Lion Ark in Johannesburg and Cape Town for CITES Conference

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Delighted that the multi-award winning action-documentary Lion Ark – the story of the dramatic rescue and relocation of 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia will premiere in South Africa later this month, during the CITES Conference (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). We will be there to work for more protection for lions, elephants, rhinos and others.

Winning multiple awards on the international film festival circuit, critics describe Lion Ark, “the feel-good movie of the year!” (Reel Talk); “One of your must –see films” (The Independent Critic); “A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” (The Ecologist); “Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” (The New York Times);” …this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent” (ACED Magazine).

Lion Ark tells the story of an ambitious rescue: Animal Defenders International secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. Now the law must be enforced. Across vast, hostile terrains the illegal circuses are tracked down, the animals saved, brought to safety and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom.

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, Lion Ark places the audience right in the thick of the action, up close and personal with the animals and their rescuers. Through real-life action, interviews, conversations and reactions as events unfold, it is a visceral experience feeling the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission to save every animal.

CAPE TOWN:
WHEN: Thursday 29th September 2016 – 6pm
WHERE: The Labia Theatre, 68 Orange Street Gardens, 80001, Cape Town
TICKETS: http://www.lionarkthemovie.com/screenings/ or call +27 (0) 021 424 5927

JOHANNESBURG:
WHEN: Sat 1st October 2016 – 5pm
WHERE: Ster-Kinekor Nouveau Theatre, Rosebank 50 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Gauteng
TICKETS: http://www.lionarkthemovie.com/screenings/

I look forward to attending the screenings with Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips; we will follow the film with a Q&A and then show an exclusive preview of the trailer for the new production about the latest Spirit of Freedom operation – over 100 animals saved from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in South America. All the rescues were built homes in their natural habitats, except Hoover the tiger, who now resides at Big Cat Rescue in Florida – he enjoys his pool.

Perfect to bring this to South Africa now – good for people to see the generational damage inflicted on these animals when they are taken from the wild and used in entertainment. After Lion Ark screenings, I am often told by people that they would never have imagined they could connect with a lion, or recognise their intelligence and emotions. If our film can achieve a measure of empathy, we have made a difference. I do hope the people of South Africa and visitors attending the conference will come to see Lion Ark and understand why it is so important to give wild lions more protection. Come and see the film, look them in the eyes and make the connection.

The culmination of the recent Spirit of Freedom operation was the airlift of the 33 ex-circus lions from Peru and Colombia, back to their native Africa. At Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa, our family groups are now settling into their new environment and ADI is making a huge investment, making large natural bush habitats and funding their lifelong care.

Here is a good aim for CITES – no lion to be stolen from the wild ever again to suffer a lifetime of cruelty, deprivation and desperation; passing on the misery and suffering generation after generation, for just a few minutes of human entertainment. Likewise, let’s end the killing for entertainment. Surely, we can all agree on that.

Circus cage pushed into position - Arequipa

The Lion Ark DVD is scheduled for worldwide release in November (we will have some advance copies at the screenings).

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