Naledi: A Baby Elephant's Tale

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USA | 2016 | 90 minutes | Ben Bowie, Geoff Luck

June 18, 2016

SIFF Cinema Uptown | Best of SIFF 2016
More than a nature documentary, this tale of an orphaned baby elephant growing up in a Botswana rescue camp who does everything she can to survive against the odds is loaded with edge-of-your-seat moments, eye-opening information, and adorable animal footage.

After nearly two years of pregnancy, Kiti, an 18-year-old elephant living at a Botswana elephant rescue camp, is about to give birth. A film crew gathers to witness the rarely filmed event, and when the calf is finally born under the dazzling night sky, she's named Naledi—the South African word for star. The Abu Camp takes care of several elephants in a natural setting, with the intent of reintroducing them back into the wild when, and if, they're ready. The herd is hit with tragedy when Kiti suddenly passes from intestinal problems, leaving one-month-old Naledi an orphan. In order to feed and survive in these first crucial months, the baby elephant is separated from her family and must now depend on her two human guardians to guide her. Balancing intensely dramatic moments with goofy scenes of elephants playing around, and infused with captivating shots of the African savanna, Naledi is more than just another nature documentary. The film really fleshes out the unique personalities of these fantastic creatures, and the specific emotional journey of Naledi the orphaned calf serves as an emblem of the violent fight for survival the rest of Africa's wilting population of elephants face.

Dr. Mike Chase - Elephants Without Borders

As the founder of Elephants Without Borders, Dr. Mike Chase has been studying the ecology of elephants in Botswana for nearly 15 years. Working with Paul Allen, he conceptualized the Great Elephant Census and is serving as the survey's principal investigator. Eager to conserve Africa's wildlife and wild places, Dr. Chase operates a research station at Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta and believes that through science, innovation and collaboration, we can conquer the insurmountable and help change the trajectory for elephants.

Director Biography

Ben Bowie is a writer and director who has conceived and created programming for PBS, National Geographic, and the BBC. He co-wrote the 2014 documentary feature Hawking, which was featured at SXSW.

Geoff Luck graduated with degrees in filmmaking from Harvard and the San Francisco Art Institute. He has directed, shot, and produced content for National Geographic Television, PBS, Discovery, and the Sundance Channel. He currently resides in Amsterdam.

  • Director: Ben Bowie, Geoff Luck
  • Country: USA, Botswana
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature FIlm
  • Language: English