How I Became An Elephant – Movie Synopsis (Documentary – 82 min.)
How I Became an Elephant is one girl’s journey to inspire a movement.
When Juliette West set out on a quest to educate herself she got far more than she bargained for. Now she is angry, but her anger is driven by love; love for all that is natural and free. How I Became an Elephant follows this wide-eyed fourteen year-old from suburban California on her quest to save the world’s largest land mammals; a quest that takes her halfway across the globe and face to face with the gentle giants she aims to save.
On her journey Juliette meets Asia’s famous “Elephant Lady,” Lek Chailert who has risked her life and freedom for more than three decades to protect elephants from illegal trade and abuse. Together these unwavering and determined women from opposite ends of the earth and cultural spectrum converge on common ground: saving elephants. And they will stop at nothing to expose the dark secrets within industries so steeped in greed and corruption… and hopefully reverse the damage.
But Juliette knows time is of the essence. The South East Asian elephant is facing extinction in the wild as animal entertainment and elephant trekking industries grow exponentially. With few laws to protect “domestic” elephants and so much corruption within the system the situation looks bleak. Little does this fourteen year-old know she is about to embark on a journey that will change her life forever.
Part investigative journalism and all adventure, this film and its exotic and sometimes disturbing imagery is inspiring folks around the globe to get involved. How I Became An Elephant is far more than just a film. It’s one girl’s story… that led to a movement, which led to a continuing plan… to save a species.
How I Became an Elephant is directed by 16-time award winning filmmakers Tim Gorski and Synthian Sharp and produced by television actor/producer Jorja Fox and fourteen year-old Juliette West. Award winning cinematographer Jonathan David Kane is behind the lens and upcoming Hollywood composer Cody Westheimer weaves a masterful music score.
WHY THIS STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD
At the top of the 20th century Asia boasted well over 100,000 elephants. Today there are less than 5000 wild elephants in Burma and less than 500 in Thailand. The entertainment industry’s increasing demand for elephants keeps the illegal border crossings busy, but is also depleting the populations exponentially.
As avid travelers to developing nations, we feel it is our duty to let fellow travelers be aware of the extent of their impact. As filmmakers, we feel it is our professional duty to tell a great story about a real hero through the best medium available to us, and one that will reach audiences worldwide. As conservationists, it is our obligation to educate and convert audiences from passive viewers to active stewards. As humanitarians, we feel compelled to showcase a true-life female hero who went against all odds and still came out victorious. Lek’s story is one of inspiration that invokes passion and hope.
Lek has raised considerable funding and awareness through her website. She and the elephants became the subject of numerous news specials around the world including Time Magazine (where she was named Asia’s Hero of the Year in 2005), and the BBC. The new govt. of Thailand finally recognized her merits, awarding her “Woman of the Year” in 2008 for her conservation work.
Synopsis republished courtesy of Director Tim Gorski/Rattle The Cage Productions http://howibecameanelephant.com.