“Life according to Ohad” follows its eponymous character as he tries to re-bond with his family. Ohad is an animal rights activist, who throughout the documentary sneaks into slaughterhouses, chains himself to chicken crates and performs unsettling public demonstrations with his teams of activists.
There’s a disconnect between Ohad and his family, though, and while both sides realize the ties of family are deeply important and worth fighting for, so is trying to see life the way others do. I talked with director and vegan activist Eri Daniel Erlich about his choice to make a film about his friend Ohad.
Erlich: I called the film “Life According To Ohad” because the person is seeing the film through the eyes of Ohad. Only Ohad. This was important to me to take the person and put them in Ohad's head to see how he sees the whole world.
Husted: Ohad is a very interesting character. Do you think the audience will embrace him or fight him? How do you think the response to him is going to be as a character?
Erlich: That was the question that I was supposed to deal with. In a regular movie, you need to empathize with the hero. You need to connect with him to feel the movie. It was hard to do this with Ohad. Eventually, though, we see situations that can help people deal with him. The family situations in the film help other the audience understand people who don't know how to communicate and express their ideas with the world.
People have said if you do a film for vegans or vegetarians then nobody else will understand it. But other people have said no because there are very dramatic scenes with the family. There are scenes that we have never heard before. I think it's the first time animal rights activity is fully shown and the hard times activists have connecting with normal or regular people who eat meat.
Husted: Ultimately, what do you hope the audience takes away from the film?
Erlich: This film is not about convincing people to become vegetarian or vegan, or to change their beliefs. It's meant to open their minds to new ideas or aspects that they haven't really thought about before. It's meant to help them feel and see what happens in places they may have not known existed and to help them know what the activist life is like with their families.
What I wanted to do is to tell a story. If the story gets through to the audience, then it will connect with them emotionally.
Warning: Graphic language in clip below.