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Exclusive Clip from Matt Heineman-Produced Tribeca Premiere ‘When Lambs Become Lions’ Explores the African Ivory Trade

Written by on April 13, 2018 


Beginning next week is the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and, quite often, a number of gems can be found in its documentary lineup. One film that’s caught our eye is When Lambs Become Lions, executive produced by Matt Heineman (Cartel Land, City of Ghosts) and The Documentary Group (Cartel Land), and directed by emerging filmmaker Jon Kasbe. Ahead of the premiere, we’re pleased to debut an exclusive clip.

Exploring the violative African poaching trade, the film profiles an ivory dealer from Kenya and his cousin, a wildlife ranger who is tasked with hunting down poachers. It has the makings of an emotional, complex documentary, and with the award-winning Kasbe at the helm, it should prove to be a break-out. Check out the clip below, which introduces the ivory dealer, and see more info here.

In Kenya, the intersecting lives of three men crystallize the fierce conflict over conservation efforts in the country’s vast northern plains. There’s X, the calculating ivory dealer; Lukas, X’s most trusted elephant hunter; and Asan, a wildlife ranger whose task it is to prevent and deter poaching. To complicate matters, Asan is X’s cousin. For all three, this pressing debate is not simply a matter of environmentalism, it’s a fight for survival. Both poacher and ranger struggle to make ends meet, while various external forces, as well as their own actions, conspire to undermine their efforts—that is, until they’re presented with an opportunity that might reverse both of their fortunes.

Set against the government programs aimed at protecting Kenya’s elephants—including a dramatic demonstration of an ivory bonfire—When Lambs Become Lions offers a poignant perspective on the human and environmental tolls of the ivory trade. Director Jon Kasbe brings the viewer out into the field alongside X, Lukas, and Asan, blurring the divide between poacher and ranger and revealing the myriad of ways their fates are inextricably connected.


When Lambs Become Lions world premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival. Get tickets here.

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