The question that drove Courtney Scott to produce, write and direct her first feature film, “From Suffering to Satori,” was how do we justify the pain we inflict on other species? This film tracks one woman’s pursuit for answers to this perplexing question. More than just another film about animal rights, “From Suffering to Satori” challenges our most deeply-held convictions about our relationship with animals and our pervasive dominance over all creatures, great and small.

“From Suffering to Satori” takes us on Scott's journey of discovery, where along the way we learn about how animal industries often rationalize their treatment and confinement of animals. For instance, as one zookeeper justifies it: “In many ways, elephants are not that much different from people. If you didn’t make them walk, they would prefer to be essentially couch potatoes.” An attorney who filed a lawsuit against a zoo counters that: “Elephants in a 100 ft. square area that have nothing to do are no different than elephants in a 1 acre or 2 acre area. They still have nothing to do.”

Scott's gentle approach succeeds where other films of this nature may not—by slowly and carefully peeling back layers of often hidden truths, using a soft narrative voice to describe harsh realities. The brutal, sad and sometimes heart-warming stories Scott portrays will resonate with audiences long after the final credits roll. This film doesn't demand a reaction, but instead invites viewers to draw their own conclusions and make their own choices on animal rights—even if it's a small step, to ease animal suffering.