“Tigerland” by Academy Award-winning director "Born Into Brothels" Ross Kauffman is a documentary film both entertaining and illuminating. It's a veritable history lesson of efforts past and present to conserve our fierce saffron and black striped cohabitants in Russia and India where their primary native habitats still exist. Butting up against the 'civilized world' the allure of these imperiled tawny creatures remains strong. Whether on a hunt, crouching and slinking in camouflage, or lolling about in an open field at rest, they excite. Though not a biology lesson about the species, it does highlight the strange bedfellows/odd couple aspects of life on Mother Earth.
Tigers are the subject of myths and folktales, poetry and art. But what a shame if that's only where they roamed free. Here in Los Angeles, California, where I live we have a similar challenge with the noble Bobcat, which all too often die of rat poison or freeway accidents. And yet every spring it seems there's a new litter of kittens born in the Santa Monica Mountains that we root for. Up until about a half century ago, wild and domestic animals existed in concert with humanity. Increasingly we must accept that sentient beings, very different in most ways, possess the right to be in complex relationships with the one world we share.
One of the featured conservationists/activists, Pavel Fomenko of Siberia, calls tigers, "beautiful killing machines," a fitting moniker at times for humans too. "Tigerland" makes the case that bagging exotic animals exacerbates their dicey existence as it diminishes the quality of life for humans. Herein lies the tension; when tigers and humans live in too close proximity, people in general and specifically small children and domesticated animals, are threatened. The goal is to coordinate efforts to coexist with these 'others.' A review by the Sundance Film Institute, which helped birth this film into being, is well balanced and informative in this regard.
“Our Rendezvous with Destiny” - Discovery CEO Presents TIGERLAND on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
From ICCFoundation Group: Over the last century, tiger populations have declined by nearly 97 percent. Across 13 countries in Asia, habitat destruction and poaching for traditional medicine and exotic trade items continue to jeopardize the survival of this species threatened with extinction. Just days before the film’s premiere on Discovery Channel, ICCF and Discovery partnered to present TIGERLAND, a documentary following the people on the front lines trying to save tigers from extinction. Discovery CEO David Zaslav introduced the film.
Zaslav recalled a conversation about The Greatest Generation, sharing, “We talked about Discovery, as being not just a media company but a purpose-driven company. And that the issue for our generation, our rendezvous with destiny, is to fight this issue of animal extinction.”
An educational video from Project Tiger featured in "Tigerland"
Another serious review of TIGERLAND from Red Carpet Crash: "Academy Award-winning Director Ross Kauffman’s Tigerland is a look at preservation efforts in Russia and India, two of the big cats’ primary territories. Joining Kauffman as a producer is Oscar-winner Fisher Stevens (The Cove) who is no stranger to moving nature documentaries.
After making its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Tigerland will be available in theaters March 22nd in Los Angeles and on the 29th in New York. If you don’t live in either of the two largest cities in the United States, you can Watch Tigerland on the Discovery Go app starting March 23rd or watch the global premiere on the network March 30th.
A century ago an estimated 100,000 tigers were roaming all across Asia, now, there are maybe 4,500. Tigers are the subject of legends, poetry, art and have always been a symbol of strength and virility. Leading to them being revered, hunted for displays of bravery, and being farmed for therapeutic treatments that still linger in the more rural parts of the continent. Half a century ago a young forest officer Kailash Sankhala “Tiger Man of India,” dedicated his life to tigers and rallied the world to his cause. Today the effort is being led by Pavel Fomenko in Russia, as well as the Tiger Project in India lead by Amit Sankhala and Jai Bhati, the grandson, and great-grandson of Sankhala.
The film is a beautiful blend of contemporary and archival footage and as well as a few animated sequences. The three forms come together to share two parallel stories. The dominant narrative is that of Fomenko and the work his team is doing in the Far East of Russia to save Siberian tigers. The interstitial story is about Sankhala and his descendants. While there is warmth to be found in the dream of Jai to be just like his great-grandfather, there is very little narrative meat on the bones of that story. Fomenko’s story, on the other hand, is full of emotion and agency."
"Born into Brothels" brought director Ross Kauffman into the limelight as a serious voice in the world of documentary film making.
Tara Fass, LMFT #35078, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She treats adults and couples dealing with a broad range of issues from navigating the legacy of divorce in one's life, to the quarter life crisis and conscious aging. Together we attempt to make meaning [...]