THE OLD ELEPHANT ROUTE
The Old Elephant Route was a daring adventure on the sensitive border between India and Burma (Myanmar). The film based on the first expedition had an unexpected success and was shown worldwide on television: Prime-time and multidiffusions in North America on Discovery Channel Animal Planet in 2001, in Australia on ABC TV, in France on France5 TV, in Italy on TelePiu, multidiffusions on Discovery Channel in India and worldwide.
The film has become something of a cult among wildlife conservationists and students in ecology in India and was screened in several institutions. After 18 years, it is still on demand.
As a young forest officer in Assam in the 1930's, P.D. Stracey heard of an ancient migratory route of wild elephants on the border between Burma and India through the Chaukan Pass. He mentioned it in his famous book "Elephant Gold" but never saw it himself.
In 2000, Prajna CHOWTA decides to explore The Old Elephant Route with the help of Surendra VARMA, a field biologist from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Mujeeb KHAN, a Karnataka Forest Department mahout, based in Sakrebail, Shimoga. Their plan is to find out if elephants from northern Burma can migrate through mountain passes, and still communicate with elephants from Assam, in India and vice-versa.
It is a great challenge to undertake such an expedition, as the border has been practically closed since the Second World War and its access is restricted. Even today the area is politically sensitive, sometimes dangerous, and security remains under army control.
This film was the first ever made in this region.
Director: Philippe Gautier
Writers: Prajna Chowta & Philippe Gautier
Gioia Avvantaggiato, GA&A Productions, Rome
Serge Lalou, Les Films d'Ici, Paris
Line Producer: Réjane Michel
Camera: Philippe Gautier, S. Nagabushanam
Editor: Giuliano Papacchioli
Sound designer: Jean Mallet
Maps Animation: Gianluca Rendina
Voice Over: Prajna Chowta, Simon Pare
Production Managers: Réjane Michel, Sabina Tranquilli, Patricia Conord
Film Archives: The Image Bank, Imperial War Museum, British Movietone News
Music: Igor Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring"
"Traditional choirs of the Bonpos" Ocora Radio France
Produced in association with Animal Planet
52 minutes. Digital Video - Stereo
International Sales: GA&A, Rome
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