Films: Lion Ark

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Lion Ark

Lion Ark

USA, 2013, 97 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: UK
Genre/Subjects: Animals, Environmental
Programs: Documentary, Women + Film
Language: Spanish, English English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Tim Phillips
Producer: Tim Phillips, Jan Creamer
Editor: Tony Pattinson
Screenwriter: Jan Creamer, Tim Phillips
Cinematographer: Mark Whatmore
Principal Cast: Tim Phillips, Jan Creamer, Pat Craig, Mel Richardson, Alexis Diaz, Bob Barker, David Kopp Valdiva, Jorja Fox

Produced by activist group Animal Defenders International, this punchy behind-the-scenes documentary depicts the dramatic rescue and relocation of 25 African lions from illegal Bolivian circuses. Made with undeniable passion and an unwavering sense of righteous purpose, the crisply edited and aggressively scored Lion Ark exists to move and to affect real legislative change.

For two years, ADI members infiltrated the South American circus industry, filming the appalling mistreatment of animals, which they found everywhere. Their undercover work, seen here in snippets, would prove instrumental in Bolivia’s consequent ban on circus animals. Lion Ark begins in earnest in the legislation’s aftermath, with the rescue agency working in concert with the Bolivian government to save the nation’s captive lions. Director (and ADI vice president) Tim Phillips and his fellow filmmakers document their struggle to free the animals, shooting their ambitious and often dangerous attempts to rescue the lions from their abusive owners. Real-time responses and interviews add to the rare access that Lion Ark grants.

The story ends happily just outside Denver, with all 25 animals successfully relocated to the same Colorado wildlife preserve. While longtime animal rights activist Bob Barker and CSI actress Jorja Fox are among those on hand to celebrate the lions’ airport arrival, the rescued creatures naturally prove to be the bigger stars. Indeed, over the course of Lion Ark, the viewer will get to know not only Phillips, ADI president Jan Creamer, and the rest of their outfit, but also many of the mistreated animals themselves.

In cooperation with Animal Defenders International, The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Denver School of the Arts, Stanley British Primary School

For information on group rates and community partnerships please contact Karla Rodriguez at

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    Animal rights activists hold the idea that all animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives, and that one of their most basic interests, that of not suffering, should be championed by all. SDFF 36 presents two thought provoking films on the subject. Lion Ark, features world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescue, in which 25 lions are airlifted to freedom to a preserve in Colorado. American Mustang, is an artful blend of documentary and a character-driven narrative...... more
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