There are Still Wizards


TYPE
: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production

LOGLINE

Imagine a love story spanning 60 years, adventures greater than Indiana Jones, and a mission to save the species on this planet from certain extinction.

SYNOPSIS

Film Statement:

This film will look at the life achievements of Dr. Lee Talbot and his wife Marty, who arguably have had the SINGLE GREATEST impact on conservation across our planet to date. The story will be told through the eyes of Lee and Marty Talbot, colleagues, friends and family, in current time, as we weave through the history that was made (creating the most important conservation legislation and helping to secure the most critical protected areas on Earth). The story will be told as the Talbot’s recall their many incredible adventures (ranging from fighting off rebels to surviving attacks by lions), in the original locations (Africa, Asia and the USA), and as we follow them through what may be some of their last great achievements (they are in their mid 80’s but still working in remote locations to preserve species and habitats).

Purpose/Significance of this film:

Why make this film? The world NEEDS THIS STORY! First, it is very rare to find someone in science that is interesting, and then even more rare to find people who have made obvious impacts. Add to this, our characters provide outstanding and uncommon examples of making these differences through fair play, sensibility and empathy. With this film we can demonstrate that diplomacy (in conservation and beyond) CAN work in an age where many have only seen examples of strong-arm bully based tactics.

Second, the story we intend to tell involves a very important history that needs to be conveyed and preserved for the planet. The victories won by the films characters are seminal and EXTREMELY far reaching. They simply ARE the corner stones and foundation used to achieve conservation within the United States and globally (Lee Talbot was the author of the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species and the World Heritage Treaty). Now more than ever, we need inspiration to conserve, and also to protect the very laws under threat that Dr. Talbot helped to create.

Finally, this is a story of INCREDIBLE adventure while achieving conservation victories. Travelling across the planet, facing danger and uncertainty, this film will showcase the many amazing stories our characters went through within the larger story of their lives. These include surviving airplane crashes into the sea, lion attacks, and grenades, mines and bullets in multiple conflicts (e.g., the Mao Mao Uprising in Kenya and the Vietnam War). All taken on with an incredible sense of humor and good nature (e.g., When Marty was told Lee had gone down in an airplane, she simply said, “Well, if he survived then I am certain he enjoyed it.” Then she thought “If he isn’t alive…Now where am I going to get another one of those?!!”).

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Artisitic View:

As behavioral ecologists, we have spent years photographing and observing wildlife. Without realizing it, this was fantastic training for documentary filmmaking. Because we had spent so much time being quiet and observing what we were witnessing in detail, we developed a capacity to note intricacies in stories others might not see. Our attention of detail has also formed the basis of our aesthetic. We are drawn to film that allows thorough examination of the frame. We also prefer (probably because we love the outdoors) natural light when we can incorporate it.

Treatment Summary:

The story will be presented moving back and forth from historical (e.g., preserving the Serengeti in Africa, working for the Council of Environmental Quality at the White House under three presidents, and serving as Director General of the IUCN,) to the current (e.g., conducting conservation work in Laos). It will be told as we follow the Talbot’s across a couple of years, watching them live their lives now and allowing them to share their memories of the past in locations where events once occurred (e.g., Africa, Hong Kong, California and Washington DC).

KEY CREW

Jennifer Lewis - Producer

Jennifer is a trained biologist who began her career studying tropical dolphins. While this career was interesting and rewarding, Jennifer worried the impacts she wanted to make were not far reaching, and that her work was not significantly aiding conservation. After working for a summer as a naturalist for a BBC nature film crew, she became curious about the impact of film. She decided to get training to use this medium and set off to work on her first film (in post beyond rough cut stage, “Who Will Save the River Dolphin?” https://vimeo.com/141913552 ). Her interests in using stories through film to help promote conservation led her to return to school and she is currently working on a dissertation project to study this subject in more detail.

Muhammad Rahman - Producer
Muhammad has an extensive background in wildlife conservation, with a focus on aquatic ecology. It was during this work that he learned to master wildlife photography. Along with conservation and photography, he also has had a long-term interest in individual human stories, spending free time interviewing people from different perspectives while considering character development. He had an interest in film but being from Bangladesh, had never considered this to be a possible career avenue. At least until he met his now colleague Jennifer Lewis. Since that meeting he has moved to full time filmmaking, taking the things he had learned as a wildlife biologist and his amateur interests to fully develop his skills in video production and editing. His abilities as a filmmaker are heightened by his knack to invent, and to use that to enhance the films he creates.

 

Connect With The Filmmakers:

ACCOLADES

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IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2017
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Sponsorship by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
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In-kind support from the Intercontinental Hotels Group
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Private donations supporting film shoot for IUCN award (Oahu, Fall 2016)

 

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