2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: TIGERLAND

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Discovery/RadicalMedia

TIGERLAND
Ross Kauffman profiles efforts to reverse the decimation of Asia’s wild tiger population.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

In the span of only a handful of generations, the tiger has been transformed from a venerated creature with a role in our cultural consciousness into a major source of revenue – and the population of wild tigers in Asia has dropped from over one hundred thousand to less than four thousand. TIGERLAND illustrates how shifting political realities in Russia and India created a lucrative poaching underworld that decimated the tiger population.

In the face of corruption and cultural apathy, Russian scientist Pavel Fomenko and the conservationist family of Kailash Sankhala of India lead inspirational tiger-preservation movements to keep the legendary animal from disappearing entirely. Combining vérité, archival material, and breathtaking landscapes, director Ross Kauffman captures Fomenko’s contagious passion as we go into his wildlife sanctuary and witness his deep connection to the tigers. Meanwhile, the Sankhala family inspires others to fight for the tiger’s survival through literature and tourism. While examining the systems that allowed the tiger’s near extermination, TIGERLAND is a stirring yet troubling portrait of our relationship to nature in the Anthropocene age.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Ross Kauffman
    Past Sundance docs:

    E-TEAM (2014)
    BORN INTO BROTHELS (2004)

    Kauffman won on Academy Award and Emmy Award for BORN INTO BROTHELS, which had previously received an audience award at Sundance. His Emmy-nominated follow-up, E-TEAM, picked up a cinematography award at the festival.

Producers:

  • Xan Parker
    Past Sundance docs:

    A PLACE AT THE TABLE (2012)
    FLYING: CONFESSIONS OF A FREE WOMAN (2007)
    LALEE’S KIN: THE LEGACY OF COTTON (2001)

    Parker leads the film production division of NYC-based production company and branding firm DB Productions. She most recently produced CNN Films’ THE END: INAIDE THE LAST DAYS OF THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE.

  • Zara Duffy
    Past Sundance docs:

    SKY LADDER: THE ART OF CAI GUO-QIANG (2016)
    RACING EXTINCTION (2015)

    The Emmy-nominated Duffy is the production partner of Fisher Stevens. She most recently produced the National Geographic doc feature BEFORE THE FLOOD.

  • Fisher Stevens
    Past Sundance docs:

    SKY LADDER: THE ART OF CAI GUO-QIANG
    RACING EXTINCTION
    THE COVE (2009)
    CRAZY LOVE (2007)

    Actor/filmmaker Stevens won on Oscar for THE COVE, which won an audience award at Sundance upon its premiere. He received Emmy nominations for BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS and RACING EXTINCTION.

Co-Producer:

  • Lizz Morhaim

    DB Productions’ Morhaim previously served as a line producer for Sundance fiction alumni COLD IN JULY, HOW TO BE A MAN, and WE ARE WHAT WE ARE.

Associate Producer:

  • Anya Prokhorkina

    This marks the first Sundance credit for Prokhorkina.

Consulting Producer:

  • Jessica Beatus

    Beatus is VP of standards, practices, and social good at Discovery Communications, as well as the creator and program director of Project CAT, Discovery’s global tiger conservation campaign in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.

Executive Producers:

  • Dave Sirulnick

    The Radical Media partner was a longtime executive at MTV. This is his first Sundance project.

  • Jon Kamen
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    ABSTRACT: THE ART OF DESIGN (2017)
    WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? (2015)
    WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V JAMES J BULGER (2014)
    SOUND AND VISION (2014, VR)
    UNDER AFRICAN SKIES (2012)
    CRUDE (2009)
    METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER (2004)

    Kamen is the Emmy-nominated chairman and CEO of Radical Media.

  • Justin Wilkes
    Past Sundance docs:

    ABSTRACT: THE ART OF DESIGN
    WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?
    WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V JAMES J BULGER
    SOUND AND VISION
    UNDER AFRICAN SKIES
    CRUDE
    METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER

    The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning Wilkes left his longtime post as president of Radical Media several months ago to head Imagine Documentaries.

  • John Hoffman
    Past Sundance docs:

    RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN (2017)
    RACING EXTINCTION
    ALL ABOARD! ROSIE’S FAMILY CRUISE (2006)
    LALEE’S KIN: THE LEGACY OF COTTON
    THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (2000)
    PARAGRAPH 175 (2000)

    Hoffman most recently served as EVP, documentaries and specials for Discovery. He previously was a longtime VP at HBO Documentaries, where he won several Emmy Awards.

  • Jon Bardin
    Past Sundance docs:

    RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN
    RACING EXTINCTION

    The Emmy-winning Bardin is VP, documentaries and specials for Discovery.

Editor:

Co-Editors:

  • Hypatia Porter

    Porter edited Kauffman’s recent debut fiction short BOY BOY GIRL GIRL. This is her first Sundance credit.

  • Galen Summer
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE ARCHIVE (2009, short)

Why You Should Watch:
Kauffman wisely grounds the daunting issue of tiger preservation through two relatable, interweaving stories of passionate activists. Fomenko, in particular, is an unforgettable figure, experiencing unexpected challenges in the course of his mission.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist Profile

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.