Note: I hope someone makes a documentary about rescued rabbits. If you care to comment about the film, visit Rabbit Fever’s Facebook page.
Filmmaker Amy Do had always harbored a love for rabbits growing up, but she’d never quite fallen down the rabbit hole, so to speak.
Sure, she had a doll-sized couch in her apartment that she let her rabbits lounge on, but she wasn’t “rabbit people.”
That changed once she decided to get a purebred bunny.
When Do went to a Los Angeles-area rabbit show to see what was available, what she encountered shocked her. “There were these big, hairy men with equally hairy rabbits,” Do tells PEOPLEPets.com.
Some were beautiful, exotic varieties, others were as big as small dogs. “It looked like something out of a Christopher Guest film,” she says. “And since at the time I was going to film school, I thought, ‘I should do a short film on this.'”
Soon after, she had a 20-minute documentary about the show, and got some unexpected feedback.
“It was subculture shock; there are some obsessive people in the rabbit hobby,” Do says. “My classmates were flabbergasted.”
Her film school professor, Chuck Braverman, encouraged her to continue working on the project and to turn it into a feature-length documentary, so Do traveled to Kansas, where the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) was having its 2003 National Convention — the Westminster for rabbits.
“At first, I was just in awe of everything. There were over 20,000 rabbits at the show that year,” Do says.
She decided the narrative would be a coming-of-age story about the teenagers who studied the numerous rabbit breeds to try to become National Rabbit King and Queen at the convention.
It took eight years. Do used all her vacation time to travel to ARBA’s convention year after year. Then she quit her day job, and used the money she had saved to buy a home to finish the film. Finally, after editing down 156 hours of footage, Do had 83 minutes of a new film, one she called Rabbit Fever.
The rabbit community supports the film.
“They consider me family, definitely,” Do says. “Going to the screening felt like being home again.”