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12/03/2010

Born Free Documentary Marks Anniversary

Bristol-based factual producer Icon Films has been commissioned by BBC4 to produce a 1x60' historical documentary, The Born Free Legacy.
This will mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Joy Adamson's iconic book.
The one-off film tells the story of how what started out as an experiment by George and Joy Adamson, to see if they could bring up an orphaned lioness and release her back into the wild, turned into an international phenomenon.
The film also explores how Elsa's story changed the public's perception of wildlife and helped inspire a wave of conservationist movements.
The Adamsons weren't without their critics, particularly within the scientific community, which claimed they had humanized Elsa and attributed her with emotions and behaviour that animals simply weren't capable of.
From today's perspective, many conservationists see their approach as naïve, promoting the saving of individual charismatic animals and not the ecosystem in general.
The film features unique archive footage as well as interviews with top wildlife experts and George and Joy’s friends and associates. It takes a fresh look at the work of the Adamson’s and their legacy to the natural world.
Key contributors include Tony Fitzjohn, George Adamson's assistant 1971-86; Virginia McKenna, who played Joy Adamson in 1966 feature film of Born Free; Sir David Attenborough, who filmed the Adamson's with Elsa in 1961; and Dr Desmond Morris, the Zoologist and author who turned down the opportunity to publish Born Free.
Harry Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, Icon Films said: "For half a century the story of George and Joy Adamson has inspired countless individuals and groups to become active conservationists – their legacy cannot be underestimated.
"This film re-addresses their story, looking at it from the point of view of both admirers and critics. Icon has a long-standing portfolio of history story-telling and we're excited to be presenting a fresh, honest account of the Adamson saga."
Director Alex Parkinson added: "It's astonishing to think that as recently as 50 years ago most people thought wild animals couldn't have personalities.
"And that just two people and a lion cub in the wilds of Kenya helped to change the whole of the Western World's opinion about this and inspire a conservation movement."
This commission follows closely behind Icon Films' recent win at the RTS South of England awards, where they took home the award for Specialist Factual for their Flesh-Eating River Monster film.
(BMcC/GK)
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