January 21, 2014, LOS ANGELES, CA – Lion Ark, the feature length documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from cruel circuses in Bolivia, has been nominated by America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the NAACP, in their Outstanding International Motion Picture category for the 45th NAACP Image Awards.
The prestigious Image Awards by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) celebrates "the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors."
Others up for awards this year in different categories include Beyoncé, John Legend, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Forest Whitaker.
Lion Ark follows a dangerous and ambitious international animal rescue as illegal circuses are tracked down across Bolivia and the animals saved, culminating in a huge airlift of 25 lions to safety in the U.S. Behind the huge logistical task a group of people from America, Britain, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia come together to help the lions.
Actress Jorja Fox, world famous for her role as Sara Sidle in CSI, is an associate Producer of Lion Ark and also appears in the film: “What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be an extraordinary story about the human spirit and what the human spirit can do when people come together.”
Early in the film, Jan Creamer, President and founder of Animal Defenders International, the organization behind the rescue, explains the rescuers’ motivation: “People sometimes ask, why bother about animals when there’s so much human suffering? But it is not a choice of one or the other. When we protect the weakest or the most vulnerable, whether it is animals or people, we all gain. That’s how we shape our world…understanding our connection with other species, and our place on this planet, is the next step in human evolution.”
Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark: “We are honored to have been nominated for this award. Lion Ark is a film about respect for people and animals so we are really pleased to receive this acknowledgement. In this film, you see the worst of humanity, but also humanity at its best. It is an empowering film that shows that people can make a difference. Lion Ark shows how animal protection is a vital part of the fabric of social justice, where human society draws a line as to what is, and is not, acceptable.”
The film shows how Bolivians got behind the rescue mission and in one scene a Bolivian Government official makes references to how some international non-governmental organizations can be heavy handed when working in poorer countries. Wildlife official David Kopp says: “Some international organizations think this is a poor country, a small, corrupt country and you can come in here and do what you like, but that’s not true. We’re looking for respect and coordinated work. Then we can do big things, like this.”
In addition to Lion Ark the other five nominees in the Outstanding International Motion Picture category are:
War Witch; Call Me Kuchu; La Playa D.C.; High Tech, Low Life.
Nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture are:
12 Years a Slave; Lee Daniel’s The Butler; Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Fruitvale Station; The Best Man Holiday.
Members of the NAACP have until February 14th to vote for the nominated movies for the Image Awards, with the award ceremony taking place on the 21st and 22nd of February. The glittering awards ceremony in Los Angeles has, in the past, been hosted by luminaries such as Denzel Washington, Diana Ross, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Whitney Houston.
The Image Awards http://www.naacpimageawards.net
Lion Ark http://www.lionarkthemovie.com
Since Bolivia prohibited the use of animals in traveling circuses, 4 other South American countries have followed – Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Paraguay. And in Europe, countries like Greece, Austria, Croatia and Portugal have implemented similar measures. Countries like China and Taiwan are grappling with this issue of animal protection.
Over 25 countries have banned animal circuses, representing a huge range of cultures and socio economic circumstances; there is a worldwide movement that animals should not be made to suffer, just to amuse us.
See the Lion Ark Trailer online at: www.lionarkthemovie.com
Lion Ark: More action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescue, with a narrative compiled from film, interviews, conversations and reactions as events unfolded. How attitudes to animals were changed in Bolivia, illegal circuses pursued and closed, and 25 lions airlifted to freedom.
Lion Ark Film Festival Selections include: Winner Best Documentary (Jury Award), Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival, Mississippi; Winner Audience Choice Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival; Audience Choice Award Anchorage International Film Festival; Official Selection Raindance Film Festival, London; Official Selection Mill Valley Film Festival; Official Selection Hawaii International Film Festival; Official Selection Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Official Selection Virginia Film Festival; Official Selection Starz Denver Film Festival; Official Selection Irvine International Film Festival; Official Selection Beloit International Film Festival; Official Selection Sedona International Film Festival.
NAACP: Founded in 1909, the NAACP is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans. The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
WHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT LION ARK
“a spunky account of a perilous rescue mission...Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability.”
– Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“Compelling cinema verité”
– Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“If you enjoy movies filled with suspense, thrills, surprises, adventure and action, put Lion Ark on your must-see list. For me, Lion Ark is the feel-good movie of the year!”
– Betty Jo Tucker, Reel Talk
“heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational. It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and it’s ability to stir true emotion.”
– Justin Bozung, Shock Cinema Magazine / Mondo Film & Video Guide
“…this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent.”
– ACED Magazine
“Lion Ark is through and through entertaining…be ready for some up-tempo action-adventure of the most thrilling variety: real-life.”
– Stark Insider
– TV and Film Review
“Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages”
“Lion Ark takes an already incredible and unforgettable story and breathes life and passion and transformation into it...one of your must-see films of 2013.”
– The Independent Critic
“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary”
– Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist
“will restore some faith in humanity”
– JM Willis, Shockya.com
“Lion Ark is a film that will grab your attention and your heart”
– Alexis Higgins, CMR Movie Reviews and News
“ultimately an uplifting story. It’s a revealing documentary with a lot of heart.”
– Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film
“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout...”
– Renee Snyder, International Animal Welfare Examiner, The Examiner
More reviews and links to all above reviews are available here: www.lionarkthemovie.com/news/lion-ark-reviews
| Animal Defenders International
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