LION SPY – Review by T. J. Callahan

Statistics estimate there are only 20,000 wild lions left in Africa. 25 African countries have no lions left. What’s happening to the king of beasts? That’s the question filmmaker Joni “Rogue” Rubin, a photographer and activist asked herself and she set out to find the answer. Her brutally honest documentary, Lion Spy, is the result. Born in South Africa, but living and working in Australia, Rubin returned to her birth country to go undercover to expose the big-game trophy hunting industry. Lion Spy is not an easy watch. One minute a giraffe is regally standing tall eating leaves from the top of a tree and the next minute he’s felled by a bullet and propped up for a photo. Rubin doesn’t “airbrush “ anything. It’s her mission to save the lions and other endangered creatures and the raw footage may be the spark for new legislation.

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THE CONSERVATION GAME – Review by Lois Alter Mark

The Conservation Game is heartbreaking but riveting, thanks to Michael Webber’s superb direction that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the heroic animal advocates persist despite death threats from the villains they’re chasing. The documentary is sobering and eye-opening and, once you see and understand what big cats and other wild animals go through in captivity, you can never pretend you don’t know.

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