Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International


Posted: 4 November 2014. Updated: 11 November 2014

Lion Ark, the multi award-winning film which charts the dramatic rescue and relocation of 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia by Animal Defenders International is set to land in cinemas across the UK from next month. Cinemagoers will be among the first to see what has been touted by critics as the “feel good movie of the year!” and rescue team leaders, Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer, will hold Q&A sessions after the film.

Since opening at Raindance, London and Mill Valley Film Festival, California, Lion Ark has taken the film festival circuit by storm with sell out shows, six awards, official selections for 14 prestigious film festivals, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, feel-good movie Lion Ark charts one of the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescues, as a team from Britain’s Animal Defenders International (ADI) swoops on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia following a ban.

Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips said: “We wanted Lion Ark to entertain and inspire, but also to have audiences laughing - this is not your traditional documentary – it’s a rollercoaster ride which will have you cheering for the lions as the rescuers defy the odds to bring them to freedom.”

The story begins when ADI secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. The shocking findings lead to public outrage and calls for action across the continent. Bolivia is the first to act. Now ADI must help the government enforce the law. The team journey across a vast, hostile terrain to track down the illegal circuses defying the new law, save the animals and bring them to safety. A joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom in the US.

A smash hit on the international film festival circuit, winning six awards, Lion Ark is told through live action interviews, in the moment, as events unfold. This is up close and personal, in the thick of the action; you are as close as you can get to these animals and to understanding their life in the circus and feel the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission.

The Lion Ark rescue mission was backed by legendary and Emmy award-winning US TV ‘Price is Right’ game show host Bob Barker and CSI actress Jorja Fox (‘Sara Sidle’), whose company Seafox Productions is an Associate Producer and both appear in the film. Bob Barker’s support enabled the rescue team to empty Bolivia of its suffering circus animals and build new homes for them in the US.

A similarly ambitious rescue operation – Spirit of Freedom – is now underway in Peru, where ADI is once again assisting authorities to enforce an animal circus ban, having successfully secured the legislation. ADI currently has 22 lions and 11 primates in its care, and audiences will hear the very latest news.

Critical acclaim includes, “Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” (The New York Times); “Compelling cinema verité” (The Hollywood Reporter); “this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent.” (ACED Magazine); “the feel-good movie of the year!” (Reel Talk); “One of your must–see films” (The Independent Critic); “A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” (The Ecologist); “thoroughly rewarding” (TV and Film Review); “Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages” (Britflicks).

Lion Ark has recently been signed into distribution for television, video on demand, DVD / Blu Ray and in-flight entertainment with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, one of the world’s leading distribution companies which has its own channels in Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East, including flagship ITV broadcasting in 40 countries.

Tickets for the Lion Ark screenings are on sale now. Rescue team leaders Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer will be coming straight from their latest Operation Spirit of Freedom mission in Peru and will be holding Q&A sessions following the screenings.

Screening locations and dates: Cardiff (Nov 11); Glasgow (Nov 15); Liverpool (Nov 17); Oxford (Nov 25); Bristol (Nov 28); Guildford (Dec 1); London – West End Gala Screening (6 Dec); Colchester (Dec 9); New Brighton, Merseyside (Dec 11); Brixton (Dec 15); Southampton (Dec 17).

Tickets & screening details

# ENDS – Do not publish beyond this point #

Contact: Fleur Dawes 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

Lion Ark is available to view by request

Lion Ark trailer

Lion Ark awards & acknowledgements
Winner Audience Choice Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival
Winner Best Documentary Omaha International Film Festival
Winner Audience Choice Environmental Film Sedona International Film Festival
Winner Audience Favorite Documentary Palm Beach International Film Festival
Winner Best Documentary Sun & Sand The Mississippi Film & Music Festival
Audience Choice Best Documentary Anchorage International Film Festival
Nominated: Outstanding International Motion Picture, 45th NAACP Image Awards
Official Selections: Raindance Film Festival, London; Mill Valley Film Festival; Hawaii International Film Festival; Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Virginia Film Festival; Starz Denver Film Festival; Irvine International Film Festival; Beloit International Film Festival; Crossroads Festival for Documentary Film and Discourse, Austria

Lion Ark reviews
“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. 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 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
“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” – Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist
“will restore some faith in humanity.” – JM Willis,
“will grab your attention and your heart” – Alexis Higgins, CMR Movie Reviews & News
“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
“ultimately an uplifting story... a revealing documentary with a lot of heart.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film
“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout….” – Renee Snyder, The Examiner
More reviews available at

© Animal Defenders International 2019