"There’s no need for melodrama; the documentary gathers its own momentum, taking on the suspense of a thriller and the inevitability of a tearjerker as you wait for 7-month-old, three-legged Mosha to get a prosthesis. The film reveals the cruelty of trainers secretly inflicting pain to force the elephants to paint for the tourists. The misery of elephants, their feet hypersensitive to natural vibrations in the ground, forced to plod through traffic in Bangkok. The trust of a blind elephant as she lifts a man with her trunk so he can sweep the dust from her wrinkled back.
The film cuts back to Salwala, whose mix of solitary resolve and melancholy are almost as moving as her elephants’ plight. And then we see baby Mosha, shyly tucking his trunk up in what looks like a grin as the prosthesis is fitted, and he takes his first tentative steps."
Saturday's screening at UNAFF was a success. Alice Ng of Animals Asia was kind enough to introduce the film and participate in the Q&A to follow, offering unique insight on policy changes protecting endangered animals worldwide. Many members of the audience were interested in sharing the film with their communities, and as always, we are very excited for that!
Thank you to all the staff and volunteers of the United Nations Association Film Festival for a great week of events and programming!
Screening will be Saturday at 11am.
Stanford University Annenberg Auditorium
Cummings Art Building
435 Lasuen Mall
THE LAST ELEPHANTS OF THAILAND TO SCREEN AT LA FEMME FILM FESTIVAL SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16
Activist/actress Tippi Hedren to introduce the film
Los Angeles – October 14, 2010 The Last Elephants in Thailand by Michelle Mizner and Don Tayloe will screen at the 6th Annual LA Femme Film Festival, on Saturday, October 16 at 6pm. The film, a stunning statement on elephant abuse in Thailand and beyond, has already garnered wins at the San Antonio Film Festival, Bangkok IndieFest and the Venice Green Screen Film Festival and will compete at the United Nations Association Film Festival (October 22 – 31) at Stanford University. The filmmakers’ prescient insight is also being brought to light by Hollywood via the new Reese Witherspoon film Water for Elephants. The film will be introduced by the legendary Tippi Hedren, a well-known animal activist.
Michelle Mizner is a documentary filmmaker from Central California. She studied cinema and creative writing on full scholarship at Cal State Northridge, where she directed Barrio Thief, a short film about a family affected by drug-resistant tuberculosis in Peru. Upon graduation, Michelle joined forces with Don Tayloe to make this film, a process that altogether took almost 2 years. “Don and I were both working full time jobs and living on opposite sides of the country, but this was a passion project. It began as a small story about an elephant hospital in Thailand, however as we were filming and made aware of the hardships faced everyday by domesticated elephants and the humans who care for them, we knew we had an urgent responsibility to share."
Michelle hopes the film challenges viewers to consider their own opinions about how and why elephants are used in entertainment and tourism, both at home and abroad. “People love elephants. So it's heartbreaking to learn that something as innocent and alluring as an elephant painting can actually be the result of serious torture.”
Don Tayloe is a practicing internist at the VA Hospital in Fresno. He became interested in the Elephant Hospital in Thailand because of the uniqueness of a hospital that only treated elephants. It gave him the chance to observe cutting edge veterinary medicine applied to elephants.
Tippi Hedren, actress, producer, activist was the recipient of the “Thespian Award” from the LA Femme Film Festival in 2008.
The LA Femme Film Festival, now in its sixth year, runs October 14- 17, 2010. The Last Elephants in Thailand will screen at the Davidson Valentini Theater, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood on Saturday, October 16, at 6pm. Tickets for the festival can be purchased online atwww.LAFemme.org or at the box office.