Award Winning 'How I Became An Elephant' (The Film) Now Available

Youth activist Juliette West travels next week to join other activists and filmmakers at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA, the largest environmental film festival of its kind. The Festival seeks to awaken and empower participants to become activists in our world.

Juliette knew at a very young age of the actual sad plight of elephants in American zoos and circuses. She began working to make a difference for animals when she was only nine years old. At thirteen she worked in The Campaign to free Billy, the elephant from the LA Zoo. The next year Juliette raised the funds for her own trip to Asia where she met Lek Chailert, "The Elephant Lady." Together they saved Ratree, a 35-year-old elephant, from a lifetime of abuse. Filmmakers Tim Gorski and Synthian Sharp captured Juliette's amazing journey in real time in the award-winning film, "How I Became an Elephant," produced by David Reuben and Jorja Fox (CSI: Miami). The experience created Juliette's lifetime dedication to helping elephants and other animals.

When she returned home she founded JulietteSpeaks, a non-profit organization that provides a voice to the animals who cannot speak by activating young people and teaching them effective ways to build a better world. The organization's current focus is in educating youth about the tragedy of the ivory trade and showing them how they can bring about change in its "Global Youth Against the Ivory Trade" program.

Juliette explains her decision to take such a high level of responsibility at a young age in a way to which everyone can relate. "People tell you that you're a kid and you can't make a difference. I was thirteen when I first got started and every little bit counts," she says, "like not buying that ticket to the circus; or telling your friends or your parents, 'When you go to Asia, don't ride the elephants.' Telling them what's really going on behind the scenes can really make a difference."

Now at 17 years old, Juliette is an inspirational leader for other youth. She seems to have taken her own wise words to heart when she tells other youth, "You are more powerful than you think!"

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival runs January 9 - 12, 2014, in Nevada City, California.

Special guests, besides Juliette, include Debra Winger (An Office and a Gentleman), Paul Colangelo, a Canadian environmental photojournalist (sacred Headwaters), and Osprey Orielle Lake, founder and president of the Women's Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC). For a full list of special guests, visit: http://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/special-guests/.

To learn more about or to view the film, "How I Became an Elephant," visit: http://www.howibecameanelephant.com.

To view the film, "How I Became an Elephant," visit: http://www.howibecameanelephant.com

For more information about Juliette's work, visit: http://www.juliettespeaks.org.




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