Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Winning streak for Lion Ark continues & prize money is committed to saving more lions

Posted: 10 November 2015. Updated: 10 November 2015


Lion Ark, the documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia and their journey to freedom, has been voted the Audience Award out of all features at YES Film Festival in Columbus, Indiana.

Since Lion Ark first burst onto the scene at Raindance (London) and the California Film Institute’s Mill Valley Film Festival, it has been officially selected for over twenty film festivals across the US and Europe, been nominated for a prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding International Motion Picture, racked up eleven awards and secured a worldwide distribution deal with ITV GE.

Described by critics as “uplifting” and “the feel-good movie of the year” Lion Ark charts the dramatic rescue of 25 lions from circuses across Bolivia and follows a team from Animal Defenders International as they track down and save animals from illegal circuses that defy a new law banning animal acts. The film culminates with the arrival of the lions at their new home in the US.

The Yes Film Festival Audience Award comes with a $500 prize, which has immediately been donated towards helping 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia reach a new life in South Africa before Christmas. The team behind Lion Ark have been recording the mission which has seen over 100 animals rescued and will culminate with the lions being flown by ADI to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa as a part of Operation Spirit of Freedom.

Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark: “We wanted to make a film about a serious issue that people would enjoy and would make them feel inspired to act. Lion Ark is up close and personal, in the heart of the action; we wanted people to enjoy the story while it delivers an important message, so it is very rewarding that of the eleven awards the film has won at festivals, seven have been audience votes.”

The annual YESfest in Columbus, Indiana showcases some of the best and most provocative new films over three days and this year included Stray Dog (which won the jury prize of Best Documentary), The Surface (Jury prize Best narrative Feature) and the acclaimed Tyke Elephant Outlaw.
Check out the YES FEST winners

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