In 2011, San Antonio had the second highest teen pregnancy rate of any city in America – more than 50% higher than the national average. According to a 2011 Texas Freedom Network report, 94% of Texas public schools still teach “Abstinence Only” as birth control in sex education. A Texas teen will statistically have more sex, earlier, and with more people than the rest of the United States – but is much less likely to use a condom. Four thousand new teens are pregnant in San Antonio every year.
PETTING ZOO is a fiction film that draws on documentary elements to tell it's story, focusing on the subjective dreams and impressions of the main character, Layla.
Layla (17) is top of her high school class - and pregnant. Giving into family pressure, Layla decides against an abortion, drops her scholarship to college and moves into her beloved Grandma‘s trailer on the family property. She goes to work, to church, to school. She meets a new boy - Aaron - different from everyone else. Just as things seem to be falling into place again, work and stress take their toll. Layla looses her baby at six months in utero. With three days to wait with a dead baby inside her before labor is induced at the hospital, Layla begins to see her environment differently - and begins to find herself.
Woven through the film are the following important elements: This feeling when you wake up that you are not sure if you are forgetting who you really are, maybe you are really more real someplace else and you are forgetting the most important thing. What is that most important thing? Something is slipping away from you. It is a bothersome feeling. Especially combined with the feeling that life is hurtling you through time and space in a direction you aren't sure you want to be going. The difference from feeling like you have ambition in life and suddenly feeling like it doesn't matter; you're stuck where you are. Giving in to the surroundings.
Cultural inheritance. Body: sex doesn't matter, friendship does. As a teenage girl sometimes you have sex before it means anything to you. It means a lot if someone touches your face. Your body is just beginning to be yours. As a pregnant teenager your body changes all over again. At the same time: sex does matter. As a teenager you're totally obsessed with sex. It's all around you. You don't know what it is.
By looking frankly and intimately at Layla's subjective experience, PETTING ZOO will generate truthful discussion about domestic violence, teen pregnancy, sexuality, poverty and choices available to young women in America.
This Kickstarter campaign is to raise funds to pay our wonderful actors, rent lights and equipment, and bring our awesome crew of talented professionals to San Antonio! Principle photography starts September 2012, so we are almost there! Every small contribution goes a long, long way and helps us make ends meet through the end of our shoot in October.
We thank you very much for your interest & support!
- Micah, Johan, Armin, Friederike, John Mata and the rest of the Petting Zoo Crew
PETTING ZOO is produced by THE MATCH FACTORY in co-production with HAOSFILM, MAKRORAMA and the DFFB and is made possible in part by the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg and the New York State Council for the Arts.
- (30 days)