Dayton filmmaker getting wild in the house

Full disclosure- my name appears in the credits- my camera was used for the first two months of filming.

Mike Webber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose credits include four theatrical films for Twentieth Century Fox and Lionsgate. With his latest film,  “The Elephant in the Living Room” Webber gives audiences a firsthand look deep into the most dangerous and fascinating subculture in the United States.

An award-winning documentary film about the controversial world of exotic animal ownership within the suburbs of the United States. THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM offers an unprecedented glimpse into the fascinating subculture of raising the most deadly and exotic animals in the world as common household pets.

Mike tells the story of two men in Ohio- one is Tim Harrison; a police officer, firefighter and paramedic for the city of Oakwood. In his career- Harrison has captured and rescued literally hundreds of escaped lions, tigers, alligators, bears, and the largest and most deadly snakes on earth, all in the United States.

The other is Terry Brumfield who has been an animal lover his entire life. But none of his pets compare to the love he has for his two African lions which were bottle-fed and hand-raised as cubs in his home.

via The Elephant in the Living Room | About.

Mike picked up a prestigious ACE award in 2008 from the American Film Institute/Discovery Channel/Humane Society of the United States at the SilverDocs Film Festival to help complete this important film in the international competition.

Please help Michael out by clicking through the trailer to YouTube and giving him a five star rating- and tell your friends about it. The film will be presented in Dayton on March 22nd at the Schuster Center. 100% of the proceeds of the showing in Dayton will go to the charity, Outreach For Animals,  that supports Tim’s work in dealing with these animals.

I’m pretty sure this is the type of thing that Film Dayton wants to do – and to promote. It will be interesting to see what they do to help pump up this local filmmaker who was actually rejected from WSU film school!

Mike has worked for over two years on this project- and has funded it entirely on his own. No requests for government handouts or special entitlements.

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David EsratiKarri Ojay madewellJim Crotty Recent comment authors
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Saw your Twitter link to this vid David and posted it to my Facebook page. From what I can see this video is professionally scripted and filmed. Very nice. Once again another reinforcement of the point that top talent exists right here in our hometown and amazing things can be accomplished when such a talent has access to a venue to display their accomplishments. The problem with Dayton are the local “gatekeepers.”

jay madewell
jay madewell

what a great title!

Karri O

Thanks for the post!  As a filmmaker (and board member of FilmDayton), I always love to hear about local filmmakers doing good work.
Jim – what local “gatekeepers” are you talking about?


Well, it’s probably not nearly so much a problem with local filmmakers as it is with individual, visual artists who work in the more static mediums. In other words, local arts organizations and groups that are more representative of a particular social clique or group. Perhaps that’s an unfortunate reality with a smaller market such as Dayton. I’d probably run into the same issue in other metro areas this size.
My main point is that we have so much local talent that tends to get overlooked because of the inferiority complex mindset. In order to be considered truly talented and respected, an artist, consultant, marketing “expert,” etc., one must be from the outside, preferably a big market on one of the coasts.

Karri O

I hear you –  I’ve kept my LA cell phone number because there is the misguided belief in my industry that if you don’t live in NY or LA, you are not “serious”.  This fortunately is changing as more and more movie and television productions are filmed in the flyover states due to tax incentives (I know, I know – an argument for another day) and the industry suits realize there is talent outside of the 310 and 212.
Honestly though,  I’ve found much of the inferiority complex holding people back is in their own mind – and God knows, we Ohioans often have issues with tooting our own horns about our skills and talents.    I’ve seen talented people all but talk themselves out of jobs they are more than qualified for, and then undercut themselves financially when they DO get a gig.  It’s an Ohio thing we could all do with getting over.
But this post is about Mike Webber, and his great accomplishment in not only making a film, but one that has garnered attention and awards.   Congratulations Mike!   Look forward to seeing it.


You hit the nail right on the head, Karri, in several ways.
But yes, Mike’s movie is definitely a step forward in demonstrating the quality of talent right here in Dayton. I shoot still photography, but I’ve seen enough video to know when a movie is professionally directed and filmed. This is a great achievement and addition to a growing list of locally produced films that are breaking barriers for all of us.