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Blood Lions – local director calls for change

Bruce Young, an old Rhodian and old Kingswoodian has directed “Blood Lions”, a documentary film which focuses on the multi-million dollar predator breeding and lion hunting industry in South Africa.

The killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion in an allegedly illegal hunt has drawn the world’s attention to the whole issue of lion hunting (and hunting in general) and has also generated a great deal of interest in the film.

Blood Lions debuted at last month’s Durban Film Festival recieving rave reviews and a standing ovation at its first showing.

The response to the film on social media has also been impressive with the likes of Ricky Gervais and Ellen de Generis tweeting about it.

The film’s publicity material describes it as “a story that blows the lid off all the conservation claims made by the breeders and hunters in attempting to justify what they do”.

Bruce, who collaborated with Nic Chevallier on the production, graduated from Rhodes in 1981, with a Bachelor of Arts and Honours in Speech and Drama.

It was while at university that he developed his love for cinema and got motivated to go into the industry.

“I’ve loved stories all my life, I was brought up in a family where my mother and father read to us”, said Young.

Blood Lions follows environmental journalist Ian Michler and American hunter, Rick Swazey, on their journey to expose the grave realities of the so called ‘canned lion’ industry which, while not illegal, many believe to be unethical and inhumane.

Last year alone it’s estimated that over 800 captive lions were shot in South Africa.

“The Blood Lions campaign is starting to get significant traction,” says Ian Michler.

“Since the launch, we have been overwhelmed by the global response across all sectors of society.

This should serve as a clear indication to governments and the various authorities around the world that they need to come together to close down predator breeding facilities and canned hunting operations.”

Ultimately Young and his collaborators hope to raise sufficient awareness around the industry to sway public opinion and to force the department of environmental affairs to change the laws regarding the hunting and breeding of lions.

Dates for further screenings of Blood Lions in Johannesburg and Cape Town are to be announced soon.

Also, only yesterday, the film’s producers, Wildlands and Regulus Vision, announced that they have secured both local and global distribution with PBS picking up global rights and Indigenous Film Distribution handling South Africa rights.

Tom Koch, Vice President of PBS International says, “Blood Lions is a rare programme that reveals the dark and brutal side of trophy hunting in Africa.

Programmes like this are equally rare and exceptional and should be seen by audiences around the globe. We are proud to represent this film to the international community”.