My friend and talented wildlife photographer Carol Stevenson is planning a documentary about the Asian elephants and the mahout culture surrounding them. The mahouts and their families care for the elephants throughout their lives. Unfortunately, the Thai elephant population has experienced a sharp decline due to loss of habitat and forestry bans. Through the production of a documentary film, a gallery of fine art photography and a book Carol intends to create long-term funding streams to help the survival of these wonderful creatures.
The film will also explore the story of the Elephant Spirit Men, which has never been told. For centuries, they have provided the spiritual elements of the elephant/human bond amongst the Kui people. Sadly, there are only five elderly Spirit Men remaining and this irreplaceable piece of Thai cultural history will soon be lost forever. Documenting their work and beliefs through Carol's film should prove to be a priceless resource for historians as well as future generations.
Carol has appointed nine individuals to serve as Elephant Ambassadors and I'm very honored to be among those chosen to assist with this project.The hope is that this film could bring much needed attention to the dire situation of the Asian elephant population and the people who sacrifice greatly for their care.
To that end, Carol has created a Kickstarter site to raise funds for the costs in making the documentary. To date, Carol has donated her own funds, time, expertise, and equipment. However, in January she will need to travel to Thailand for additional filming. This is where the additional funding is needed. A very talented videographer has graciously donated his time and talent but additional funding is still urgently needed.
If you would like to pledge, here's the link to the Kickstarter site: Elephant Spirits Kickstarter Site
The project is in collaboration with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, Thailand (www.helpingelephants.org). GTAEF is a refuge for 30 elephants and their mahouts in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand.
Please visit www.elephanteditions.com and www.fridaysfilms.com to meet the artists and appreciate their work. In fact, our lead-in video was produced by Tim, and features Carol at work.
The photography project has increasing awareness worldwide and been featured by companies such as Nikon USA, Lowepro, Equestrio magazine, liveBooks, LightSource SF, Anantara Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels and a number of supporting partners who have all promoted the photographic series and its cause.
The full story of our project is available at www.carolstevenson.wordpress.com
Donations will go directly to fund travel, accommodations, production assistants, supplies and post-production costs. Kickstarter is unique because someone can donate any size amount ($1 is the minimum), with the idea being that the funds will hopefully add up to the goal of $7500. We currently have funding pledges of $2,260 with 22 days to go until the funding deadline. When you pledge, you enter the amount you'd like to pledge but you pay nothing that day. You only pay the amount you pledge when the goal is reached. If the deadline arrives and the $7500 goal is not reached, those who have pledged pay nothing.
Of course, we hope that won't be the case since the funding is needed to complete the project.
Please consider pledging today - any amount will be very much appreciated. Thank you for your support of the Asian elephants!