March 2016 – Three documentaries filmed in and around Abu Camp have won first prizes in their respective categories at the 2016 International Elephant Film Festival. The winners were announced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2016. Naledi: Every Elephant Counts won first prize in the People & Elephants category, while Minds of Giants came out on top in the Science & Elephants category. Both films were produced by Vulcan Productions in association with Off The Fence.
Elephants Without Borders (produced by Afriscreen, the BBC and Animal Planet) came first in the African Voices category, and was also a finalist in both the Issues & Solutions and Science & Elephants categories. A second film by Afriscreen, Paseka The Easter Elephant, was a finalist in the African Voices category. Finally, Naledi: Every Elephant Counts was also selected as a finalist in the Issues & Solutions category.
“We are delighted by the success of these amazing elephant documentaries about the Abu herd. It is incredible that out of 250 total submissions and only five categories we could enter for, three of the films we were involved in are winners”, commented elephant ecologist Dr Mike Chase of the NGO Elephants Without Borders. “The international recognition achieved by these films is testament not just to the skills and dedication of the filmmakers, but also to the star quality embodied by Naledi, Paseka and rest of the Abu herd. It is our hope that these films will help spread Abu Camp’s message of conservation and hope around the world”.
Each member of the Abu herd has his or her own story to tell, and their individual narratives of survival, love, and the incredible bonds between elephants, and between elephants and humans, are set against the backdrop of the ongoing elephant poaching crisis across Africa. Naledi and Paseka instantly convert everyone who meets them to the cause of elephant conservation; the success of these films about their lives will enable them to reach out to more people in their role as ambassadors for this cause.
The International Elephant Film Festival (IEFF), presented by Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival & United Nations / CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), empowers worldwide public engagement efforts to inspire personal responsibility and stewardship for elephant conservation and in creating an equitable and sustainable future.
IEFF is a direct result of the 2015 Jackson Hole Elephant Conservation Summit, a unique event that brought together media creators, distributors and elephant conservationists and scientists to find integrated solutions to the drastic decimation of the elephant population. The winning and finalist films will now be showcased extensively throughout the world, to spread the vital message of elephant conservation.
“We remain optimistic that through the important conservation work being undertaken at Abu Camp future generations will be inspired by elephants on the screen, and will be able to see them in the wild in Africa as well”, concluded Dr Chase.
Scenes from the making of the Abu elephant films, and stills from the finished films.