The Ivory Game Debuts on Netflix
November 04, 2016
Our latest powerful story, The Ivory Game, debuts globally via Netflix and it couldn’t come at a more important time for Africa’s elephants. The investigative documentary from Vulcan Productions and Terra Mater Film Studios exposes the severity of elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in Africa and highlights brave activists and organizations fighting dangerous, heavily armed criminals.
The production team documented the intense reality of the fight to protect elephants while they were embedded inside the operations of these activists and law-enforcement officers. Their courageous work brings to life — and to the screen — the harrowing real-time investigations, busts and arrests that are part of this criminal world.
The Ivory Game presents a compelling story with an important message for the world: To stop the crisis facing wild elephant populations across Africa, we need to halt poaching, stop the trafficking, end demand for ivory, and engage local communities to join the effort to protect this iconic species from total extinction.
The fight to protect endangered species is one of the pillars of our philanthropic conservation work at Vulcan Inc., led by our founder and chairman, Paul G. Allen.
Paul has experienced firsthand the beauty and complexity of wild elephant herds, and the devastation that poaching has caused to the species. He has spent significant time in Africa, and understands the important role of elephants in African ecology, economy and history. He believes that without immediate action, elephants will be wiped out due to the unsustainable level of killing driven by the global demand for ivory as a luxury good.
At the core of Vulcan’s mission to save elephants is Paul’s deeply held understanding that for the global community to engage in the fight to protect elephants, we need data to understand how many elephants are left and how populations have changed over the past years. At Vulcan, our unique approach to conservation leverages data and technology to shift policy and political will, and to inform protection and enforcement.
The Ivory Game is exemplary of how Vulcan’s integrated and cross-functional approach comes to life in a very personal way. Paul had the opportunity to join the film’s co-directors, Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson, and the production team, on the ground in Africa where he learned about the investigations as they unfolded. Paul met with our partners and with one of the heroes of the film, Elisifa Ngowi, an anti-poaching law enforcement expert in Tanzania. Understanding the challenge these extraordinary groups face on the ground in the fight against poaching ensures that we are acting on first hand input when we support the critical work of these individuals and groups.
Storytelling is another key component to how Vulcan Productions approaches tackling these hard problems. Driving awareness and knowledge of the issue and providing tools to get a global community involved is central to our work. With projects such as The Ivory Game, we hope that our storytelling will inspire wider audiences to support conservation and reject ivory as a mere commodity, especially in large markets including China, Southeast Asia and the United States.
We recognize that filmmakers and artists have a critical role to play in fighting the big issues of our time, including ivory trafficking and elephant poaching. The Ivory Game is here at the right time, when the culture at large is ripe to listen to the story that the film presents in a perfect storm of artistry, storytelling and data.
The recent release of The Great Elephant Census results revealed an alarming 30 percent decline in Africa’s elephant populations, spurring many world leaders to demand an end to ivory markets. While this call to action is not legally binding, it’s a strong message to the world that countries are starting to recognize and respond to this crisis.
But the fight is far from over.
If elephants are going to have a long-term future, we can no longer value ivory as a commodity to the production of expensive trinkets. This is the key takeaway from The Ivory Game.
Vulcan Productions is bringing the film and additional content, data, and stories directly to audiences where elephants are killed in Africa — and where ivory is shipped and sold in China, Vietnam and the U.S.
This film shines a startling spotlight on the supply and the demand for elephant ivory. As we release the film, we plan to work with audiences to tackle both ends of the problem.
Vulcan Productions continually seeks to bring stories to life that will drive change and have lasting impact on the world. Next year, another of our elephant films, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale, will reach audiences, while the movement sparked by the film Racing Extinction continues to inspire people.
With every compelling story we tell, I’m always asked, “What can I do to help? The issue seems so far away and I don’t know how to contribute.” We all have a role to play in closing ivory markets and stopping species extinction. I’m fortunate enough to contribute by producing films and campaigns to drive awareness about issues but we all need to be informed about the products we’re buying, and the bans and policies that can be put in place to stop the illegal trade and protecting the land these incredible creatures inhabit. I think people can start with personal action by simply learning and sharing the stories about the crisis. And each one of us can vote with our purchases every day.
We believe The Ivory Game will inspire you to take action beyond watching the film. This is a critical moment for elephant populations across Africa and they need broad support from individuals, policy makers, NGOs and governments to stop their dramatic declines and create a sustainable future.
To learn more about the film and actions you can take to help protect Africa’s elephants, visit TheIvoryGame.com