Kathryn Bigelow’s PSA for Saving Elephants

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Kathryn Bigelow has directed her enormous talents to address a huge issue.

Filmmaker Bigelow has made an effective and affecting three-minute PSA to support the cause of saving elephants in Sub-Sahan Africa, where poachers are slaughtering entire herds of the wonderful creatures for their ivory tusks — although international trade in ivory is universally illegal.

Entitled Last Days, the PSA premieres at New York Film Festival on September 27 at Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at NYC’s Lincoln Center.

kathrynbigelowcinemacitcroppedOf the origins of the project, Bigelow said “A year ago I had a fortuitous meeting with both Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea had just returned from Sub-Saharan Africa where poachers killed herds of elephants by cyanide poisoning. After our conversation I felt compelled to enter this space, encourage a dialogue, raise awareness. Killing for ivory by organized syndicates was now being carried out on an industrialized scale. Working with the writer, Scott Z Burns, we set out to connect the dots between ivory trinkets purchased at markets in China and elsewhere and the terrorist nightmares we see on the nightly news.”

New York Film Festival Screening and Panel Discussion

The screening is to be followed by a panel discussion titled The Crisis in Elephant Poaching, moderated by Bigelow and with participants Peter Knights (Executive Director of WildAid), Julieta V. Lozano (NYC Assistant District Attorney who’s investigated NYC ivory dealers), K’naan Warsame (Somali Canadian poet, rapper and human rights activist) and Peter Godwin (noted journalist, documentary filmmaker and human rights lawyer).

kathrynbigelowlastdaysposter

Director of the New York Film Festival Kent Jones said, “Kathryn showed us Last Days and I was floored – in three minutes, the viewer feels the horrors of elephant poaching on a global scale and gains a clear, even vivid understanding of the economic, moral and political issues involved. A powerfully concise piece of work, and we’re proud to be hosting its world premiere and providing a forum in which this urgent issue can be illuminated.”

Admission to the screening and panel discussion is free. Tickets will be available at the box office an hour prior to the start time at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street. For more information, visit the NYFF Website.

More About The PSA, Poaching and the Ivory Trade

In 1989, the international trade in ivory was banned and poaching went down. But with the rapid economic growth of consuming countries in Asia and some legal sales the slaughter of African elephants has escalated again in recent years. Between 2010 and 2012, an estimated 100,000 elephants were poached for their ivory with only around 400,000 left. The coalition of independent organizations that has joined in a common effort to put an end to elephant poaching takes a three-pronged approach, calling for an end to the killings, an end to trafficking in ivory, and an end to the demand for ivory. Kathryn Bigelow’s three-minute film, made in collaboration with concept designer Samuel Michlap, head of layout Lorenzo Martinez and Duncan Studio, takes us, in reverse chronology, through every step in the blood-curdling process, and, at its most disturbing, identifies the sale of ivory as a funding source for terrorist organizations like Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army and al-Shabab. It will be distributed globally in partnership with WildAid, which focuses on reducign demand for endangered species products.

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Kathryn Bigelow’s ZERO DARK THIRTY and the Controversy Over Truth and Fiction

Copyright Jennifer Merin
All rights reserved

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