Sunday, February 19, 2017


New children’s book illustrates personal story of Indigenous girl in 1920s Canada

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 2, 2017

I Am Not a Number

I Am Not a Number

Photos: Second Story Press

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D.'s interest in her family’s past and her commitment to teaching about Indigenous issues through literature drew her to co-write her first children’s book. It took her and Kathy Kacer three years to write I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, $18.95), the true and personal story of Irene Couchie Dupuis, her grandmother, who was taken from her Nipissing First Nation’s family and community at a young age to live in a residential school in the late 1920s in Canada. They wrote the easy to read lovingly illustrated book for school-age children (ages seven and up) to learn about the legacy of the Indian Residential School System (known as boarding schools in the United States). According to the author, it has also appealed to “educators (Grades 2-12), librarians, families, and community organizations interested in reading stories about true history, and supporting children and youth to develop critical literacy skills to engage in important, meaningful discussions about the injustices that have and are currently occurring to Indigenous peoples.” In it, they share her grandmother's story, including the hardships and verbal and corporal punishment she and other children endured at the hands of the nuns and within the system.

“When I was growing up, we didn’t talk much about the history and injustices in school programming,” Dupuis said by email when asked about the Nipissing First Nation. “I learned about my culture and community values, like having respect for myself and others, while working a part-time job (as a youth) at a local restaurant called the Teepee Café owned by Dot Beaucage-Kennedy. It was a place where everyone gathered, including storytellers, Elders/knowledge keepers, grandmothers/grandfathers, artists (traditional/contemporary), language speakers, and families. Times have changed. We are now seeing these opportunities expand into the school systems. I’m really proud of the opportunities that are emerging, especially for children and youth, that place an emphasis on historical/contemporary realities, culture, traditions, and values, including efforts to revitalize the Ojibwe language and culture.”

The 32-page hardcover book was published in 2016. Color illustrated by Gillian Newland the book also includes several black and white family photos. The people who were involved in the abuse were never punished, nor did they apologize for the wrongdoings in her granny’s case, Dupuis explained.  

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ph.D., I Am Not a Number

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D., co-author, I Am Not a Number

When asked why she wrote the book Dupuis replied, “Listening to the stories of my family and community history led me to write I Am Not a Number. My granny shared with me her story at a time when I felt that she wanted to share her truth. I held onto her story for years, waiting for the right time to share it. While I was working in the field of Indigenous education, I found there weren’t any children’s picture books that focused on the Residential School System through the lens of an Indigenous family. So I wanted to reach out to young people through storytelling and literature to ensure they hear true stories about the legacy of forced assimilation; where Indigenous children were taken from their families/home communities and sent to residential schools.

In addition, I also wanted to use literature as a means to encourage educators, families, and community groups to begin to facilitate deep conversations, with young people and each other, about the legislation and policies that have impacted (and still impact) Indigenous peoples. I’m really pleased at the response. So far, educators, community groups, and families have been in contact via social media sharing how they have used the book since its release. For instance, Luke Bramer, a performing arts teacher used the book to inspire his junior level/ freshman high school students to learn about the residential school system and create a puppet theatre performance, using breathing puppets to retell my granny’s story. Other teachers have been using activities like ‘role on the wall’ to introduce the topic of residential schools and begin to discuss topics like genocide, the impacts of colonialism, oppression, assimilation, etc. Families have read the book with their young children, going through a 'picture walk' to stimulate interest. Additionally, community organizations, like in Hamilton ON (Canada), are in the midst of hosting (grassroots-led) book launches and readings that also feature youth artwork and other learning inspired by the book I Am Not a Number.”  

Kathy Kacer, co-author, Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ph.D., I Am Not a Number

Kathy Kacer, co-author, I Am Not a Number

The Nipissing First Nation lives on the shores of Lake Nipissing in Northern Ontario, Canada. There is a registered band membership of approximately 2,500 persons with about 1,000  residing on reserve. Dupuis is of Anishinaabe and Ojibway ancestry and a member of Nipissing First Nation. The Toronto resident is an educator, researcher, artist, and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education.

