The premier of the third installment of “Kat Kramer’s Films That Change the World”—entitled “Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy”—was attended by many A-list celebrities on Jan. 20 at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood. Among those in attendance were Cher, Lily Tomlin, Billy Bob Thornton, Paula Poundstone and more.
Directed by Jane Kropinski and executive produced by Maya Kaplan, “Elephants” is a documentary that examines the brutal treatment of elephants in graphic and realistic detail. The film spans through the times of Thomas Edison’s painful electrocution of these animals for his experiments to modern day when elephants are still mistreated in circuses and zoos, holding them in captivity.
Kaplan is the founder of the nonprofit organization Voice for the Animals Foundation, and her documentary explains her viewpoint that these zoos and circuses do not know how to rightfully take care of these kinds of animals.
Many celebrities are lending their name to the cause, and the Host Committee for the premiere of the film includes: 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.
Those in attendance of the film screening also included, Tippi Hedren, 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.”
Kat Kramer founded the film series in 2009. The series is released under KnK Productions Inc., and it is being used to demonstrate her thoughts and feelings towards these types of social issues. The first two films she screened for the series were “Yentl,” starring Barbara Streisand and last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, “The Cove.”
Kat’s father Stanley Kramer was no stranger to socially conscious films, known for his work with “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “On the Beach” and “Bless the Beasts and the Children.”
The showing of “Elephants and Man” came at a pivotal point in the Los Angeles community, as the Los Angeles Zoo recently opened a new elephant exhibit costing $42 million, allocating three of the six acres to guests of the park and not the animals. The previous smaller elephant exhibit was under fire for several years as 14 elephants had died while in captivity there.
“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.”
For more information, visit the Voice for the Animals official site at www.vftafoundation.org.
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Written by Mandy Rodgers