ADI Films signs deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for worldwide TV distribution deal for award-winning documentary Lion Ark

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7 October, 2014


ADI Films signs deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for worldwide TV distribution deal for award-winning documentary Lion Ark

ADI Films has signed an exclusive deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) to sell action-documentary Lion Ark. The independently made, multi-award winning film will be distributed worldwide by the international media distributors. The deal was signed ahead of Lion Ark’s theatrical release in cinemas across the UK in November.

Lion Ark follows the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescue, undertaken after Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) two-year undercover investigation of animal circuses in South America. The shocking findings led to public outrage about animal cruelty and calls for action across the continent, with bans following in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and others. The film tells the story of the undercover investigations, the lobbying, and enforcement of the ban on animal circuses in Bolivia. The team is followed as they journey across a vast, hostile terrain to track down the circuses defying the new law, save the animals, and reach a joyous finale as 25 lions are airlifted in ADI’s Operation Lion Ark flight to freedom in Colorado.

Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark: “We wanted to make a film that would entertain and inspire, but also have audiences laughing out loud, cheering for the lions, and leave them smiling. Lion Ark has received a fantastic response at film festivals, with standing ovations and sell out screenings, so we are really excited to be taking it to a wider audience with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.”

Ronan Hand, Head of Factual and Entertainment Acquisitions for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said: “Lion Ark tells an incredible story of bravery, compassion, camaraderie and determination as a team of people fight an immense battle to save these beautiful creatures from horrific cruelty and abuse. The film has already been garlanded with international awards and we expect it will attract a great deal of interest from buyers worldwide looking for the best nature programming at MIPCOM.”

What is engaging audiences in a new way is that Lion Ark is more action adventure style than traditional documentary. This is close-up and personal, right in the thick of the action; taking viewers as close as they can get to these animals, to understanding them and the effects of circus. Lion Ark is compiled from film, interviews, conversations and reactions as events unfolded. Feel the fear and joy of the rescuers as they fight to save each and every circus animal in the entire country.

The independent documentary secured crowd-funding, donations and support from CSI actress Jorja Fox’s Seafox Productions company, surprising many with its high production values and, shot on Red, its cinematic beauty. Lion Ark burst onto the scene at London’s Raindance Film Festival followed by the California Film Institute’s Mill Valley Festival and went on to collect multiple awards on the international film festival circuit.

Critics have praised Lion Ark as “the feel-good movie of the year!” (Reel Talk); “Compelling cinema verité” – The Hollywood Reporter; One of your must –see films” (The Independent Critic); “A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” (The Ecologist); “Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” (The New York Times);”…this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent” (ACED Magazine).

Lion Ark will be in UK cinemas in November, is screening theatrically in South America and will screen across selected US cities later this year.


Lion Ark theatrical trailer:



Winner Audience Choice Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival

Winner Best Documentary Omaha International Film Festival

Winner Audience Choice Environmental Film Sedona International Film Festival

Winner Audience Favorite Documentary Palm Beach International Film Festival

Winner Best Documentary Sun & Sand The Mississippi Film & Music Festival

Audience Choice Best Documentary Anchorage International Film Festival

Nominated: Outstanding International Motion Picture, 45th NAACP Image Awards

Official Selections: Raindance Film Festival, London; Mill Valley Film Festival; Hawaii International Film Festival; Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Virginia Film Festival; Starz Denver Film Festival; Irvine International Film Festival; Beloit International Film Festival; Crossroads Festival for Documentary Film and Discourse, Austria



“Compelling cinema verité” – The Hollywood Reporter

“If you enjoy movies filled with suspense, thrills, surprises, adventure and action, put Lion Ark on your must-see list. Lion Ark is the feel-good movie of the year!” – Reel Talk

“Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” The New York Times

“Lion Ark is through and through entertaining… ready for some up-tempo action-adventure of the most thrilling variety: real-life.” – Stark Insider

“…thoroughly rewarding” – TV and Film Review

“Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages” – Britflicks

“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” – Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist

“will restore some faith in humanity.” – JM Willis,

“will grab your attention and your heart” – Alexis Higgins, CMR Movie Reviews & News

“… heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational.   It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and it’s ability to stir true emotion.” – Justin Bozung, Shock Cinema Magazine / Mondo Film & Video Guide

“… ultimately an uplifting story… a revealing documentary with a lot of heart.”

– Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout….” – Renee Snyder, The Examiner


ADI Films LLC, 6100 Wilshire Blvd.,#1150, Los Angeles, CA 90048


Animal Defenders International

With offices in London, Los Angeles and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, and educates the public on animals and environmental issues.


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