About the Film
A documentary film offering a fun-filled and poignant journey that is sure to put a smile on your face.
Guinea Pig Diaries shows us firsthand the special bond between humans and their pet guinea pigs, revealing stories much more compelling than we could have ever imagined. Our relationship with this small furry animal has been part of the “domesticated pet” culture for centuries. But it is through this unique film that audiences get a rare and unfiltered look into the lives of this often misunderstood rodent and the interesting people who adore them, breed them, show them, and rescue them. Through each of these personal stories we reveal that it is in fact the guinea pigs who often liberate and heal the souls of the very people who believed their purpose was to care for these small and wondrous creatures.
Through the art of verité filmmaking, our cameras follow undiscovered stories throughout Europe and North America. Guinea Pig Diaries offers audiences a new appreciation of this small yet sturdy and vocal creature as well as the people who have dedicated their lives to this unsung animal. From breeders like Petra Gemeinhardt who hosts the largest Guinea Pig show in Bavaria to adoption organizations like Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue to Canadian YouTube influencers like SkinnyPigs1 and Ian Cutmore who operates a Guinea Pig hotel in the United Kingdom, this film offers both entertaining and heartwarming stories with commentary by one of the world’s leading animal behaviorists, Dr. Anne McBride. McBride has long studied the human-guinea pig connection and gives us fascinating insight into our understanding of what life is actually like from this little animal’s point of view. Her keen wit matched with her examination of the intriguing guinea pig is both important and enlightening in our relationship with the animal kingdom as well as with ourselves.
It would be remiss not to mention that this small rodent species, whose Latin name is Cavia porcellus (Little Pig), has been a dietary staple in the Andes and has become ingrained in our modern-day lexicon when we refer to people as “guinea pigs” during a scientific test to discover the effect of experimental drugs on humans. This film stretches significantly beyond the stereotype of guinea pigs to dive deeper into why such an underrated rodent consistently wins the hearts of both young and old.
Popular culture has used the playful antics of guinea pigs in various art forms for amusement, and paintings dating back to the 1500s confirm their role as human companions. Most recently, when Emmy award-winning writer and producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge created the hit series Fleabag she confides that the casting for the show’s guinea-pig mascot, Hilary, produced hundreds of headshots of guinea pigs. In the end, she confesses that “I just wanted to get close to a guinea pig. So I thought, write a f—king show. There’s nothing more innocent and vulnerable than a f—ing guinea pig… and I fell so in love.”
Expletives aside, Guinea Pig Diaries takes you below the surface of what makes this small animal so appealing and at the same time offers insights into how to best respect and treat this delightful rodent. As Anne McBride instructs, it’s simple, just lower your body down and begin to visualize life from a guinea pig’s perspective. You might be surprised at what you see.
“Have you ever owned a Guinea Pig?” is a question Olympia Stone blurted to Suzanne Mitchell as they rode a tiny elevator to a NYC film shoot for one of Olympia’s celebrated artist films. Cramped inside the pre-war cocoon, c-stands, tripods, audio and camera gear surrounded the film crew. Olympia had just bought two Guinea Pigs for her daughter and they were so funny and cute. Suzanne, as it turns out, had recently adopted a mischievous and endearing guinea pig named Hubert. While the crew laughed, the idea was born: a film exploring what makes the Guinea Pig so special and misunderstood!
After months of research, production began in December 2017. Over the next two years Olympia and Suzanne crisscrossed Europe and North America discovering that the Guinea Pig had a cultural relevancy that few fully understood. It surprised them to realize just how elemental and life-affirming caring for these animals could be. And while the world continued to ping pong between polarizing issues and partisan politics the furry creatures of the Guinea Pig Diaries were quite content to offer up some pretty simple magic—hope and a bit of laughter.
Olympia Stone’s documentaries have been showcased nationally on public television and have won numerous festival awards. Olympia’s films probe the motivations and personal histories of extraordinary artists as a way of providing insight into their work.
Actually, Iconic: Richard Estes is Olympia’s sixth film. Her other films include portraits of Elizabeth King, James Grashow and David Beck. Olympia’s first film, The Collector: Allan Stone’s Life in Art (2007), chronicles the obsessive collecting of her father, a New York art world gallerist whose habits and prescient scouting shaped his life and the lives of many in his artfully cluttered orbit.
Suzanne Mitchell celebrates more than two decades of producing and directing documentary films, historical network series, docudramas, and branded content. As an accomplished producer and director of social, political, and environmental issue related films she has collaborated with Academy Award- winning documentarian Barbara Kopple on numerous projects. Suzanne won two Emmys, two Gracie Awards, an Omni Intermedia Award, and a Cine Golden Eagle.
Her documentary films have premiered throughout the world at major film festivals and her directorial debut, Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde garnered Audience Awards, Best Documentary Awards and a Directors Choice Award before opening nationwide in theaters and streaming on Netflix. Running Wild, which told the story of a triumphant cowboy’s quest to save wild horses and the American West was hailed by the New York Times as “a grand documentary” and by the Village Voice as “inspiring in the best possible way.”