Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Award-Winning Film “Lion Ark” Hosts Special Screenings in Honor of Dr. Mel Richardson

Posted: 27 May 2014. Updated: 30 May 2014

Award-winning animal rescue film Lion Ark will hold two special screenings to raise funds for Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) upcoming rescue operation in Peru. The screenings will be held in honor of the late Dr. Mel Richardson, ADI’s veterinarian during Operation Lion Ark and one of the key figures in the film. A close friend and colleague, Dr. Mel was expected to participate in the Peru rescue, but tragically passed away in January.

Both Lion Ark screenings will be held on Saturday, May 31st in Dr. Mel’s hometown of Chico, CA at the Pageant Theater. The first screening at 12:15pm will be for friends and family. The second screening at 3:00pm will be open to the public. Tickets are $11.54 and all proceeds will go towards the rescue of circus animals from Peru.

Guests will get a first-hand account of Lion Ark and the upcoming Peru rescue from the filmmakers Tim Phillips and Jan Creamer – the wild animal rescuers are just back from two weeks tracking Peru’s circus animals and planning the next rescue. Funds are being raised to save up to 35 African lions and bring them to safety in the US.

Lion Ark charts the story of one of the world’s most ambitious animal rescue operations, as a team from ADI swooped on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia to rescue every animal. More action adventure than traditional documentary, the Lion Ark story is told through live action interviews and conversations as events unfolded. The film culminates with the airlift of 25 lions to safety in the USA.

Lion Ark is enthralling audiences at film festivals, and has collected six awards and a nomination for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

Special Memorial Tribute Screenings of Lion Ark for Dr. Mel Richardson

Saturday, May 31, 2014

12:15pm: Screening for Friends & Family of Dr. Mel Richardson
3:00pm: Public Screening of Lion Ark

Pageant Theater

351 East 6th Street
Chico, CA 95928


All money raised will go towards the rescue of all the wild circus animals in Peru. Like Bolivia, ADI will help enforce a new law on wild animals in traveling circuses, passed in 2011. The ADI team has already identified lions being illegally kept in small, rusting cages, and monkeys kept chained by their necks.

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: “These wonderful events are a chance to enjoy an exciting, uplifting film, 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.”

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
Winner Audience Favorite Palm Beach International Film Festival
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
Winner Best Documentary Omaha Film Festival
Audience Choice Award, Anchorage International Film Festival
Nominee, Outstanding International Motion Picture, 45th NAACP Image Awards
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


“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 its 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:

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