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AFRICA'S ELEPHANT KINGDOM

SYNOPSIS:
Large groups of elephants move purposefully across the plains. One comes closer. He is massive, his weathered, craggy hide testament to the almost sixty years he has spent on earth. He is the Old Bull, our storyteller, and it is through his eyes that the film unfolds. He tells us of the layers of connection within elephant society. Babies to mothers, mothers to families, families to clans. Heading up each family is the Matriarch - the Keeper of Memory, who protects the family when threatened. The matriarch of his family is his cousin, Torn Ear, a wise and cunning female who is fifty seven years old. She watches over forty elephants but has the most trouble with her grandson - Little Bull. Together with his cousin Keekay, he’s constantly in and out of harmless mischief. This is a journey across vast stretches of land in search of food and water - a story of survival.

"We are immersed in Africa’s unique landscape, where with incredulity and wonder, we experience the magic of the Elephant Kingdom. The power of the world’s biggest and strongest of beasts on the world’s largest screen is overwhelming, as unforgettable images of elephants in their natural habitat are magnified. Filmed over a six months period, the journey we share with these gentle giants is one that traces a family travelling through drought, rain, experiencing the wonders of birth, devastations of death and the rituals of mating. Imagine the entire screen detailing the elephant’s unique skin, the imposing foot stamping in the dust, the soulful eye blinking slowly in the rich amber sunset. The rich baritone narration of Avery Brooks’ from the point of view of the elephant is effective, while stirring, evocative music combines ethereal, classical and rhythmic African elements. The cinematography is extraordinary as we witness an elephant charging directly towards the camera, baby elephants tumbling, playing, and most memorable of all, watch in amazement as two elephants lock tusks and engage in an unhurried, loving kiss. This spectacular film is a story of nature and survival in the beauty of Kenya and the plains below the White Mountain of Kilimanjaro. Staggering and inspiring, Africa’s Elephant Kingdom is an unforgettable journey to a land like no other, where sunsets are unsurpassed, and the magnificence of the amazing elephant can be enjoyed."
Louise Keller

"This massive film is a great basic primer on the delights and dangers of life as the world's largest land mammal. As with many recent IMAX films, it is truly magnificent - perhaps not as dramatically haunting as Everest, but spellbinding nonetheless. From the opening shot of the expansive Kenya terrain, Africa's Elephant Kingdom is a hypnotic film, a stirring study of family coping with birth, death, famine and the celebration of life itself. Stunningly photographed with a beautifully evocative soundtrack to accompany the stirring visuals, here is a film that is truly captivating and fascinating. There are some remarkable sequences, such as an elephant stampeding towards the camera, and the scenes of drought and devastation are heartbreaking. This is not simply a nature documentary, but a well developed and impeccably made film which has a lot to say about these extraordinary creatures. It's a remarkable work in an exciting and consistently adventurous medium."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0
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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

AFRICA’S ELEPHANT KINGDOM (G)
(US)
Documentary

DIRECTOR/ PRODUCER/ WRITER: Michael Caulfield:

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Tim Cowling

SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANT: Iain Douglas-Hamilton

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tom Cowan

LOCATION; Amboseli National Park, Kenya

EDITOR: Kathleen Korth

MUSIC: Roger Mason

NARRATOR: Avery Brooks

RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 4, 1998

FACT SHEET:
AFRICAN ELEPHANT

STATUS: Endangered

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The largest land mammals in the world; thick, craggy skin sparsely covered with coarse hair; large fan-like ears; four front toes, three hind toes; adult males are around 10 feet tall and weigh around 12,000 pounds; adult females grow to about nine feet and weigh 10,000 pounds.

TRUNK: An organ of touch, smell and communication, with a tip having two finger-like lips; used for feeding, pulling up vegetation, throwing dust, squirting water, as a snorkel and for vocalisations; contains 150,000 muscles; can grow up to six feet long, 300 pounds, can be used as a weapon.

TUSKS: Made of ivory, grow continuously throughout an elephant’s life, sometimes as much as seven inches a year; can reach 10 feet in length, 200 pounds in weight; used to dig for water and salt, mine rocks, for protection and fighting.

HABITAT: Savannah grasslands and forests.

RANGE: Roughly 2.2 million square miles in Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

Video Distrib: Roadshow Entertainment
Video Release: Feb 23, 99







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