The award-winning documentary feature, The Elephant Queen will be screening across Kenya. When describing The Elephant Queen, David Ehrlich of the Indie Wire said, “It boasts of undeniable authenticity.” Indeed, he was right. The Elephant Queen is a unique feature documentary which tells an incredible and moving story of a family of elephants and animals that interact with it. Under the leadership of the elephant matriarch, Athena, this elephant family tells a tale of survival and family. This movie is a must-watch – it is not just a movie about an Elephant Family but also involves other animal characters that you will come to love.
The elephant is one of the world’s majestic wild animals. Many have said that it many ways it behaves like a human being. The film’s directors, Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone who have been filming wild animals for about 25 years brought to the world the story of elephants in a way that hasn’t been done before. The Elephant Queen is the result of 8 years of filming, powerful cinematography and a carefully chosen style of narration.
The Elephant Queen tells a tale of a family of elephants; Athena, the lead matriarch, toddler Wewe, and a newborn, Mimi. Mimi is born in a time of abundance when there’s plenty of water and food. All the animals have plenty but Athena, like the wise matriarch that she is, knows that this won’t last forever. Soon the waterhole dries up and tough decisions have to be made. Mimi, the baby is not yet strong enough to travel but how long can they delay their imminent migration in search of water?
The film also has characters like the goose, dung beetle and tortoise that live at the elephant’s toenail height. These animals help in depicting the interesting tale even in the new place where they move to for survival. This is a tale of tenacity, family, love and loss. The film uses a bit of humour to tell the story but also evokes a lot of emotions and thoughts.
The Elephant Queen was filmed in Tsavo East National Park and the Greater Amboseli Tsavo ecosystem in Kenya. Though the lead character is Athena, a female elephant, the story is narrated by Academy Award nominee Chiwatel Ejiofor who has starred in films like 12 Years a Slave, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Lion King among others.
Here in Kenya, in partnership with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) there will also be a 28 learn-to-read books series based on characters from the film. The books will be distributed to schools across Kenya. There will also be a series of children’s plays, short videos and other activities that will be available after Easter on www.elephant.co.ke. All these are part of a literacy initiative that is part of the Outreach programme designed around The Elephant Queen and supported by BESTSELLER® Foundation.
The aim is to inspire a new generation of Kenyan conservation leaders. For the Kenyan public screenings, it has been translated into Kiswahili and Maa languages for a wider reach. Research shows that in Africa the number of elephants has fallen by 95% in the last century. The number of birth rates is not high enough to match up to the mortality rates. Further, Tsavo hosts about 12 of the giant tuskers remaining in the world. This number is about half of all giant tuskers in the world. Using this film, they hope to also inspire Kenyan conservationists just like the film has in other parts of the world such as top international film festivals including Toronto and Sundance. The Elephant Queen has also won the Cinema for Peace Award, the UN World Wildlife Day Biodiversity Award and Best Cinematography at DOC NYC.
Read on Simple Ways We Can Be Involved In Wildlife Conservation to learn how you can also be part of wildlife conservation.