Every November, co-Directors Alex Wolf Lewis and Kaitlyn Schwalje eat Thanksgiving dinner at Alex's Aunt and Uncle’s house just outside of Philadelphia. And every November, they marvel at the fact that the family’s 4-inch-long pet turtle, Snowy, is still alive. Snowy has lived an isolated life in the family basement for the past 10+ years with minimal sunlight and no companionship other than that of his primary caretaker, Uncle Larry. In an effort to improve Snowy's life we ask: Is Snowy happy? And is Snowy even capable of experiencing happiness?

This short documentary is both an investigation into animal happiness and an intervention to improve one turtle’s life.

Director Bio

Kaitlyn Schwalje is a science journalist and documentary director based in Portland, Maine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University before completing her postgraduate studies at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Before pivoting to storytelling, Kaitlyn designed haptic prototypes for the research division of the Walt Disney Company. Her stories about her disaster obsessed father, tsunamis, how archaeology saved the cat, and city squirrels appear in CBC, Atlas Obscura, WNYC, 99% Invisible, National Geographic, and others. Director Credits include, This Land (Maine Unit) a feature film documenting the 2020 election, and Snowy.

Alex Wolf Lewis is a director and DP based in NYC and Portland, Maine. He has travelled the world for work, shooting for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Disney+, Netflix, Vice, PBS, A&E, Discovery as well as a number of feature documentaries and shorts. DP Credits include: Well Groomed (HBO Sports, SXSW ‘19, Hot Docs ‘19), 2nd Unit DP on the narrative feature Critical Thinking, dir. John Leguizamo, (SXSW ‘20). As a director, credits include, Single Room Occupancy (co-directed) (SIFF ‘16, Big Sky ‘17, Short of The Week). Hildegarde’s Piano (Rooftop Film Festival ‘19), and Snowy. When not making films, Alex volunteers as an EMT for the town of Falmouth, Maine.


  • Directed by:Kaitlyn Schwalje & Alexander Lewis
  • Produced by:Rebecca Stern & Justin Levy
  • Runtime:12 mins
  • Completion Date:June 12, 2020
  • Country of Origin:United States
  • Country of Filming:United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:English
  • Category:Non-Fiction
  • Selection:Main Competition - Programme 3
  • In Person Screening Time & Venue:Nov 5th Bridgeways Ballymahon 11am - 12pm
  • Online Screening TimeNov 6th 10am - 10pm
  • Links: Website

Latest News

Check out our news section below for all the latest updates on Still Voices!

2022 submission open

Still Voices 2022 Submissions Open

  • Ronan O'Toole
  • December 1st, 2021

The submission call for the 2022 edition of Still Voices is now open.

terence davies festival patron

Terence Davies Becomes Festival Patron

  • Ronan O'Toole
  • November 12th, 2021

We are delighted to announce that Terence Davies is now our Festival Patron.

2021 award winners

Still Voices 2021 Award Winners

  • Ronan O'Toole
  • November 5th, 2021

The Still Voices 2021 Short Film Competition Award Winners.


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