Kacer is known for her children’s books about the Holocaust, including The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser and The Magician of Auschwitz. A former psychologist, she now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about her books. Newland works in watercolor, ink, and pencils. She finds most of her inspiration to draw outside of her studio, and can sometimes be found sketching fellow customers at a coffee shop. She is the illustrator of The Magician of Auschwitz among other books. All three women live in Toronto.

I Am Not a Number

Click to buy I Am Not a Number

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Listen to podcast with filmmaker Eliza Kubarska about her documentary Walking Under Water

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 9, 2017

Eliza Kubarska, filmmaker, Walking Under Water

Eliza Kubarska, filmmaker, Walking Under Water

Photo: David Kaszlikowski/Vertical Vision Film Studio

A podcast interview with filmmaker Eliza Kubarska is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, During the podcast, she discusses her film Walking on Water about the Badjao people in Borneo (available on the World Channel website: with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Eliza, a Polish alpinist and traveler, specializes in adventure film making and extreme location work. In 2007, she set up her own film company Vertical Vision Film Studio, where she produced her first multi-awarded feature documentary, What Happened on Pam Island, also known as Mountain Love Story. In 2014, Walking Under Water, her next documentary was awarded Hot Docs Jury Prize and John Schlesinger Award at Palm Springs Film Festival.

In her newest film K2 - Touching the Sky, Eliza, together with an international group of grown-up children of acclaimed mountain climbers, sets out on an expedition to reach K2 base camp, the burial place for those who lost their lives on K2 in the summer of 1986.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Eliza Kubarska” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the January 2017 section of the podcast archive.

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Tis the season for – adult coloring?

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 16, 2016

Inkspirations for Christmas Joy

Inkspirations for Christmas Joy

Photos: Health Communications, Inc.

Coloring for adults seem to be sweeping the nation and beyond. If the coloring bug bit you and your are looking for new themes the new additions from Health Communications, Inc. in Deerfield, Florida, all 72 pages, 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size, may interest you. Like Christmas? Inkspirations for Christmas Joy Festive Coloring Designs with DIY Gift Tags, Postcards, Wine Tags and More with original art by Kristin van Lieshout, an artist from Lynchburg, Virginia could be worth a look.

Kristin van Lieshout

Kristin van Lieshout

Inkspirations for Women

Inkspirations for women

Inkspirations for a happy heart

Inkspirations for a happy heart

Inkspirations for Women Color Your World Happy 30 Inspiring Designs to Nourish Your Heart and Renew Your Spirit by author Marci Shimoff with original art by Judy Clement Wall (see Author, artist team up on coloring book for women) might be just what you seek for an inspirational and affordable holiday gift. Want to cheer yourself up?

Anna Carey Beth Logan Diane Yi

Anna Carey, Beth Logan, and Diane Yi

Inkspirations for a Happy Heart Inspiring Coloring Designs to Lift Your Spirit and Feed Your Soul features original art by Diane Yi, who draws her inspiration from nature, beauty, and the sacredness of the human spirit. According to her biography, her work is in private collections worldwide. She lives near Kansas City with her husband and two dogs.

Inkspirations animal kingdom

Inkspirations animal kingdom

Inkspirations in the garden

Inkspirations in the garden

Inkspirations Animal Kingdom Captivating Coloring Designs Celebrating the Majesty of Animals with original art by Anna N. Carey features 32 original designs. Carey has combined her love of animals and her talent as an artist with her passion as an educator. An elementary art specialist she founded Paisley & Hazel Designs, named in honor of her two canine companions.

Like plants? Inkspirations in the Garden Fabulous Floral Coloring Designs Celebrating Life in Full Bloom with original art by Beth Logan may be for you. It includes wildflowers, rose bushes, cottages and gazebos, and a mix of easy designs along with elaborate pages. According to a company representative, the top selling titles from the series are: Fruit of the Spirit, for Women, Recovery, and Animal Kingdom.

