Oscar-Nominated 'The Elephant Whisperers' Inspires Fan Art Globally! - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Oscar-Nominated 'The Elephant Whisperers' Inspires Fan Art Globally!

'The Elephant Whisperers' fan art. Courtesy photo

Additional reporting by Lapacazo Sandoval

Kartiki Gonsalves. Courtesy Photo
At the USC IMAX screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary short, "The Elephant Whisperers," director Kartiki Gonsalves, producer Guneet Monga, and executive producer and co-editor Doug Blush, who is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the university, discussed some of the challenges and joys of making the short film, short.

Over 450 hours of footage were captured, but the trick was trimming it down, and Gonsalves was focused on keeping the story's heart at the forefront. Despite having interviews with scientists and other experts on the issues swirling around climate change and animal protection and conservation, the gifted director and her team stood firm. Looming from the giant IMAX screen, the end result is a moving film that, unless you have a stone as a heart, will make you feel deeply and think about the connectivity of us all.

As the director, Gonsalves, said so eloquently: "We all live under the same sun, moon, and stars."

To that end, there should be no surprise that the Oscar-nominated short doc is receiving such an outpouring of love worldwide, with young fans sending in fan art and letters expressing their deep appreciation via social media and direct emails to the filmmakers.

Just like the endangered Indian elephant has the strength and commitment of a team caring for them - "The Elephant Whisperers" has a similar team of dedicated, skilled, and wonderfully kind people helping it as well.

One of those people includes producer Guneet Monga ("The Lunchbox"), the founder of Sikhya Entertainment. This boutique film production house produced notable films like "Gangs of Wasseypur" franchise, "Peddlers," 'The Lunchbox," "Masaan," "Zubaan," and "Pagglait." She's also one of the first producers from India to be inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"The Elephant Whisperers" follows a couple, Bomman and Bellie, who devote their lives to caring for an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu.

Monga told the crowd: "We always knew the film was special, but to see it have such an immense impact, especially on young minds, makes this whole experience even more meaningful. To see kids as young as two watch this as their first film, and thousands submitting their fan art to us, has really moved us as a team."

Doug Blush (co-executive producer and co-editor) said: "I've been a part of over two hundred non-fiction films and series – and this is the first one ever to get actual fan art."

Gonsalves added: "Seeing these beautiful tributes means to me that the film did what I always hoped. There's a bond between ourselves and the natural world, and I hope that a new generation is falling in love with these endangered animals."

Voting for the 2023 Academy Award ends today, Tuesday, March 2, 2023. The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, on Sunday, March 12, 2023, and televised globally on ABC Networks. 

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