In 2004, when we first moved from Tokyo to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, one of the first sights that shocked us was an elephant performing circus tricks on the side of a busy road. We couldn’t help but feel sorrowful as we saw the eyes of the elephant. But as newly arrived foreigners, it also intrigued us towards the role of Asian Elephants in our new home.
In the two decades that have passed, we’ve also been a witness to the country’s rapid economic development and its accompanying environmental problems, including the aggravated air pollution from forest fires that seasonally makes Chiang Mai the world’s most unbreathable city.
Within this context, in 2020 we reunited with Lek, whom we have known since 2009. What had always captivated us the most about Lek was her extraordinary compassion for all living beings, whether it is a large elephant, a fragile kitten, a tiny bee or a young Banyan tree. While for New, it was the abnormal challenge of an ordinary youth that pulled us towards him.
In our film, we seek to raise timely questions about the human-animal connection and coexistence within this new era of accelerating environmental destruction. We portray Lek as a woman who seeks to pass on the responsibility of conservation, and New as the youth striving to receive her baton. As an intergenerational team ourselves, we are inspired by our protagonists and we desire to convey this inspiration to our audience.
-Yasuhiko, Mieko, and Koh