You’ve probably seen the Hollywood-produced film about humans helping animals, Dolphin Tale, starring Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. It was heartwarming, uplifting and based on an actual story … it did well at the box office and everyone came away from the experience feeling better about themselves.
The actors were players in a movie; they did a great job … and moved on. Except one of them, that would be Ashley Judd, who actually uses her celebrity in support of causes related to animals that she truly believes in … which leads us to the Feb. 26 DVD release announcement this week from FilmWorks Entertainment, The Eyes of Thailand.
Narrated by Judd, this award-winning documentary from filmmaker Windy Borman is an intimate — and tear-inducing — look at the horrors experienced by elephants in Thailand who have been maimed by landmines (plus knife and gunshot wounds … broken bones, etc.) and the heroic efforts of Soraida Salwala and her Asian Elephant Hospital to nurse these noble animals back to health.
Since 1993, Salwala, her dedicated staff and The Friends of Asian Elephants (FAE) have provided treatment to over 3,000 elephants — they have become their voice; their saviors.
The film zeroes in on two specific cases — Motala, one of Salawala’s most difficult (and rewarding) challenges (losing a leg in 1999), and the young Mosha (a seven-month old baby) — both victims of landmines.
|Soraida Salwala and Motala in The Eyes of Thailand|
We hear of their stories, we follow Salwala’s efforts to create elephant-sized prosthetics — a difficult challenge, since she must start from scratch and learn from trial and error — and in the process filmmaker Windy Borman is able to transcend the nuts and bolts of the operation and imbue her film with a spirit of love, kindness and hope. Film festivals and special screenings have all yielded the same results: Rave reviews and not a dry eye in the house.
Salwala, who suffers from health issues of her own, perhaps say it best when she hopes that the day will come when she has “ … an elephant hospital without any patients.”
Bonus goodies on the DVD release of The Eyes of Thailand include bonus footage, extended interviews and a photo gallery.