A select group of movie producers and lovers of the wild converged at the Sarit Centre Monday night for an exclusive screening of Disney Nature’s animal movie African Cats.
The 90-minute film which was co-written and directed by Keith Scholey, tells the stories of a broken-toothed lion called Fang whose pride was always embroiled in adventure, and Sita, a solitary cheetah that must fend for its five newly born cubs.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson does the narration; he reads that Fang is the only male in his pack. Leila is the oldest lioness in that pack and has one cub called Mara.
Leila is injured one time while protecting the pride from two adult lions (Kali & Son) that crossed the Mara River in search of a pride they can take over, and lionesses they could build a family with. With an ailing mother, the toughest hunter of the pack, Mara now has to learn to live with its aunt Malaika, who has cubs of her own to take care of before anything else.
Sita on the other hand fakes a threat to Kali and his sons, just to distract them from her cubs. However, Kali is not the only threat. Male cheetahs, female lions, and packs of hyenas seem determined to finish off Sita’s line, but she won’t take it lying down.
“It’s not really a documentary, but a film. It is based on the lives of various species of African Cats and closely follows how they live in the wild,” Scholey says.
It was shot in HD in Kenya’s biggest and most popular game reserve – the Maasai Mara. Disney was able to pan out and reveal the magnificent wildebeest migration and the natural weather conditions that prevail in the park all through the year.
In a film that took about two years to shoot, Scholey cleverly illustrates that life in the wild is complete. The ecosystem, from the rain, all the way to the smallest bird, is part of a bigger picture. The worries involved and the lives they live should most definitely not be endangered by the human race also.
“We wanted to raise awareness on endangered cats. 15 years ago there were 15,000 of them in Kenya, now there are only about 2,000,” Scholey adds.
To do this film, Disney Nature partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation, who receive part of the proceeds from the screenings and pump the funds into the preservation of a wildlife corridor between the Amboseli National Park and Tsavo West National Park.
“The film was released globally in April this year, showing in the US, as well as France, Germany and the UK. We’ve had thousands coming to watch it.”
Though the film will not open locally, Fox Theatres East Africa is offering to host group screenings.
“Anyone who wants to watch it can arrange for private screenings and we can also show it schools if requested,” according to the FOX E.A. Marketing Manager Maureen Nyanjong.
African Cats is an educative, comprehensive work of art, and a complete joy to watch. The music is conducted by Alistair King and recorded in Abbey Road Studios.