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For Immediate Release

Vancouver Web Fest Panel Announcement

Exotic Animal Handlers: Taming Your Concerns

With the submissions deadline behind us, it's time to look ahead to the festival. We're thrilled to make our first panel announcement! The panel Exotic Animal Handlers: Taming your concerns will consist of seasoned animal handlers and will be appropriate for any filmmakers who want to learn more about working with animals on set. The panel will follow the Family Screening on Sunday, March 8th at 12pm, and will include a Q&A and photo opportunities.

Panelists will include:

Gary Oliver - Urban Rescue Safari and Cinemazoo

British Columbia

Gary has been working with animals all of his life. He started Cinemazoo 28 years ago as an effort to humanely provide animals needed for film, TV, and photography projects.

Cinemazoo's list of credits is very lengthy, including Bird on a Wire, Snakes on Planes, I am Legend, Look Who's Talking Now, MacGyver and the Telus commercials. The Urban Safari Rescue Society developed out of Gary's work with Cinemazoo.

The Urban Safari Rescue Society was established with the mission to rescue unwanted animals and educate the public about animals, the natural world and conservation issues.

Accompanying Gary will be Dozer, a 38-year-old, 130-lb, African Spur-thighed Tortoise.

Kimmi Kraus - Project Wild Song


Project Wildsong's mission is to dispel the myths and misconceptions concerning wolves and native North American apex predators. By raising awareness through hands on, interactive engagement, Project Wildsong strives to inspire the everyday individual to coexist with wildlife by means of education, collaboration, and conservation. The Ambassador animals of Project Wildsong are best known for being featured at educational outreach seminars and events across Southern California as well as their collaborations with fashion designers, creative photographers, musical artists, art studios, and cinematographers.

Accompanying Kimmi will be Damu, a three year old Ambassador Wolf who represents his wild counterparts.

Joanne Bentley - The “Falconlady

British Columbia

Just over 10 years ago, Joanne Bentley (aka: ‘The Falconlady’) began a personal journey to find a “relationship” with birds-of-prey.

Starting out as a traveling educator bringing school-children and an evolving “Team

Feathers” together, Joanne soon realized there were wider audiences to be reached. Even ‘passively educating’ from the context of a fictional story has tremendous value. Joanne wanted to marry her love of birds-of-prey with her desire to contribute to the film and television industry, and soon had her first Red Tail hawk, ‘Thorn’, in “Smallville”.

A short time later, Joanne was blessed to meet Ivan Hayden – the creator of “Divine: The Series”, Independent film-maker Richard Olak, creator of “The Battle of Burgledorf”,

and other inspiring creatives. Over the last eight years, her feathered companions have

appeared in everything from feature-length films, a Dodge-RAM commercial, the tv series “Siberia”, to the upcoming “Bad Timing” music-video for breakout artist Michael


Accompanying Joanne will "Team Feathers" in its entirety.  'Jarih', a female Saker Falcon, Capt'n 'Sabre' - a male Gyrfalcon, and of course, 'Mohave', a Red Tail buzzard (usually referred to as Red Tail hawks).