‘Flying Elephants – A Mother’s Hope’, a short film narrated in Betta Kuruba tribal language, in the voice of a mother elephant, is part of the inaugural Official Selection Programme at the Wildscreen Film Festival 2020.

The film is supported by the Centre for Wildlife Studies and Saving Nature. A release said the film was picked as one of 18 short films from hundreds of submissions from more than 40 countries. The film took about two years to make and is six minutes long. It depicts how human interventions such as forest fragmentation and wildlife trade have disrupted the movement and lives of elephants, the release added.

“Flying Elephants, told through the eyes of a mother elephant, pits their glorious past against this century’s reality of survival in the Anthropocene, where elephant habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate. With this film, it has been my mission to shed light on these sensitive, emotional, and socially intelligent creatures that rightfully deserve their natural world,” said Prakash Matada, the director of the film.

Aditi Rajagopal, the writer of the film, told The Hindu that documentaries based on India and Indian wildlife are often told through a western lens. “We wanted to bring out some of the wealth of ancient Indian storytelling through the film, but within the context of what is happening to our forests and its animals today. We used a scripted narrative style, told through the voice of a betta kuruba woman, because tribes in India are extremely under represented in art in the country, though they have some of the oldest and most beautiful traditions and still pass down their ancient wisdom through oral stories told to their children,” she added.

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