing recommended." – Josh Slater-Williams, Sight and Sound

"Mesmerising and immersive, Becoming Animal is an exercise in hypnotic induction, in which Davie, Mettler and Abram attempt to deconstruct psychological, linguistics and technological barriers in order to facilitate a meeting not of minds or souls but of kin. It’s one thing to record the natural world; it’s quite another to reconcile it." – Steven Neish, HeyUGuys

"Thanks to Mettler and Davie for their 'fantastic naivety'... It serves not to lose consciousness, but to expand it... You have to see Becoming Animal in the cinema... Phenomenal and mind-expanding!" – Marcel Elsener, Saiten Magazine

"A cinematic experience that is both intellectual and sensual; although in its density at times somewhat overwhelming, something succeeds that is extremely rare in the cinema: it literally and not just temporarily changes your own perception.  [...] Perception is, at least in 'nature', always a reciprocal process in which man is only a small part of a huge network, to which animals, plants and also 'inanimate' objects belong like stones. Abram creates a kind of modern animism – the very first of all religions, created in pre-linguistic times – that Mettler and Davie succeed in translating into cinematic language." – Dominic Schmid, Filmexplorer

"Genuinely eye-opening... A fascinating, thought-provoking and pleasingly free-wheeling film." – Barry Didcock, Herald Scotland


Nominated for Best Feature, CPH:DOX 2018
Nominated for Fugas Feature Film Competition, Documenta Madrid 2018
Nominated for Grand Prix, Docs Against Gravity 2018
Nominated for Best Feature, Bildrausch Filmfest 2018
Nominated for Best Feature Documentary,Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018


Festival screenings:

CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark - March 20 & 24, 2018

Docs Against Gravity, Warsaw & Wroclaw, Poland - May 13, 14, 16, 20, 2018

Documenta Madrid - May 9 & 10, 2018

Bildrausch Filmfestival, Basel, Switzerland - June 2 & 3, 2018

Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - June 21 & 23, 2018

Filmfest München, Munich, Germany - June 30 & July 1, 2018

Doc Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay - July 26, 2018

DokuFest, Prizren, Kosovo – August 4, 7 & 9, 2018

Open City Documentary Festival, London, UK – September 5 & 6, 2018

Hebridies Internatonal Film Festival, UK

Muestra Internacional Docmental de Bogotá, Columbia – October 3–6, 2018

Imagine Science Film Festival, New York City, USA – October 12–19, 2018

Kinoatelje Film Festival, Italy and Slovenia, October – 15–22, 2018

Planet In Focus, Toronto, Canada – October 25–28, 2018

Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic – October 25–30, 2018

Festival del Popli, Firenze, Italy – November 3–10, 2018

Duisburger Filmwoche, Germany – November 5–11, 2018

Recontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal – November 8–18, 2018

Masters Selection, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam – November 14–25, 2018

Porto Post Doc, Portugal – November 24–December 2, 2018

More TBA!


Limited theatrical release in Switzerland this October, via Outside the Box


Visit the official site at


Distributed by:

World Sales & Distribution - Maximage GmbH
UK - Scottish Documentary Institute 
Switzerland - Outside the Box