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There are two ways of training Elephants. One relies on instilling fear. The other -- on building trust. We present... you decide. Read more

Detroit, MI Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on December 5, 2012.

There are two ways of training Elephants. One relies on instilling fear. The other -- on building trust. We present... you decide.

Detroit, MI Documentary
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Jeff Boucher
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Jeff Boucher

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About this project

"Elephant in the Room" is a documentary about the ongoing conflict in the animal world regarding the handling of elephants (and other animals) in zoos, circuses and private facilities. Though often touted as a free vs. protected-contact issue, it's really all about dominance/fear vs. positive reinforcement/trust based methods. 

It's a subject that's generated a mountain of controversy for professionals in the field -- it's also an issue the average person knows virtually nothing about. 

To be clear, we are staunch supporters of good animal facilities and their ability to inspire generations of conservationists, trainers and animal lovers. However, given the options available today, we believe the antiquated training methods often used need to be given a fresh look.

We intend to take our "look" at this issue in a comprehensive manner using:

  • Interviews with celebrity animal supporters, including actress Carolyn Hennesy who stars in the new season of the wildly popular HBO series, "True Blood." Please visit her website at www.carolynhennesy.com. 
  • Interviews with industry leaders including pioneers in the positive reinforcement movement as well as practitioners of more traditional training methods.
  • Live-action footage of elephant training and care from locations around the world.
  • Existing videos of incidents and historical footage.

So far, we have funded everything out of our own pockets. We are now in the home-stretch and are trying to raise funds for final on-location filming and post-production editing. 

This is a very important issue and we need to make people aware of what is going on. Your contributions really will make a significant difference in the lives of elephants around the world! So PLEASE, help us to spread the word and contribute if you can!

Risks and challenges

Our intimate knowledge of this industry allows us to examine this subject in a comprehensive manner, presenting both sides of the spectrum.

A common challenge in trying to piece together a documentary of this nature is that people who don't trust you, do not agree to talk to you. Given our long histories in the zoological world and with individuals on every side of this issue, we have unprecedented access to interviews, facilities and honest conversations that have never before been shown.

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    2 backers

    PLEDGE $5 OR MORE.
    You have our, and the elephants’, sincere gratitude!

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    11 backers

    PLEDGE $20 OR MORE
    You get electronic posts and photo updates during filming continuing through documentary premiere plus receive an exclusive Elephant in the Room Cause Bracelet.

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    4 backers

    PLEDGE $45 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $20 Level plus you will receive an Elephant in the Room Movie Poster.

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    1 backer

    PLEDGE $75 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $45 Level PLUS you will receive an official Elephant in the Room stuffed plush elephant.

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    Pledge $100 or more

    8 backers

    PLEDGE $100 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $75 Level PLUS you will receive an autographed photo, made out specifically to you, from actress and author, Carolyn Hennesy, who has
    enjoyed an incredibly prolific career and is known most recently from the series Cougar
    Town and the newest season of the HBO hit True Blood. PLUS, you will receive an
    acknowledgement in the Elephant in the Room film credits.

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    2 backers

    PLEDGE $250 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $100 Level PLUS an autographed copy of the book
    "Whale Done" by author, world-renowned animal trainer and "Elephant in the Room" producer and on-screen talent, Thad Lacinak, AND you will receive an official Elephant in the Room t-shirt.

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    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer

    PLEDGE $500 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $250 Level PLUS you will receive a limited edition
    photo print (signed and numbered) taken during the making of the film, a wooden hand-carved elephant statue AND a copy of the final DVD.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

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    PLEDGE $750 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $500 Level PLUS you will be invited to a private screening of the documentary (location TBD; sorry,travel costs aren’t included).

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    4 backers

    PLEDGE $1,000 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $750 Level PLUS you receive “Associate Producer”
    credit in the film.

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  • You selected
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    1 backer

    PLEDGE $2,000 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in Pledge $1,000 Level PLUS an exclusive Elephant Trainer for a Day experience at a zoological facility in Tampa, Florida (sorry, travel not included).

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    0 backers

    PLEDGE $5,000 OR MORE
    You get everything listed in the Pledge $2,000 Level PLUS an invitation to join Carolyn Hennessy, Thad Lacinak and Angi Millwood for a fabulous lunch date (dates and locations TBD, travel expenses aren’t included) AND you will receive an “Executive Producer” credit in the film.

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Funding period

- (30 days)