By Nigel M. Smith
With just one night left before its opening night, the 52nd New York Film Festival has revealed that Kathryn Bigelow's public service announcement "Last Days" will world premiere at the event.
The three-minute PSA about elephant poaching will screen on September 27, followed by a panel moderated by Bigelow. Peter Knights, executive director of the conservation group WildAid; Julieta V. Lozano, a New York County assistant district attorney; the journalist Peter Godwin; and the artist and activist K’naan Warsame are all locked in to participate.
"Kathryn showed us 'Last Days' and I was floored -- in three minutes, the viewer feels the horrors of elephant poaching on a global scale and gains a clear, even vivid understanding of the economic, moral and political issues involved," said NYFF director Kent Jones. "A powerfully concise piece of work, and we’re proud to be hosting its world premiere and providing a forum in which this urgent issue can be illuminated."
The Oscar-winning filmmaker said she was inspired to make the short following a meeting with Hilary and Chelsea Clinton. "Chelsea had just returned from Sub-Saharan Africa where poachers killed herds of elephants by cyanide poisoning," she said in a statement. "After our conversation I felt compelled to enter this space, encourage a dialogue, raise awareness. Killing for ivory by organized syndicates was now being carried out on an industrialized scale. Working with the writer, Scott Z. Burns, we set out to connect the dots between ivory trinkets purchased at markets in China and elsewhere and the terrorist nightmares we see on the nightly news."
The PSA will be screened Saturday at 6pm in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. The event is free; tickets will be distributed one hour before the event. More information is at filmlinc.com/nyff.