The World Premiere of the documentary "Operation Jumbo" took place on Tuesday, May 2, 2006, at Bali's Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel before an appreciative audience of 300 local residents and VIPs, including Pamela Stephenson - the wife of actor/comedian Billy Connelly, currently in Bali on a cruise with her private yacht.
The 55 minute film, made by Threefold Films and directed by Sydney filmmaker Brad Cone, tells a moving story of the struggle to rescue 10 Sumatran elephants and bring them to their new home – an idyllic sanctuary near Taro, in Bali. "Operation Jumbo" follows the story of Australian Nigel Mason's struggle with bureaucracy against a background of Bali's ongoing post-bombing problems and the resulting downturn in tourism.
The ten elephants were rescued from various areas of Sumatra where they had been driven out of their traditional jungle homes by the pressures of illegal logging and irate village people trying to protect their crops. Eventually captured by the forestry department, the elephants became refugees in "camps" indefinitely held with no hope of ever returning to their forest habitats. Lacking the funds to properly care and feed for the animals, without outside intervention the small herd faced a bleak and, in all probability, brutally truncated future.
The film relates the story of the 3,000 kilometer journey of the elephants on a convoy of trucks and support vehicles from Riau Province in Central Sumatra, across three islands, and the numerous dramas that threatened the endeavor along the way including, water and food shortages, mechanical breakdowns, internal conflicts, and stabilizing the condition of ten extremely unhealthy elephants. However, Nigel Mason and his dedicated team eventually manage to overcome all adversities making a triumphal homecoming arrival at Mason's Elephant Safari Park, set in peaceful hills north of Ubud, in Bali.
An emotional journey, the film portrays the lives of Nigel Mason and his Park Manager, Dedi Ramlan, showing the determination of the two men to turn disaster into triumph.
At the end of the film, when the crew and elephants finally arrive at the Park, the joy of both the people and animals in the epic journey is movingly palpable.
Recently shown at the Cannes Film Festival the documentary was very well received with more than 20 networks from more than a dozen countries expressing an interest in showing the film. The film has also been nominated for a PANDA award.
The film will soon be available on DVD for the general public. For more information contact Rick Bolt at Bali Adventure Tours at telephone ++62-(0)361-721480.
|Photos from 'Operation Jumbo' (Click to Enlarge)
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