Unspoken Souls is the riveting story of an international animal rights activist and two elephant sanctuary directors, all from ethnic minority groups who strive to make a change in the exploitative elephant tourism industry in Thailand.
The pandemic inspires an animal rights activist to expand her mission to
make a change in a world full of exploitation.
When Thailand’s tourism industry begins to crumble from the global lockdown,
Lek Chailert, an internationally renowned animal rights activist, rushes to provide assistance to the nation-wide plight of starving elephants and unemployed caretakers. The responsibility is of a national scale that she has never taken on before in her more than 20 year career.
Though as the country slowly comes out of lockdown, Lek discerns an opportunity in the time of turmoil: accelerating the transformation of the exploitative elephant tourism industry. She doubles down on her effort to realize the ethical future she has long envisioned. But things don’t go as easy as she hopes.
As she makes progress one step and one encounter at a time, Lek begins to see that in order to achieve her dream, she has to expand the scope of her actions beyond the elephant tourism industry like never before.
As experienced journalists, we have long desired to tell a story unique to Thailand, our home of 18 years. Having lived and seen the cost of Japan’s rapid economic development and witnessed a similar process here in Chiang Mai, we always knew that our documentary would convey a critique of the direction that the world was moving towards.
A video production company founded by Yasuhiko Okuno in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2005. The company has produced a variety of content for Japanese and Thai broadcasting networks, multinational companies, NGOs, and local governments in Japan. Having started in May 2021, “Unspoken Souls” is the company’s first long term documentary project.
Looking back to Thailand’s pre-modern history, elephants and the Thai people have a relationship that dates back to over hundreds of years. As an important means of transportation, manual labor, war, and also significant in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies, elephants have always been an important animal in Thai culture.