The sweeping African landscapes that feature prominently in the film were captured on location in the extraordinary country of Gabon, where English conservationist and documentary filmmaker Josh Ponte has spent the last 15 years working to preserve the country’s wildlife. Ponte, who served as the African technical advisor on the film, has focused his efforts on stopping the illegal killing of the rare forest elephants that call Gabon home. In the last 30 years, ivory poaching has reduced the global forest elephant population by two thirds – and half of those that are left live in the Gabonese forest. Without action, even these could be gone in a decade.
On Twitter, Warner Bros. and Stop Ivory are participating in a “ReTweet for Good” campaign, with the studio making a donation to the organization for retweets of select Stop Ivory PSAs at designated times. Details will be available on Twitter and on the organization’s website.
Additionally, the Studio has created a featurette, entitled “From Gabon to the Big Screen,” which chronicles director David Yates’ journey with Ponte to capture the landscapes of Gabon for the film. It will bring viewers face-to-face with the beautiful animals they’ve joined forces to save. This video piece will open up the lush rainforests of Gabon and highlight the integral role forest elephants play in the ecological backbone of the region.
Finally, a limited number of movie-goers who see the film in international markets will receive a special plush elephant, signifying an additional donation has been made by Warner Bros. to the Stop Ivory campaign.
In 2001, Josh Ponte traveled to Gabon to live with 16 orphaned gorillas, which led to more than a decade of work in the region. He was part of the initial team that developed the national park network of Gabon, became a special advisor to its President, collected and archived to the music of its diverse population, and is a specialist in late C19 central African history. He was the consultant on history and culture to the director, producers, actors and art and costume departments, in addition to providing location services for the production. He is an advocate for the Gabon’s conservation efforts, an explorer with National Geographic, and a Director of Stop Ivory.