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Documentary Dives Into Complexities Of 'Furry' Culture

Pittsburgh is no stranger to furry culture. Every summer, thousands of members of the community gather in the Steel City for Anthrocon. But for filmmaker Dominic Rodriguez, he wanted to create a documentary taking a closer look at the Furry population. His film, "Fursonas," has been making rounds at independent film festivals and had its Pittsburgh debut last night at the Regent Square Theater. Essential Pittsburgh's Paul Guggenheimer spoke with Rodriguez about his movie and furry culture at large.  

The film began as a senior thesis project while Rodriguez was attending Point Park University. His initial plan of making a documentary about the Children's Hospital had fallen through, and he was searching for an alternate idea. Luckily, Anthrocon was going on at the same time, giving him a new topic to study.

The movie was made over a four year period, and while Rodriguez is a furry himself, he kept this detail secret for the first few months of filming.

"I wanted to approach it as a filmmaker first and I didn't want that bias to get in the way," he said. "But then, over the course of four years, I realized ignoring it was impossible and the bias is part of the movie and I embrace it."

While much of public perception of furries revolves around people dressed in animal costumes, Rodriguez said that anyone interested in anthropomorphic animals is a member of the community. Fur suiters, as he called them, are just one subgroup.

While the film takes a closer look at furry culture than perhaps any film before it, Rodriguez said he hopes to avoid making the film purely a PR piece and instead just examine furries as people, getting a close look into their lives and way of thinking.

"I'm asking you to really get to know who these people really are and accept them, like, totally or not," he said.

While he does not yet know what movie he will make next, Rodriguez hopes he can do another documentary after finding his experience on "Fursonas" very positive.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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