Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton lent their support at the London premiere of Disneynature’s “African Cats” Wednesday evening.
The event, a fundraiser for the conservation group Tusk Trust, was held at the British Film Institute and helped to shed light on the need for better wildlife education and protection.
Filmed in Kenya’s Masai Mara region from August 2008 to October 2010, “African Cats” follows a pride of lions and a family of cheetahs in the savanna. British actor Sir Patrick Stewart narrates the documentary, which is directed by Keith Scholey (“Big Cat Diary”) and Alastair Fothergill (“Earth,” “Deep Blue”).
With 40 projects in 17 African countries, Tusk Trust works to protect wildlife, alleviate poverty and encourage education in rural communities. Prince William has been a part of Tusk Trust as their Royal Patron for the past 7 years.
“It’s what we call an ‘integrated approach’ to conservation,” said Charlie Mayhew, the charity’s chief executive. “It’s really that integration that has drawn Prince William as our patron. It’s something that he believes passionately in, and tonight’s premiere of ‘African Cats’ just gives us an opportunity to communicate that onto the global stage.”
Film makers Scholey and Fothergill said keeping track of the stars in “African Cats” was a substantial task.
“The most challenging (part) was actually to stay with our cats for a whole two year period,” Scholey said. “These are wild animals, they can go wherever they want, and we had to stay with the same characters, so that was quite hard.”
“We’re looking here at a drama, a soap-opera, but it’s all real-life,” said cameraman Simon King. “There are elements of the story that we couldn’t possibly have hoped to have written. The natural world wrote the script.”
I personally have spent time volunteering in the Masai Mara, and learned first hand from Masai Tribal Elders the importance and great need for conservation in their region. It is wonderful to see these majestic creatures take to the big screen and educate the general public about their world.