Tag Archives: Michael Clark

[VFF ’16] To Boldly Go Where No Elephant Has Gone Before, An Interview with Patricia Sims

7 Feb

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
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Playing at the
Victoria Film Festival on

Feb 08, 7:00pm
Star Cinema
9842 Third St
Sidney, BC
Feb 10, 6:30pm 
Cineplex Odeon
Victoria Cinemas

780 Yates St
Victoria, BC

 

Filmmaker and environmentalist Patricia Sims always knew she wanted William Shatner as the master storyteller in her two documentaries examining the Asian elephants plight. He’s more than just Captain Kirk of a highly loved science fiction franchise; he is an advocate for animal rights and he provides the narration in Return to the Forest (2013) and When Elephants Were Young (2015). The former is freely available online and the latter is getting a hometown premiere in Victoria, BC at the 2016 Victoria Film Festival. Plans for a wider theatrical release is coming and It’s most likely going to take place close to, if not on World Elephant Day on August 12th in 2016. A streaming and video release will no doubt follow, but when will mean either waiting patiently like this creature or time travelling to the future to see the product.

She started making wildlife films in the 90’s, starting with examining the impact hunting whales and dolphins for its meat (or sale to marine parks) are having in a cultural level. Her examination also includes looking at the scientific studies made of these mammals. They are sentient creatures with cognitive abilities. Fortunately, the practice of using them as a resource is slowly being put to the past, and thankfully, present-day attitudes wants to see the species survive.

“In the 90s, there was a cultural awakening predominantly among the younger generation about what shouldn’t be done. Animals of all kinds are very intelligent and [their survival is] important for the health of the environment,” remembered Sims.

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[VFF ’16] When Elephants Were Young, Their Role in Asian Societies, A Review

6 Feb

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Victoria Film Festival 2016

Feb 08, 7:00pm
Star Cinema
9842 Third St,
Sidney, BC

Feb 10, 6:30pm 
Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinemas
780 Yates Street
Victoria, BC

One night in modern Bangkok will not make any member of the native Thai tribes heralding their mammoth pet around the streets humble after watching When Elephants Were Young. This documentary is made by local filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark, and narrated by William Shatner. It is excellent at showing how these creatures should be treated with respect instead of used. This gentle beast is revered, but sadly the old traditions are seen without truly understanding where the native culture of keeping them “as pets” was once okay. Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” is one way to sum up the how the film moves and this film nicely reveals where attitudes are headed.

World Elephant Day (August 12, 2016) is championing preventing the Asian elephant from going extinct. Large steps are being made by the government to see the animal get saved. Ever since they got domesticated for warfare during Ancient Greek times, if not used in jungle warfare in India, their relationship with man has been an uneasy one. Are they working animals, creatures to be paraded around in zoos, or what? This film looks at their roles in human society today, focusing specifically in the relationship Wok, a mahout (elephant guardian), has with Nong Mai, an elephant he’s taken care of for at least a decade. He’s part of the Kui tribe and they have to adapt to modern times.

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