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Cher, Baldwin, Tomlin et al. Set for Elephant Documentary Premiere


The third installment of Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World will feature the world premiere of the documentary "Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy" at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood on Thursday, January 20.

The film, executive produced by Melya Kaplan and directed by Jacek Kropinski, chronicles the history of elephants in captivity. Kaplan, founder of the nonprofit Voice for the Animals Foundation, contends that zoos and circuses are not capable of properly caring for elephants due to their size and their need for vast amounts of space in which to roam. Many celebrities have joined Kaplan in a campaign to persuade zoos to close elephant exhibits and transfer the pachyderms to larger sanctuaries.

The host committee for the premiere of "Elephants and Man" includes Cher, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Griffin, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Ed Begley, Jr., Paul Haggis, Fisher Stevens, Ric O'Barry, Karen Black, Lainie Kazan, Ken Davitian, Sally Field, Beau Bridges and others. Special guests will include actresses Lily Tomlin and Tippi Hedren, who have been outspoken on the issue of elephants in captivity. They will participate in a panel discussion, which will follow the screening.

"Hopefully, this film will introduce and educate people to the barbaric and inhumane practice of keeping elephants captive in zoos," Tomlin said. "Once most humans learn the truth about the cruelty and suffering we are causing these creatures, I believe they will find exhibiting them in zoos as morally unacceptable as I and many, many others do."

Kramer founded her film series in 2009 to highlight motion pictures that raise awareness of important social issues. Her father, the late producer/director Stanley Kramer, was known for making socially conscious movies such as "Judgement and Nuremberg," "Ship of Fools," "On the Beach," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and the animal-rights film "Bless the Beasts and the Children." The first two films Ms. Kramer screened in her series were the Barbra Streisand classic "Yentl" and the dolphin documentary "The Cove," which later received the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2010.

Kramer selected "Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy" for her series as a result of the controversy surrounding the new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. The exhibit, which opened in December, 2010, was funded by Los Angeles City Council with $42 million in tax dollars. The new exhibit was a response to the public outcry over the plight of Billy, an African elephant who had lived in solitary confinement at the zoo for many years, and was exhibiting signs of psychological trauma. Fourteen elephants have died prematurely while in captivity at the LA Zoo.

"People who think the new elephant exhibit is wonderful because it is larger than the old exhibit, are missing the point," Kramer said. "Elephants need a lot more than six acres, to be healthy. We hope zoos throughout the country will pay attention to the message of 'Elephants and Man' and do the right thing by closing their elephant exhibits."

"Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World" is by invitation only. A red-carpet reception will begin on January 20 at 6:30 p.m. "Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy" will be shown at 8:00 p.m.

Information about Voice for the Animals is available at


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