By Mark Bell | February 29, 2012

Rabbit Fever is a documentary film by Amy Do, focusing on the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and their annual National American Rabbit Convention, whereupon teenagers compete for Rabbit King and Rabbit Queen, and adults battle for Best in Show. As the documentary rolls along we are introduced to a number of the teenage contestants for Rabbit King and Queen as they prepare for the convention, and also check in with an adult or two aiming at Best in Show.

To its credit, Rabbit Fever doesn’t play the eccentricity card too hard; this isn’t a bunny-friendly, laugh-out-loud Best in Show. While the personalities involved are certainly unique, they don’t hit the “weird” button, and the film doesn’t try to judge or mock those onscreen. It presents the people and events as they are, which is what you’d expect a documentary should do (only that’s not necessarily the case all the time).

And I learned a lot. I learned that I never want to have to lance a pus pocket on a rabbit’s, or anybody’s, penis. I learned that table breeding two rabbits is hilarious, and that a h***y male rabbit will hump away regardless of whether it is anywhere near the correct spot for said humping. I also learned that being Rabbit King or Queen is a challenge and a half.

There’s the written essay, the breed identification trial, the written test, the oral interview and the judging test. In other words, not only do you need to know everything about every rabbit breed, you also need to come off well in an interview and show that you’re able to judge rabbits as well as those who do it professionally. It’s amazing none of the teens crack up, though you do begin to see the toll on some of the contestants that have come back year in and year out only to come up short of the crown.

Rabbit Fever is entertaining, informative and fun. While it doesn’t surprise me that a rabbit convention exists, that doesn’t mean I knew anything about it prior to watching the film, so I was quite pleased on the subtle education I was getting. And, again, this isn’t a film that mocks its subjects; everyone (and everything) on screen gets its due, and the end result is a film full of heart that is respectful of the unique passion it displays.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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