Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International


Posted: 5 February 2015

February 3, 2015, GAINESVILLE, FL – LION ARK, the dramatic documentary that tells the story of 25 lions rescued from cruel Bolivian circuses and their 5,000 mile journey to safety in the United States is set to melt hearts on Valentine’s Day at the sixth Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival. The award winning movie will screen on Saturday February 14th at the Paramount Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

Critically acclaimed LION ARK charts the story of one of the world’s most ambitious animal rescue operations, as a team from Animal Defenders International (ADI) secure a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia and set about rescuing every animal as circuses defy the law. The film’s joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to a new life in the US.

More action adventure than traditional documentary, LION ARK follows the entire rescue operation through live action interviews as events unfold. Viewers are there with the animals and rescuers in the thick of the action, feeling the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through the incredible mission.

Bursting onto the scene at Raindance in London, LION ARK has won multiple awards on the international film festival circuit and enjoyed sell-out screenings, standing ovations, and praise for its high production values and cinematic beauty. The film has collected six awards and a nomination for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

WHAT: LION ARKat Cinema Verde Film Festival
WHEN: Saturday, February 14th at 1:00pm
WHERE: Paramount Plaza Hotel & Conference Center,
2900 Southwest 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608


Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Arksays: “Lion Ark provides a unique opportunity for people to really engage with the animals and see how their lives are transformed during the course of the movie. Despite the serious subject everyone coming along to our Valentine’s screening will leave with a smile on their face. This is a movie about hope and bringing about change."

The LION ARK rescue was funded entirely by donations, including a significant gift from legendary US TV ‘Price is Right’ game show host Bob Barker. A similar operation – Spirit of Freedom – is now underway in Peru, where ADI is once again assisting the authorities to enforce its animal circus ban, having successfully secured the legislation. ADI currently has 30 lions, 16 primates and many other animals in its care.


to find out how you can help ADI with its Spirit of Freedom rescue mission. ADI’s Christina Scaringe will be available to talk about the operation and Lion Ark at the Valentine’s Day screening.

For more information and to watch the trailer, visit

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Lori De Waal, 323-462-4122
ADI Films Media Desk 323-804-9920
Trish Riley, 352-327-3560


High resolution stills from LION ARK and broadcast quality one minute clips of scenes

Watch the LION ARK trailer online

Embed the LION ARK trailer

LION ARK is available to view by request (official release, October 2014)

Donate to ADI’s animal rescues

Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue of wild animals from Peru’s circuses, with video

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

What critics are saying about LION ARK
“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
“Born Free with balls on… unmissable” - Britflicks
“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” – The Ecologist
“will restore some faith in humanity.” –
“heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational. It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and its ability to stir true emotion.” – Shock Cinema Magazine / Mondo Film & Video Guide
“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout…”– The Examiner
More reviews and links to all above reviews in full

© Animal Defenders International 2019