Click to buy 

Inkspirations for Christmas Joy

Christmas Joy

Inkspirations for Women

For Women

Inkspirations for a happy heart

For a Happy Heart

Inkspirations animal kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Inkspirations in the garden

In the Garden

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Listen to podcast with Ronaldo Linares, author, Sabores De Cuba about his cuisine

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 28, 2016

Ronaldo Linares, author, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores De Cuba

Ronaldo Linares, author, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores De Cuba

Photo: Dalyn Miller Public Relations

A podcast interview with Ronaldo Linares, author, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores De Cuba (see American Diabetes Association releases diabetes friendly Cuban recipe book), is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, During the podcast, he discusses his cuisine with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Ronaldo is a Cuban, Colombian, American, salsa-dancing, mixed martial arts-fighting, Cross Fit training, former U.S. Marine, classically trained chef and restaurateur living his dream. Born in Colombia during the turbulent Cartel wars of the 1980s, cooking has been the main ingredient in Ronaldo’s journey from young immigrant to rebellious teen to successful chef and media personality.

Ronaldo has showcased his Cuban-inspired, passion-infused culinary style on Food Network’s Chopped, BBC America’s cross-country chef competition Chef Race, and appearances on Better TV, Fox News and Telemundo. When not in the kitchen, Ronaldo is active in the community, speaking to schools, youth groups and corporations about his life's journey and healthy living.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Ronaldo Linares” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the November 2016 section of the podcast archive.

Chef Ronaldo's sabores de Cuba

Click to buy Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba

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Listen to podcast with Shirley Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 17, 2016

Shirley A. Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes

Shirley A. Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes

Photo: Shirley A. Aaron

A podcast interview with Shirley A. Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, During the podcast, she discusses racism and her book with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Shirley is a retired Alabama teacher and Georgia media specialist, with 42 years of experience in education. She attended college after her son and daughter were born, achieving a degree in education in order to teach important values through literature. In 2007, she was widowed when her husband Charles O. Aaron passed away from cancer. She is also the author of <em>Drops of Light</em>, a book of poetry, and <i>Sweet Tea with Lemon</i>, due to be published in 2017.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Shirley Aaron” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the October 2016 section of the podcast archive.


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With video – Public television targets viewers under 40 with international non fiction storytelling films

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 28, 2016

Touching the Light

Touching the Light (Tocando La Luz)

Photo, videos: Doc World, World Channel

Hoping to reach a diverse, young audience under 40, on September 18, 2016 Doc World, a new showcase of non-fiction storytelling from around the globe, launched a selection of 11 international documentaries. The series kicked off with the world premier of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor. The staff at Doc World selected each film to serve as “a vignette of personal stories and the struggles of different cultures and societies.” Doc World is brought to viewers by World Channel, public television's nonfiction, news and documentary programming. Scroll down to watch two video clips about the series.

Produced by award-winning filmmaker Arthur S. Dong, the The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor tells the story of Haing Ngor, one of the most recognized survivors of the Cambodian genocide and a man who became a worldwide ambassador for justice in his homeland, only to be murdered in a Los Angeles Chinatown alley. The film was based on Ngor's autobiography and produced in a mix of animation and live action. All the films in the program will also stream at a later date, and another 10 films are scheduled to become available online later this year. Additional information on the Doc World series may be found at 

Chris Hastings, executive producer and creative director, World Channel

Chris Hastings, executive producer, World Channel

“The stories we choose are focused primarily outside the United States,” said Chris Hastings, executive producer and creative director, World Channel when asked how the films were selected for inclusion. “That’s the main criteria for Doc World: the films take place outside the U.S. and tell a unique story about person, place, history or event that highlight communities Americans would not normally see. To be selected, the films first have to be great stories that are told in creative way and deal with an array of compelling themes (history, social issues, environment). We find the films for Doc World in few ways, starting with our partners in the U.S. that include ITVS, Center for Asian American Media, National Black Programming Consortia, and others who are actively funding and looking for films.”

