Well folks, I was lucky to have attended the 2nd Annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival presented by KCET, Link TV and KCET.org/green. The opening night took place on Friday, April 20 at Sony Pictures Studios with the West Coast premiere of the highly anticipated documentary “Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story” presented by Abramorama.
The evening began with a reception at Calley Park where I joined “actorvists” such as Sara Rue and Briana Evigan, and animal activists like Patty Shenker, Katie Cleary and City Council Member Paul Koretz. The screening itself took place at the Kim Novak Theatre.
It was a full house with a heartfelt introduction by the film’s writer/director and narrator, actress Ashley Bell and leading actorvist Maggie Q. A post-screening Q&A followed with the filmmakers Bell, John Michael McCarthy, Roddy Tabatabai (Change for Balance) Executive Producer David Casselman and the film’s Sangdeaun “Lek” Chailert. It was moderated by the best in the business, KCET Must See Movies host, and Deadline Chief film critic, Pete Hammond.
Lek is the Founder and Director of Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary in Thailand. Hammond asked Ashley about the genesis of the film. “It was originally going to be a short, a happily ever after story. I’ve always loved elephants. But it became a different film entirely because after I went to Thailand, and learned about how elephants are abused. I knew I had to expose it. Few people realize the abuse elephants endure in zoos, circuses, being used as elephant rides and elephant painting,” he explained. Bell called Lek “A hero everyday of the week.” She asked him if she could come back and join an elephant rescue along with wildlife and animal attorney Casselman. He has devoted years to doing pro bono work as the legal counsel for animals, including Billy the lone Asian elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Bell assembled a team that documented the daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue the 70-year-old captive Asian elephant, Noi Na. The film is poignant and the audience reacted with tears of sorrow but ultimately joy.
KCET and Link TV have partnered with Save Elephant Foundation, a Thai non-profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population.
Out of all the recent films about the plight of elephants, Love & Bananas is the most compelling and is a must see for all animal lovers and is inspirational for all.
The Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival is the only festival of its kind in Los Angeles. It’s committed to bringing environmental awareness and dialogue on multiple platforms through the Earth Focus franchise. The festival screened films at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on Saturday, April 21, including UCLA Lens Environmental Shorts: March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step, Evolution of Organic/The Soil Story (short), The Last Animals, Jane and Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising- Living with Water & Climate Migration.
“Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story” opens Friday, May 4 through Thursday, May 10 at Laemmle Music Hall located at 9036 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Visit Laemmle.com for tickets and showtimes.
Live your dreams…..
Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.