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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.

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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

thoroughly rewarding...”
– TV and Film Review

“Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages”
– Britflicks

“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
6100 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 1150
Los Angeles, California 90048
US

RESTON, Va. – (January  17, 2014)National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is teaming up with Open Road Films, RedroverCo., Ltd. and ToonBox Entertainment for the release of The Nut Job, opening in theaters nationwide on January 17. As the education partner for the new animated film, NWF is providing resources to help kids, parents, teachers and animal enthusiasts of all ages celebrate some of our most clever, acrobatic backyard inhabitants on January 21 for National Squirrel Appreciation Day.

In animated 3D, The Nut Job is an action-packed comedy that follows Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, who must plan a heist to get into his town’s biggest nut shop so that his park pals can gather enough food to survive winter. With his sidekick, Buddy, he assembles a ragtag crew to help him get inside and takes them on a fun-filled adventure.

“National Wildlife Federation is the perfect education partner for this film,” says Will Arnett. “I am glad to be part of a project that shows how wonderful these sometimes unappreciated animals can be.”

“Having just made a film in which I play a squirrel, I’m very partial to them, and am delighted to hear that the National Wildlife Federation is celebrating National Squirrel Appreciation Day, encouraging us to celebrate backyard wildlife every day,” says Katherine Heigl.

“We hope the lessons of working together and sharing that Surly learns will encourage kids, families and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages to help us plant trees to provide homes and food for squirrels and other wildlife through NWF’s Trees for Wildlife program,” says Carey Stanton, NWF’s senior director for education.

At www.nwf.org/TheNutJob, there are other ways to celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day and show your love for squirrels:

· Show your love for squirrels and also encourage people to take action on behalf of wildlife by entering the NWF sweepstakes for a private hometown screening for up to 100 friends to see The Nut Job. The sweepstakes deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 22, 2014.

· Download the official The Nut Job poster.

· Tweet your pics of squirrels using the hashtag: #squirrelday.

· See the NWF App, Squirrel vs. Bird Feeder.

· Play Squirrel Seek in Activity Finder, NWF’s database of activities to help connect families with nature.

About the film:

The Nut Job is based on the 2005 award-winning comedy short film Surly Squirrel by animation veteran Lepeniotis, The Nut Job marks the Canadian-based ToonBox's first feature film with Korean partner Redrover, in association with Gulfstream Pictures, which is handling U.S. sales. Fully financed by Redrover and its partners.  An all-star cast of Katherine Heigl, WillArnett, Brendan Fraser, Stephen Lang, Sarah Gadon and comedian Jeff Dunham,have all lent their voices for the animated comedy feature. For Facebook: http://www.fb.com/TheNutJobMovie and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheNutJobMovie.

About National Wildlife Federation:

National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

About Open Road Films:

Founded in 2011 by AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC) and Regal Entertainment Group (Regal), the two largest theatrical exhibition and entertainment companies in the United States, Open Road Films is a dynamic, acquisition-based domestic theatrical distributioncompany.

Opening in a theater near you on January 17, 2014. 

Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions and Mace Neufeld Productions present a 105 minute, PG-13, action, thriller, drama, directed by Kenneth Branagh, written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp with a theater release date of January 17, 2014.

Millennium Films and Summit Entertainment present a PG-13, approximately 90 minute, action, adventure, directed by Renny Harlin, written by Harlin and Daniel Giat with a theater release date of January 10, 2014.

Her

Warner Bros. Pictures and Annapurna Pictures present a 126 minute, R rated, comedy, romance, drama, directed and written by Spike Jonze with a theater release date of January 10, 2014.

Universal Pictures, Emmett/Furla Films, Envision Entertainment and Film 44 present a 121 minute, R rated, action, biography, drama, directed and written by Peter Berg, book by Marcus Luttrell with a theater release date of January 10, 2014.

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