Collin Schiffli’s Animals premiered at SXSW last year, winning the Special Jury Prize for Courage In Storytelling. It’s not hard to see why: The film is a unflinching look at love, drug addiction, and homelessness, one that doesn’t shy away from difficult truths about all three. Based on star and screenwriter David Dastmalchian’s own struggles with drugs, Animals follows Jude (Dastmalchian) and Bobbie (Kim Shaw), a Chicago couple as deeply taken with each other as they are with heroin.
Jude and Bobbie live out of their car and spend their days shooting up in public restrooms, having sex, wandering the city in a heroin-induced haze, stealing from local businesses to fund their addictions, and dreaming about a future where they’ll both get clean. But their anesthetized life is harshly interrupted when one of them is hospitalized, and they’re both forced to pick their poison: drugs or each other.
On May 15, Animals will be released by Oscilloscope in several markets—including Pasadena, Phoenix, Atlanta, Seattle, Miami, New York, and Columbus—as well as on VOD. Ahead of its premiere, we’ve got an exclusive clip from the movie. In this scene, the couple, doped up and snuggling in the back of their car, reflect on Bobbie’s first experience with heroin, which Jude tentatively introduced to her years back:
Juxtaposed with the rest of Animals, this clip is particularly bleak—present-day Jude and Bobbie have lost much of their vibrancy and hope, and as the film progresses, both become further demoralized, falling down a deep, dark rabbit hole that neither has the means or the strength to crawl out of.
But to put Bobbie and Jude’s fictional fate aside for a moment, it’s inspiring to know how Dastmalchian’s own story ended: “The fact that I'm even typing this today is a miracle,” he writes in the film’s press materials. “Our film will be released on May 15, 2015—exactly thirteen years from the last time I shot up. Miracles happen. Don't give up on people.”