Other documentaries in the series include: Tocando La Luz, World Premiere September 25; Five Days to Dance, October 2; Kismet, October 9;  Among the Believers, October 16; Waiting for August, October 23; My Atomic Aunt, October 30; A Goat for a Vote, November 6; Tashi's Turbine,November 13; Prize of the Pole, November 20; and Walking Under Water, November 27. All, except Among the Believers and the first two films, will be airing in the U.S. for the first time.

Hasting's team attend international festivals like HotDocs in Canada and Sheffield Doc Festival in England to screen and meet with filmmakers to solicit submissions; are in contact with distributors like First Hand Films in Switzerland and Rise and Shine Media in Germany; and receive suggestions from public television channels, like the BBC and The Why Foundation in Denmark.

“It’s been amazing to see how many films that are out all over the world—and are great stories—which have not broadcast in the United States,” Hastings said by email via a publicist. “We are so grateful for what we found thus far. Our team at World is small but very diverse and with our partners we select the films for Doc World together.” When asked what the Doc World budget is he said, “Both Doc World and World Channel are funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

About Doc World

About Tocando La Luz

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Caribbean themed film festival to launch this month

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 14, 2016

Third Horizon Film Festival poster

Third Horizon Film Festival

Image: Third Horizon Film Festival

This fall Miami, Florida movie lovers will have Caribbean themed film options during the first Third Horizon Film Festival. Thanks to funding from The Miami Foundation and the Knight Foundation (the festival was winner of the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge) between September 29 and October 2, 2016 the festival will showcase the work of Caribbean filmmakers at O Cinema, Wynwood, 90 NW 29 street, Miami, Florida 33127. Plans are in place to highlight eight full length features and a few short films.

“The Third Horizon Caribbean Film Festival aims to celebrate and empower filmmakers from the Caribbean and its diaspora,” said Donnamarie Baptiste, a consultant to the festival, by email. “With the democratization of filmmaking, the barriers to making a film have become less prohibitive. The festival aims to seize this moment to connect promising Caribbean filmmakers with the resources and opportunities they need to take their films to the world.”

When asked about the selection of films Baptiste said, “First and foremost, we're looking for films that have relevance to the people of the Caribbean. To that end, we're focused primarily on filmmakers from the Caribbean or of Caribbean parentage who live outside of the region. That said, in an effort to encourage filmmakers outside of the region to set their films in the Caribbean, we do consider films by non-Caribbean filmmakers based on their relevance to the region.”

The festival's line-up of movies is selected by a committee appointed by the festival, comprised of Jonathan Ali, Romola Lucas, Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Keisha Rae Witherspoon and Robert Sawyer. Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Keisha Rae Witherspoon and Robert Sawyer are co-founders of the festival. A spokesperson declined to identify a budget or staff numbers.

"The name Third Horizon comes from a feeling that popular entertainment is not diverse enough, and that every child should see themselves reflected in what is considered global entertainment," said Fitzroy Jeffers, who is also executive director, from Barbados via a spokesperson, when asked about the meaning of the festival name. "Growing up I felt I was less than because of the color of my skin, and believed I was from the 'Third World'-although we know that the 'first world' is powered by the blood, sweat and tears from the 'third world.' So Third Horizon is that moment and space where the stories, sounds and visions of the so called 'third world' find the support, audience, funding and distribution needed to give us equity.”

Full length films scheduled include: Ayiti Mon Amour, Memories of a Penitent Heart, Generation Revolution, The House on Coco Road, God Loves the Fighter, The Stuart Hall Project, Pressure and Crumbs; and shorts include: ABCs, Alto Vista, Antiman, Auntie, Doubles with Slight Pepper, Field Notes: An Unexpected Journey, Mommy Water, Parish Bull, and Short Drop.

