The Woman Who Loves Giraffes







(VANCOUVER, BC) Robin Smith, President of Kinosmith Inc. is delighted to announce that The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, the Bell Media Original Documentary about Dr. Anne Innis Dagg from writer/director Alison Reid (The Baby Formula) will open in Vancouver on Friday, January 11, 2019 at the Vancity Theatre and in Edmonton on January 9th, 2019 at Metro Cinema.

Opening to sold-out audiences at The Hot Docs – Doc Soup film series in Toronto, The Calgary Film Festival and in Waterloo The Woman Who Loves Giraffes is the previously unknown story of Canadian biologist Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, who, in 1956 at age 23, before Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey began their seminal work, Dr. Dagg traveled alone to South Africa and is believed to be the world’s first person, male or female, to study the behaviour of an animal in the wild. Her pioneering efforts were ground-breaking, but upon her return home to Canada, her career was destroyed. Anne (now 85) re-traces the steps of her trail-blazing 1956 journey, giving us an intimate look into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first-hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today and the forces that brought her back at a time when the giraffe world needs her most.

In 1972, having published 20 research papers and after working as an assistant professor of zoology at the University of Guelph, an all-male tenure committee denied her tenure as a full-time professor. She couldn’t apply to the University of Waterloo because the Dean there told Anne that he would never give tenure to a married woman. This was the catalyst that transformed Anne into a feminist activist. For three decades, Anne Innis Dagg was absent from the giraffe world until 2010 when she was sought out by an international organization of giraffologists and not just brought back to into the fold, but also finally celebrated for her work.

By retracing her original steps, and with letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage, Anne offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first-hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. Both the world’s first ‘giraffologist’, whose research findings ultimately became the foundation for many scientists following in her footsteps, and the species she loves have each experienced triumphs as well as nasty battle scars. The Woman Who Loves Giraffes gives us a moving perspective on both.

Pursuing Giraffe Adventures Inc. produced the documentary with Joanne Jackson (The Messenger, The Big Wait, Long Haul Big Hearts) and Alison Reid, and executive produced by Paul Zimic (Grass 2, Never Enough).

Featuring the voices of Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Victor Garber (Argo, Milk, Titanic), David Chinchilla (The Expanse) and Lindsay Leese (Bomb Girls) reading letters written by young Anne, Fleur de Lys manager, Alex Matthew, Anne’s husband, Ian Dagg, and Anne’s mother, Mary Quayle Innis, The Woman Who Loves Giraffes incorporates present-day footage with vintage 16mm archival footage from 1956-57 which was filmed by Anne Dagg herself, and, when she is in frame, by South African rancher, Alex Matthew.

Cinematography by Dale Hildebrand (Peace, TO in 24) and Iris Ng (Point of Departure, Stories We Tell, The Ghosts in Our Machine), editing by Mike Munn (Hip-Hop Evolution, Stories We Tell) and Caroline Christie (Birdland, Project Grizzly), costume design by Anne Dixon (Anne with an E, Shoot the Messenger) and music by Tom Third (What Wala Wants, Yellow is Forbidden, Shoot the Messenger).

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes was made with the participation of Ontario Creates, Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds through the Theatrical Documentary Program, the Rogers Documentary Fund, Rogers Telefund, and KinoSmith Inc. The film is a Bell Media Original Documentary and was commissioned by The Movie Network (TMN).

Distribution in Canada is being handled by Kinosmith Inc.


Alison Reid is an award-winning director who began her career as a stunt coordinator and second unit director. After accumulating 300 credits, she formed Free Spirit Films to produce projects diverse in genre, but similar in their exploration of the human spirit. Reid received the 2007 Crystal Award for Emerging Director from DGC/WIFT. Her independent feature, The Baby Formula  (2009), sold internationally, won the Audience Award at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, Best LGBT Film at Nashville Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Zenith at Montreal World Film Festival. Her television directing credits include Saving Hope, Heartland and Murdoch Mysteries.


Founded in 2007, KinoSmith Inc. is one of Canada’s leading independent distribution companies committed to bringing the best of Canadian and international critically-acclaimed films and film content to audiences across the country. Current releases from KinoSmith include 78/52, My Scientology Movie, Shadows of Paradise, Reset, and the award-winning performance film Manifesto starring Cate Blanchett.


Vancouver: Vancity Theatre Screenings: Friday, January 11, 5:00pm, Saturday, January 12, 4:40pm, Sunday, January 13, 7:00pm, Tuesday, January 15, 6:30pm, Thursday, January 17, 6:30pm

Edmonton: Metro Cinema Screenings: January 9, 7:00pm Doc of the Month Club, January 18, 7pm, January 20, 1:00pm, January 22, 7:00pm, January 24, 7:00pm

Other upcoming screenings: January: Guelph, Ottawa, Cobourg


Toronto. February: Courtney BC: February 24th and 27th, Salmon Arms, BC: TIFF circuit at the Shuswap Film Festival, February 15th

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Media Contact for interviews, photographs



Lesley Diana | The Promotion People | 604.726.5575 |

Available for interviews:

  • Writer/Director Alison Reid
  • Dr. Anne Innis Dagg

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