As reported earlier this week on LookToTheStars.org, the third installment of Kat Kramer’s Films That Change the World featured the world premiere of the documentary “Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy” at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood on Thursday, January 20.
The film, executive produced by Melya Kaplan and directed by Jacek Kropinski, chronicles the history of elephants in captivity. Kaplan, founder of the nonprofit Voice for the Animals Foundation, contends that zoos and circuses are not capable of properly caring for elephants due to their size and their need for vast amounts of space in which to roam. Many celebrities have joined Kaplan in a campaign to persuade zoos to close elephant exhibits and transfer the pachyderms to larger sanctuaries.
The Host Committee for the premiere of “Elephants and Man” included Cher, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Griffin, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Ed Begley Jr., Paul Haggis, Fisher Stevens, Ric O’Barry, Karen Black, Lainie Kazan, Ken Davitian, Sally Field, Beau Bridges and others.
Among the stars who attended the premiere were Cher, Lily Tomlin, Tippi Hedren, Billy Bob Thornton, Ed Begley Jr, Ken Davitian, Karen Black, Lainie Kazan, George Chakilis, Ben Vereen, Shawn Toub, Diane Warren, Jane Lynch, Kathy Najimy, Paula Poundstone, Greg Finley, Brando Eaton, Joe Slaughter, Colin Owens, Michael Anthony Spady, Beverly Todd, Mark Rydell, Tehmina Sunny, Michael Mccurio, Marc Rosenberg, Andre Hyland, Charley Bowyer, Peter R.J. Deyell and others.
"Hopefully, this film will introduce and educate people to the barbaric and inhumane practice of keeping elephants captive in zoos," Tomlin said. “Once most humans learn the truth about the cruelty and suffering we are causing these creatures, I believe they will find exhibiting them in zoos as morally unacceptable as I and many, many others do.”
Kramer founded her film series in 2009, under the auspices of KnK Productions, Inc., to highlight motion pictures that raise awareness of important social issues. Her father, the late producer/director Stanley Kramer, was known for making socially conscious movies such as “Judgement and Nuremberg,” “Ship of Fools,” “On the Beach,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and the animal-rights film “Bless the Beasts and the Children.” The first two films Ms. Kramer screened in her series were the Barbra Streisand classic “Yentl” and the dolphin documentary “The Cove,” which later received the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2010.
Kramer selected “Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy” for her series as a result of the controversy surrounding a new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. The $42 million exhibit, which opened in December, 2010, is comprised of six acres, just three of which are for elephants, with the remaining area for spectators. Prior to the opening of the new exhibit, 14 elephants had died prematurely at the LA Zoo over a period of several years, while confined in cramped quarters.
“People who think the new elephant exhibit is wonderful because it is larger than the old one, are missing the point,” Kramer said. “Elephants need more space, to be healthy. We hope zoos throughout the country will pay attention to the message of ‘Elephants and Man’ and do the right thing by closing their elephant exhibits.”
Information about Voice for the Animals is available at www.vftafoundation.org.