The United States Premiere of Lion Ark was held on October 5 to a sold out theater at the Mill Valley Film Festival, in California, with an introduction by actress Jorja Fox. The movie chronicles the amazing rescue of 25 lions from Bolivia as a result of a country ban on animal circuses. In attendance were several members of the rescue team, including ADI founders Jan Creamer, President, and Tim Phillips, Vice President. Following the emotional screening, the audience gave team members and Jorja Fox a standing ovation as they approached the stage to answer questions at a special Q&A session.
The movie shows the intricacies and planning involved for such a large-scale mission, but also includes exciting action-packed footage that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats as they watch the rescue unfold. Although it took eight years to secure the law banning circus animals in Bolivia, the film shows that dedication and perseverance can result in a huge triumph for animals. When asked if there was ever any wavering and thought of giving up, Tim Phillips gave a resounding “No! There was no way we were walking away from any of the animals once we were there on the ground.”
Of course endeavors of this magnitude require a great deal of money to finance costs for travel to the circuses, trucks to transport the lions, habitat and cage building costs, etc. Fortunately, Bob Barker funded the operation in Bolivia, but money is needed to rescue circus animals in other countries. It is only through the generosity of donors that this operation can be repeated in both Colombia and Peru, who have also passed laws banning circus animals. To donate for more rescue efforts, checks can be sent to ADI, 6100 Wilshire Blvd, #1150, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Donations can also be made online, where you can learn more about the film and the lion rescue, on the Lion Ark movie website.
For those that cannot afford to donate, there are other ways to help. Volunteers are needed to educate people about the cause, hand out literature, volunteer at events, and pressure your congressman. As Jan Creamer says, “It doesn’t matter if you have already written once, already spoken to them once. Keep applying the pressure. Every letter, every phone call, every email makes a difference.” To learn more about how to help stop circus suffering in the U.S., visit the Animal Defenders International website.
For a more detailed account of the film, read my review. Remember that screenings are continually being announced at film festivals throughout the United States so follow the Lion Ark Facebook page to see regular updates. The official movie trailer can be seen at the top of this article.
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