Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International


Posted: 11 October 2013. Updated: 11 October 2013

San Diego – Action-packed documentary Lion Ark, which follows the rescue of 25 lions from illegal circuses in Bolivia, has won the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the San Diego Film Festival.

Lion Ark is currently touring prestigious film festivals across the world, after playing to sold out theatres in Mill Valley, California and London, UK. CSI star Jorja Fox, who appears in Lion Ark, will introduce the film at the Hawaii International Film Festival tomorrow.

Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips said: “We are thrilled that the audience has voted Lion Ark Best Documentary at the San Diego Film Festival. This confirms that although Lion Ark tackles a serious issue, it is an uplifting and exciting film. Lion Ark tells how the lives of 25 lions are transformed as they are saved form circuses in Bolivia and embark on a journey to freedom and safety.”

Made more in the style of an action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescue which begins with a shocking undercover investigation and leads to a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia; when the circuses defy the law, the team behind the investigation returns, tracking down the illegal circuses and saving every animal.

All aspects of the remarkable rescue operation were recorded and Lion Ark is meticulously compiled from film, interviews, conversations and the reactions of participants as events unfold. The confrontations, heartache and incredible risks the rescue team face are all captured before a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom in Colorado.

The rescue was backed by Emmy award-winning TV host Bob Barker and ADI Ambassador and CSI actress Jorja Fox, both of whom appear in the film. Bob Barker’s support enabled the rescue team to empty Bolivia of its suffering circus animals and build homes for them in the US.

Lion Ark screens opens at Hawaii International Film Festival, hosted by Jorja Fox, on Saturday 12 October.

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FURTHER IMAGES: © Animal Defenders International. Interviews/quotes available upon request.

With America’s Finest City as its backdrop, the San Diego Film Festival provides the best in independent film all in a premiere environment, boasting event screenings, interactive Q&A’s, industry panels, thought provoking narrative features and networking opportunities. The San Diego Film Festival is a unique cultural event providing audiences with unrivalled access to critically acclaimed films and the talent responsible for creating them.

Oct 12th: Lion Ark screening with special introduction from actress Jorja Fox, followed by Q&A with the filmmakers and rescue team
5pm at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18, 735 Iwilei Rd, Honolulu, HI 96817
Oct 13th: 11am at Consolidated Theatres Koko Marina 8, 7192 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu, HI 96825
Both screenings, $12

Established in 1981, the Hawaii International Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of cultural exchange and media awareness in the Pacific Rim. The festival is a premier international film event that has won the praise of governments, filmmakers, scholars, educators, programmers and film industry leaders across the globe. The Hawaii International Film Festival showcases emerging films from Asia and the Pacific, and presents the top festival films from around the world, annually screening films from over 45 countries.

“The film can be described in one word – AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout”
– Renee Snyder, The Examiner

“Lion Ark takes an already incredible and unforgettable story and breathes life and passion and transformation into it… one of your must-see films of 2013”
– The Independent Critic

“If you enjoy movies filled with suspense, thrills, surprises, adventure and action, put Lion Ark on your must-see list... For me, Lion Ark is the feel-good movie of the year!”
– Betty Jo Tucker, Reel Talk

“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary... which wears its heart on its sleeve, engaging the viewer viscerally”
– Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist

“…when the lion is finally released and walks on grass for the first time, it’s one of the most poignant moments of the film.”
– Laura Moss, Huffington Post / Mother Nature Network

ADI Films Media Desk 323-804-9920
Fleur Dawes +44 (0)20-7630-3344 or +44 (0)7785-552-548

© Animal Defenders International 2019