Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Lions Come Roaring into the Beloit Film Festival

Posted: 20 February 2014. Updated: 20 February 2014

The independent animal rescue documentary Lion Ark, which has been taking the film festival circuit by storm in recent months, will make its Wisconsin State Premiere tomorrow night at the Beloit International Film Festival and screen on three consecutive days (Friday, February 21st through Sunday, February 23rd).

The film, about the rescue of 25 lions from cruel, illegal circuses in Bolivia and their airlift to freedom in the US, is also up for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding International Motion Picture” on Friday night. The 45th Image Awards are organized by America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and are voted on by NAACP members. The prestigious Image Awards celebrates “the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.”

Made more in the style of an action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows an ambitious and daring animal rescue and puts the audience right in the thick of the action – up close with the animals. This is not “talking heads” and retrospective interviews, but live, unpredictable action as it actually unfolds. The Lions are the real stars of the film but it also has at its heart all of the different people who pull together to help the animals.

Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark says: “I really hope people in Beloit head along to the festival and see Lion Ark. Sometimes people understandably feel trepidation about animal protection films, but this is a genuine feel-good film about a serious issue. We don’t dodge the issues but this is a film to enjoy! We have had people standing up and cheering on the lions during screenings of the film.”

Lion Ark will have its Wisconsin premiere as part of the ninth Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) – described as an “alternative” to the Sundance Film Festival by the New York Times and “the next big thing” by Movie Maker Magazine.

Lion Ark has enjoyed sell out screenings at the Raindance Film Festival, London, Mill Valley Film Festival, CA and Starz Denver Film Festival; has picked up Audience Choice Awards at San Diego Film Festival and Anchorage International Film Festival for Best Documentary; and won the jury prize of Best Documentary at Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival Mississippi. While the Hollywood Reporter put Lion Ark on its list of 25 documentary Oscar contenders.

Lion Ark screens on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm (My Apartment), Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm (Café Fromage #1), and Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Hendricks Center for the Arts).

For more information and to watch the trailer, please visit



High resolution stills from Lion Ark and broadcast quality one minute clips of scenes are available on request.

See the Lion Ark Trailer online at:

Lori De Waal, 323-462-4122
ADI Films Media Desk 323-804-9920

FEBRUARY 21st: Beloit International Film Festival
5:00 pm at My Apartment
429 East Grand Ave., Beloit, WI
$8 online / $9 at box office & at the door. Click here to purchase tickets.

FEBRUARY 22nd: Beloit International Film Festival
5:00 pm at Café Fromage #1
431 East Grand Ave., Beloit, WI
$8 online / $9 at box office & at the door. Click here to purchase tickets.

FEBRUARY 23rd: Beloit International Film Festival
12:00 pm at Hendricks Center for the Arts
Pleasant St. and Grand Ave., Beloit, WI
$8 online / $9 at box office & at the door. Click here to purchase tickets.

“a spunky account of a perilous rescue mission...Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability.”
– Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Compelling cinema verité”
– Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“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

“heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational. It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and it’s ability to stir true emotion.”
– Justin Bozung, Shock Cinema Magazine / Mondo Film & Video Guide

“…this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent.”
– ACED Magazine

“Lion Ark is through and through entertaining…be ready for some up-tempo action-adventure of the most thrilling variety: real-life.”
– Stark Insider

“thoroughly rewarding...”
– TV and Film Review

“Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages”
– Britflicks

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

“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary”
– Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist

“will restore some faith in humanity”
– JM Willis,

“Lion Ark is a film that will grab your attention and your heart”
– Alexis Higgins, CMR Movie Reviews and News

“ultimately an uplifting story. It’s a revealing documentary with a lot of heart.”
– Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout...”
– Renee Snyder, International Animal Welfare Examiner, The Examiner

More reviews and links to all above reviews are available here

- Beloit International Film Festival
The Beloit International Film Festival is recognized as one of the leading young festivals in the country and has been cited as an “alternative” to the Sundance Film Festival by the New York Times and called “the next big thing” by Movie Maker Magazine. BIFF 2014 features the full range of indie films including animation, features, documentaries and shorts. Films are shown in more than a dozen settings in Beloit which is on the southern border of Wisconsin, 90 minutes northwest of Chicago. Film venues range from large college and community halls to restaurants and shops transformed into cinemas.

- Film Festival Selections & Awards
Nominee, Outstanding International Motion Picture, 45th NAACP Image Awards
Winner Best Documentary (Jury Award), Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival
Winner Audience Choice Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival
Audience Choice Award, Anchorage International Film Festival
Official Selection Raindance Film Festival, London
Official Selection Mill Valley Film Festival
Official Selection Hawaii International Film Festival
Official Selection Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Official Selection Virginia Film Festival
Official Selection Starz Denver Film Festival
Official Selection Irvine International Film Festival
Official Selection Beloit International Film Festival
Official Selection Sedona International Film Festival
Official Selection Omaha Film Festival

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