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With video – Indie film explores life in LA, unlikely friendship

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 10, 2016

Soledad poster

Soledad poster

Photos, video: Candy Factory Films

Soledad, a suspenseful, soulful 95-minute indie drama released in theaters July 26, 2016 features a world-weary ex-con limo driver and a high school couple he's driving to their prom in Los Angeles. The work of first-time writer-directors Eduardo Maytorena and Wayne Mitchell the film received the Grand Jury Prize Runner-Up at the 2015 Dances with Films Festival, and was an Official Selection at the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and the 31 Chicago Latino Film Festival. Soledad, a Candy Factory Films movie, was released via VOD (video on demand) and digital HD on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Scroll down to watch a video clip.
In the film, Victor (Jesse Celedon), a lonely, Latino limousine driver lives a solitary existence: lifting weights in his small apartment, saying silent grace over breakfast, and enduring the disrespect of his clients night after night. One evening, after defending Raquel (Montanna Gillis, The Vatican Tapes, Don Peyote), his well-off passenger, from being assaulted by her prom date, Victor's simple act of compassion sets off a series of events destined to bring back a past he has fought desperately to escape. The film takes viewers on a meandering and sometimes violent road trip with sexual situations (no nudity), through the city of Angels focusing on the unlikely friendship between Victor and Raquel.

A scene from Soledad

A scene from Soledad

Soledad was shot over 17 days between January and April of 2014, mostly in Downtown Los Angeles, Silverlake, Echo Park, Pico Rivera, Glendale, and Mission Hills, with a budget of $120,000. In 2015, it toured U.S. and international film festivals.

“We never shot more than three nights in a row since we could only afford to use the limo on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, (Weekend rates were too steep), ” said Mayortena by email through the film's publicist when asked about the making of the movie. “Post production lasted 10-12 months as we continued to make changes up to our delivery to the distributor.”

When asked about funding for the movie, Mayortena replied, “I work at a Spanish radio station as a creative sales director. I shared my vision of Soledad with one of my clients Douglas Bravo and he was intrigued.  After a few more conversations he agreed to give us the money on two conditions. One was that we (myself, writing directing partner Wayne Mitchell  and lead actor Jesse Celedon) invest our own money in the film so his investment was protected. The second was to take our vision of a short film and grow it to a feature so there would be an opportunity to see some return on investment. We are very blessed and grateful to Douglas for challenging us to dream bigger.”

Candy Factory Films, founded by Jason Ward, strives to be a “forward-thinking, filmmaker-friendly multimedia company dedicated to producing and distributing high impact, unique and compelling films.”

Soledad poster

Click to buy Soledad

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Author, artist team up on coloring book for women

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 22, 2016

Inkspirations for Women

Inkspirations for Women

Photos: Health Communications

Coloring books for adults seem to be popping up everywhere lately. According to one source, in 2015, half the bestsellers on Amazon were adult coloring books (see Science-Backed Reasons To Add Coloring To Your Self-Care Practice by Judy Clement Wall Studies indicate a brief period of art making can reduce anxiety. Some believe coloring makes people better thinkers and helps them to focus effectively.

So when information about a new coloring book arrived in my inbox I decided to take a look. Inkspirations For Women Color Your World Happy – Inspiring Designs to Nourish Your Heart and Renew Your Spirit (Health Communications, Inc. $19.95), the result of a collaboration between Marci Shimoff, author, Happy for No Reason, (see Listen to podcast interview with Marci Shimoff, author, Happy for No Reason about finding happiness) and Judy Clement Wall, a freelance artist, illustrator, and writer, is a softcover publication designed to be completed by coloring aficionado buyers. The project, which features 30 intricate designs of flowers, fauna and meditative mandalas, required four months from conception to publication.

Marci Shimoff

Marci Shimoff

“The idea to do an Inkspirations For Women book came about while I was illustrating HCI Books' first coloring book, Inkspirations For Recovery, which is a book specifically designed for people using the Twelve-Step principles,” said Clement Wall by email when asked how she had become involved with the project. “We wanted to do another positive, uplifting book designed to inspire and encourage women.”

She and Shimoff, a New York Times Bestselling author, had worked together on other books through their publisher, HCI Books. When asked who might like the book, she said, “I think all women would like it. The illustrations are detailed, but not too complicated - just right for exploring your creativity, unwinding, and focusing inward in a really comfortable, fun way. The quotes and mantras are very inspiring, centered around the subjects of love, hope, dreams, gratitude, and self-belief.”

