Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Texas Gala Movie Premiere to Raise Funds for Massive International Animal Rescue

Posted: 1 April 2014

The Texas State Premiere of the award-winning wildlife rescue documentary Lion Ark – about the rescue of 25 lions – will be given extra bite as the event is to raise funds to send the team back to South America to save dozens of animals suffering in illegal circuses.

Lion Ark charts the story of one of the world’s most ambitious animal rescue operations, as a team from Animal Defenders International (ADI) swooped on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia to rescue every animal. The film culminates with the airlift of 25 lions to safety in the USA.

This Ark doesn’t come with a Hollywood spin, it’s the real thing, with the rescuers battling pouring rain, floods and all manner of obstacles before their Ark packed with lions flew over 3,000 miles to safety!

More action adventure than traditional documentary, the Lion Ark story is told through live action interviews and conversations as events unfolded and has been winning critical acclaim, film festival awards and sell out screenings, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding International Motion Picture. The Hollywood Reporter described the film as “Compelling cinema verité,” and Reel Talk described it as “The feel-good movie of the year.”

The eagerly anticipated Texas State Premiere on May 25th at the Stateside at the Paramount is set to be a glittering, star-studded occasion and has the backing of Austin’s Different Rhythm Foundation and The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary.

Lion Ark Texas State Premiere

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Followed by Q&A with the filmmakers and recue team members
9:00pm: VIP Gala Reception with special guests, canapés and sparkling wine – to raise funds for ADI’s upcoming rescue of abused circus animals from Peru

Stateside at the Paramount

719 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX


All money raised will go towards the ADI operation in Peru to enforce a prohibition on wild animals in traveling circuses, which was passed in 2011. The ADI team has already identified lions being illegally kept in small, rusting cages, and monkeys kept chained by their necks. The target for the night is to raise $100,000 towards the operation.

Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark, says: “Lion Ark is that rare thing, a film about a serious animal protection issue that has a happy ending and will leave you smiling. This is an uplifting film that shows what people can do when they pull together and take action. It is a film about cooperation and working for a better world.”

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International: “This wonderful evening is a chance to enjoy an exciting, uplifting film at a fabulous gala event, and help us to save more animals at the same time – we emptied Bolivia of suffering circus animals, now it is time to do the same in Peru.”

Rosie Plaia, Founder, Different Rhythm Foundation: “Lion Ark The Movie roars with the release of constraints and shackles. Man and beast feel the freedom of today and the peace of tomorrow. An informative and educational journey by a group of brave individuals that overcome the obstacles of saving what human greed has created, with uncompromising beliefs, boldness, and passion. Lion Ark The Movie is about saying; no more to abuse and yes to forever freedom for our World’s wildlife – for generations to come. A film filled with spirit. Showing that man and beast belong together without barriers. Native Americans believe we are all a piece of the web of life. The abused animals are released, manes flowing in the wind for the first time and the grass that will secure their footing forever...leaving you speechless and heart-warmed!”

Patti Clark, Director, Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary: “This documentary is absolutely stunning and a hugely important film about the importance of animal rescue efforts around the world. It exposes a problem that is very real and oftentimes ignored, but also showcases what is possible to help these beautiful animals live the life they deserve.”

For more information and to watch the trailer, 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

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
Winner Audience Choice Best Environmental Film, Sedona International 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 Palm Beach International Film Festival


“Compelling cinema verité” – 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!” – Reel Talk

“Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” – The New York Times

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

“heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational. It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and it’s ability to stir true emotion.” – Shock Cinema

“…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

More reviews and links to all above reviews in full:

© Animal Defenders International 2019