Where did you film?
Boddington: The movie was filmed entirely on location in South Africa. The elephant scenes where all filmed at a reserve in Bela Bela.
You chose to use live elephants in making this film. How did you make that decision?
Boddington: I have used live animals in all of my animal centric feature films and I have made four(4) now. I have worked with dogs, bears, wolves, lions, hyena, giraffe, cobras, and of course…elephants!
Using a real animal is key to making these films, one could use computer generated animals that is true. However, you’ll never be able to program into a computer the unpredictability of a living organism. The elephants used in this movie are great performers and did so many “unscripted” things that made it into the movie. These are moments that would have been lost using computer generated elephants. Real animals also look much better on screen and are timeless, whereas computer generated animals start to look dated after five years. Think of the Black Stallion made in 1979, it’s as powerful today as it was in 1979.
I want readers to understand that no elephants were transported to make this motion picture, we took the cast and crew to them and worked with them in their natural habitat, in Africa. There are other animals featured in the movie as well, lions and giraffe for example, and in those cases the cast and crew were moved to the location where the animals lived, not the other way around.
Do you believe interacting with, seeing, and/or experiencing elephants can help inspire people to care about their survival?
Boddington: Absolutely! It’s a game changer. If anyone spends a day with elephants in the wild they will have their views changed forever. These are the most magnificent intelligent animals on earth, true gentle giants, we can’t afford to lose them.
Did you have any interesting experiences with the elephants while on set?
Boddington: Seeing firsthand how incredibly intelligent elephants are, and how quickly and easily they learn new actions. They are highly social animals and they truly enjoy the company of humans. The lead elephant developed a clear bond with his boy co-star. There are three shots in the movie where the elephant clearly reaches out to the boy with his trunk, and touches him in an affectionate manner. This is how elephants behave with each other, and the elephant never did this to any other member of the cast or crew.
What do you hope the viewer takes away from this film?
Boddington: I am hoping that people will form an emotional bond with elephants through seeing this film. Only then do I believe that people will be motivated enough to stand up and lend their voices to help stop the slaughter. A slaughter that has now recently increased in Botswana, which has the highest elephant population in Africa.
What kinds of extras are included on the DVD?
Boddington: The DVD includes an interview with Elizabeth Hurley, she explains her commitment to elephant conservation. There is an interview with Dr. Richard Leakey, who lead the charge against the elephant poachers in Kenya. He has a wonderful conservation message for youth. There is also a 10 minute presentation on elephants by elephant expert Sean Hensman, a man who has dedicated his life to saving elephants. Sean talks about the physiology of elephants, and explains how they live as a community.
Like with all of us at IEF, Boddington, Hurley, Ashe and all the filmmakers were inspired by the elephants in their lives. That inspiration created An Elephant’s Journey, and will hopefully inspire all who watch the film. Watch the trailer and get your copy today! Remember, if you buy from Amazon, remember to start with AmazonSmile so a portion of your purchase supports IEF!