Judy Clement Wall, illustrator, Inkspirations for Women

Judy Clement Wall, illustrator, Inkspirations for Women

The biggest challenges to writing, illustrating and publishing the coloring book the illustrator said were, “Learning how to draw for coloring. It's a different kind of illustration. When I draw with the intention of my art being colored, I absolutely have the colorist in mind. I think of the finished pieces as collaborations. Often people post their colored pages to my Facebook wall, and I love seeing them.”

The book includes inspiring quotes and motivating mantras from Shimoff on love, hope, gratitude, and dreaming big. It also has an artist how-to section on customizing the art, thick stock paper compatible with colored pencils, markers, or watercolors, and perforated pages to encourage framing or sharing finished pieces.

Clement Wall is working on two more coloring books for HCI and a book of colorable postcards, to be released later this year. Shimoff is also author of Love for No Reason, co-authored six titles in the Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul series, and is a featured teacher in The Secret. She did not respond to questions for this note. The publisher is planning several more books in the Inkspirations series by different illustrators.

Inkspirations for Women

Click to buy Inkspirations for Women

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Documentary film explores interaction between humans and endangered Asian elephants

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 6, 2016

When Elephants Were Young

When Elephants Were Young

Photos, video: canazwest pictures

Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims cares about endangered Asian elephants, a great deal. She and her collaborators dedicated five years to filming elephants and elephant handlers in Thailand at the end of which they produced When Elephants Were Young, an 86-minute documentary narrated by actor William Shatner. The film, in English and Thai with subtitles, will show at 5:30 p.m. April 8 at the Cinemark Palace, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton, and 12 noon April 13 at the Parisian 17, 545 Hibiscus St, West Palm Beach, as part of the Palm Beach International Film Festival in Palm Beach County, Florida.Scroll down to watch a trailer of the film.

Patricia Sims and Michael Clark

Patricia Sims and Michael Clark dedicated five years to the project

The film follows Wok, a young man, and Nong Mai, his young captive elephant, in their struggle to make a living begging on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. When the opportunity arises to release Nong Mai to the forest Wok must decide, torn between his affection for the elephant who is also his only source of income, what is best. Can an elephant who has only known a life of captivity survive in the wild? The film zooms into the daily lives of its protagonists, examining the paradoxes of elephants in captivity.

According to Sims, When Elephants Were Young will appear in theaters across North America on World Elephant Day, August 12, 2016. Theater listings should be available in June. Around that same time it should become available globally on various video on demand platforms such as iTunes and Amazon. In Canada, it is slated for broadcast on the CBC Documentary Channel in fall 2016.

When Elephants Were Young

Asian elephants in Thailand from the film When Elephants Were Young

“There were many, many challenges, as is often the case with independent documentary filmmaking!” Sims said by email when asked about the biggest challenge she faced in the making of the film. “For sure, funding was a big challenge, and continues to be so even for this release stage of the film. There are many costs required to release our film, or any film, to the public. Often people are surprised to learn what is involved in the distribution stage for independent film, and what it takes to get a film out to the world.”

Patricia Sims and William Shatner

Patricia Sims, director, and William Shatner, narrator, When Elephants Were Young

The film's budget was under one million dollars. Sims relied on “a combination of self-funding, crowd-funding, and private funding and a lot of in-kind support from many generous people who wanted to help us tell this story, and support the elephant cause.”

When asked about the rewards and surprises along the filmmaking journey, she replied, "We’ve had many amazing surprises and rewards with this film! Unfortunately, I can’t mention what they are here because it will ruin the ending of the film’s story. People will have to watch the film to see what our biggest surprises and rewards have been!”

Sims was director and producer and she co-wrote the documentary with Michael Clark. She has a passion for large-brained megafauna such as dolphins, primates, and elephants. She and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation launched World Elephant Day on August 12, 2012.

As technology activist, cinematographer, and editor, Clark has employed his talents to portray the interconnectivity of life on this planet. He has won international awards for his work and his credits range from documentaries to episodic television, commercial and feature film productions. He seeks “to use digital and traditional media to inspire awareness, awe, and action for a mirthful, sustainable future.”

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