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ACE Documentary Grant Winners

  • "Medicine of the Wolf" won first place in the 2013 ACE Grant. iStockphoto

  • "Shadow Trade" won first place in the 2012 ACE Grant. Benjamin Todd

  • "Cages of Shame" won first place in the 2011 ACE Grant. Martin Guinness

  • "One Lucky Elephant" was the 2010 ACE Grant winner.

  • "American Chimp" was the 2009 ACE Grant winner. iStockphoto

  • "The Elephant in the Living Room" was the 2008 ACE Grant winner.

  • "The Concrete Jungle" was the 2007 ACE Grant winner. iStockphoto

  • "Cougars on the Edge" was the 2006 ACE Grant winner. iStockphoto

Established in 2006, The Humane Society of the United States' Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) Documentary Film Grant attracted hundreds of submissions on a vast array of animal protection issues.

From 2006 to 2013, The ACE program awarded an annual grant to documentary film projects that highlighted animal issues. The winning proposals received a $20,000 grant. Two runners-up received $2,500 each.

Winners were selected by HSUS staff and a distinguished committee of film and television executives.

 Past ACE Grant winners

The deserving projects that won ACE Grants were created by filmmakers hailing from all over the world.

And the topics were just as wide-ranging: from the growing phenomenon of wild animals in urban areas to a nine-year attempt to find a new home for a retired circus elephant to the shocking reality of the illegal trade in dog meat.

2013: "Medicine of the Wolf"

This feature-length documentary from filmmaker Julia Huffman follows the work of renowned environmentalist and "National Geographic" photographer Jim Brandenburg, who has studied wolves in the field for 44 years. "Medicine of the Wolf” examines the treatment of America's gray wolves.
*2013 Runners-Up: "Kaziranga" and "Sea Horse"

2012: "Shadow Trade"

Produced by Ella Todd of Environment Films and directed by Richard Elson, "Shadow Trade" follows a British journalist as he digs up the dark truth behind Southeast Asia's illegal dogmeat trade.
*2012 Runner-Up: "Horsepower"

2011: "Cages of Shame"

Director Martin Guinness' film about the rescue of captive moon bears from a Chinese bear bile farm won the first-place prize in the 2011 ACE Grant. The film is now available for online rental.
*2011 Runners-Up: "The Eyes of Thailand" and "Whale Like Me"

2010: "One Lucky Elephant"

Directed by Lisa Leeman and produced by Jordana Glick-Franzheim and Cristina Colissimo, "One Lucky Elephant" follows the nine-year journey to find Flora, a retired circus elephant, her new home. It premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2011 and is now available on DVD.

2009: "American Chimp"

In profiling the bizarre Palm Springs lifestyle of Cheeta, the chimpanzee “star” of film and TV, director David Grabias' "American Chimp" (formerly titled "Cinema Chimp") goes on to explore the debate over the ethics of using non-human primate “actors” in the entertainment industry.

2008: "The Elephant in the Living Room" 

Produced and directed by Michael Webber, the film chronicles the dangerous epidemic of keeping wild animals as pets, threatening their owners, their communities, and the animal's welfare. The film hit U.S. theaters in spring 2011 and aired on Nat Geo WILD. It is now on DVD and Netflix.
*2008 Finalist: "The Tiger Next Door"

2007: "The Concrete Jungle"

"The Concrete Jungle," directed by Don Bernier, examines the relationship between humans and urban animals worldwide. From biologists to everyday city dwellers, we get first-hand accounts of the increasing conflicts between wildlife and humans, and what is being done to reach a peaceful coexistence.

2006: "Cougars on the Edge"

Director Janice Jensen's "Cougars on the Edge" explores the habitat encroachment of the cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains, which border one of the most heavily traveled freeways in the Los Angeles area. Using the technology of radio transmitters and GPS tracking devices, National Park Service biologists get a unique perspective into the lives and behavior of these elusive cats.

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