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Petting Zoo, a 90-minute feature film, tells the story of a teenage pregnancy in an impoverished Texan family.

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.


Directors Statement

Petting Zoo will be made in the places of my childhood, where my teenage cousins are now: high schools built by prison architects, trailers, rock bars, abandoned half-built subdivisions, the corporate parks between the fields. 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. 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.



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 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.


Micah Magee {Writer / Director}

Micah Magee graduated from UT with a dual degree in Plan II Honors and Radio-Television-Film. In addition to making films, Micah worked as managing and programming director of Austin's Cinematexas International Short Film Festival, pirate radio programmer and print journalist. In 2001 she received a Fulbright Fellowship for Journalism to Berlin, Germany, where she attended directing studies at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin (dffb). Micah's has received artist awards from NYFA and NYSCA. Her films have received awards from Oberhausen Short Film Festival and Premiers Plans d'Angers and screen at festivals, museums and galleries worldwide.

Johan Carlsen{Producer}

Johan Carlsen grew up in Cornwall and Denmark. He worked in construction and studied theology and architecture  before working in film. In 2001, Johan received a grant from the Danish Film Board to co-found F-Film Productions in Copenhagen. In 2008, Johan founded Makrorama to co-produce his graduating film HEADLOCK. The company continues to produce work by a small group of international Berlin-based filmmakers, expanding to include work by Hans Henkes (The Netherlands) and Micah Magee (USA).

Friederike Sophie Steinbeck {Producer}

After finishing secondary school in her native Berlin, Friederike Sophie Steinbeck worked freelance as line producer, set AD and casting assistant in feature, image and television film production. She completed vocational training as a media business manager before starting production studies at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin (dffb), where she produced a number of award-winning short films. In spring 2012 Friederike received a scholarship to attend a production studies exchange at the Columbia University's Graduate Film Program in New York.

Athina Rachel Tsangari {Producer}

Athina Rachel Tsangari's second feature "Attenberg" premiered in competition at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Coppa Volpi Award for its lead, Ariane Labed, and went on to win 13 more awards at festivals worldwide. It was Greece's Best Foreign Language Film submission to the 2011 Academy Awards. She is the co-founder and principle producer of Haos Film, a filmmaker-run company based in Athens. Among her credits as a producer are three films directed by Yorgos Lanthimos: "Kinetta" (2005), "Dogtooth" (2009), and his latest film "Alps" (2011). Her upcoming sci-fi comedy "Duncharon" was awarded the ARTE France Cinéma Award for best project at the Rotterdam's CineMart 2012. 

Michael Weber {Producer}

Michael Weber was Managing Director of Bavaria Media GmbH from 2000 on, until he founded his own world sales company - The Match Factory - in 2006. He co-produced, among others Caroline Link's NOWHERE IN AFRICA in 2001 as well as PANDORA'S BOX and ARAF by Yesim Ustaoglu, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Palme d'Or in Cannes 2010) and POST TENEBRAS LUX by Carlos Reygadas (Award for Best Director in Cannes 2012).

John Mata {Co-Producer}

John Mata is a curator, artist and musician recently turned towards San Antonio business development. He is lead vocalist and songwriter for the Dark Planes and co-founder of the progressive instrumental group isittoget. His artwork has shown at Artpace, Blue Star, Sala Diaz, Flight Gallery and The Other House in Singapore. His curatorial work has been featured in the Current and the SAExpress. John is creative cultural consultant and social media manager to several prominent San Antonio businesses. His passion is connecting talented people to realize great ideas and spreading a business movement based on resource sharing, an integrated consumer and local empowerment.

Armin Dierolf {Cinematographer}

Armin Dierolf learned his trade under acclaimed cinematographers Sophie Maintigneux (Jean Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer), Hans Fromm (Christian Petzold), Christian Berger (Michael Haneke) and Michael Ballhaus A.S.C (Martin Scorsese). After graduating from the dffb in 2011, Armin was director of photography on fiction features WHITE SHADOW (Noaz Deshe, Tanzania), COLD SUNDAY (Ivan Pokorny, Czech Republic) und ABRAKADAVER (Andreas Schimmelbusch, Berlin). Armin Dierolf was awarded the German Cinematography Award while still a student in 2006. His work has been screened at Cannes, Camerimage in Lodz and was awarded "Best Cinematography" at the international short film festival Sehsüchte in 2009. In 2012 Armin's dffb thesis film HEADLOCK (Johan Carlsen) won the New Berlin Film Award for best short feature.

Manja Ebert {Sound Recordist}

Manja Ebert has been working as a freelance sound recorder for international documentary and feature films since 2001. Her feature credits include films by Rosa von Prauenheim, Inga Wolfram, Michael Klier, Lilly Grothe and a number of films with Armin Dierolf as DOP. Manja also runs a small media production company focused on personalized services and publishes an annual customized leather-bound calendar exploring the days and ways musicians through the ages have passed to the other side. 

Niklas Kammertöns & Clemens Nürnberger {Sound Design}

Niklas Kammertöns is a sound mixer, sound designer and composer. He was awarded the prestigious Lola / German Film Award for his sound design in 2011 on the film "Pianomania". He has created composition and sound work for many award-winning theatrical release fiction features, as well as for television, short films, documentaries and corporate videos. Niklas teaches sound design at filmArche, Europe's first self-organized non-profit film school.
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San Antonio {Texas}

29° 26′ N, 98° 30′ W

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Connor Projects Ltd.
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