June 23, 2008
2008 ACE Feature Documentary Grant Finalists
Check out the documentary finalists for HSUS's ACE grant, presented at the SilverDocs festival
Flight of the ElephantMartin Pearson and Dana Millikin
Captive elephants are in crisis. In the past eight years, a staggering 39 of these beloved creatures have met premature deaths in U.S. zoos alone. In Europe, they're passing away decades before than their wild counterparts. Are these beautiful creatures victims of decades spent entertaining and educating humans? Is captivity killing them? Is it time to revaluate our relationship with elephants? "Flight of the Elephant" is the story of a tragedy facing an entire species - and the extraordinary efforts to save one tragic animal. It begins with exclusive coverage of an African elephant's incredible flight from an Alaskan zoo to a unique sanctuary in California, and, in a tantalizing cliffhanger, it could end with a DNA test and an incredible reunion.
One Lucky ElephantLisa Leeman, Cristina Colissimo, and Jordana Glick-Franzheim
Eight years in the making, "One Lucky Elephant" follows the poignant journey of circus producer David Balding as he tries to find a nurturing and permanent home for Flora, the 18-year-old African elephant that he raised as an infant and made the star of his European style, one-ring circus. Knowing Flora will outlive him, and that Flora needs to be with other elephants, David decides to retire Flora after 17 years of performing. He sets off on a quest to find the perfect home where Flora can live a more natural life with other African elephants, free from human domination and exploitation. David's dream may seem contradictory for a man who raised an elephant in a circus, but that is what makes David Balding so interesting - his willingness to grow and change, his fatherly love for his only daughter - Flora, and his deep-seated need to right the wrong he hadn't know he was committing, that of keeping Flora alone in a circus for so many years.
VaquitaChris Johnson and Genevieve Johnson
Tucked away in the northern extremities of the Gulf of California in Mexico, lives the entire world population of the Vaquita. Its range is the smallest of any marine mammal - living in an area less than 40 square miles. The Vaquita is also the smallest of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). Less than five feet long, calves are the size of a loaf of bread at birth. A black stripe runs forward from each flipper to the middle of the lower lip. It has a black circular patch around each eye, and its black lips set off a haunting little smile. However, the Vaquita has no reason to smile.
The Tiger Next DoorCamilla Calamandrei
Based on figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, experts estimate that there are currently 7,000-10,000 tigers being kept by private individuals in the United States. This means that there are more tigers being kept as "pets" and roadside attractions in this country than there are roaming the wilds of Asia and India combined. Twenty-four of them live in Flat Rock, Indiana, in Dennis H's backyard.
The Elephant and its Teeth
Sarita Siegel Greg Mitman
A film that draws upon scientific studies that compare the impact of violence on the dysfunctional behaviors of rogue bull elephants and young African men, providing startling evidence of what elephants and humans have in common.
Click here to read about the 2008 ACE grant winner.
Click here to read more about our Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) program.