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Love and Bananas, a moving film exposing the plight of Asian elephants and the people dedicated to saving the species, is coming to theaters on April 22, 2018. The movie was created by actor, director, and producer Ashley Bell, who joined Saengduean Lek Chailert, the founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, to bring to light the truth behind elephant tourism. Bell and Chailert embark on a 48-hour mission, 500 miles across Thailand, to rescue Noi Na, a 70-year-old partially blind trekking elephant held in captivity.

The film focuses on the heartbreaking reality of elephants being exploited, kept in isolation, and abused for human entertainment and profit. It takes its title from a quote from Chailert: “You don’t need a bull hook to control an elephant. You can guide an elephant with love … And bananas.”

“African elephants are slaughtered for their ivory, but sadly the plight of the Asian Elephant has been completely overlooked even though they are the elephant we are most familiar with in zoos, circuses and elephant rides,” says the Love and Bananas website. “[LOVE & BANANAS] exposes the cruel secret that every Asian elephant has had to endure to become a service animal; a process knows as Pajan, aka The Crush Box. LOVE & BANANAS aims to ignite a new way of thinking about this species and shows what can be done to prevent the extinction of Asian elephants.”

If you’re interested in seeing this important film, click here for the list of available screenings.

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