Soul of the Elephant has won at the INFF 2016

The Innsbruck Nature Film Festival is proud to announce that SOUL OF THE ELEPHANT has won an HONORABLE MENTION for Nature Documentaries at the INFF 2016!

This is what the Jury said about the film:
A very personal and empathetic approach to the topic of ivory and elephants.
By traveling into the very heart of the Botswanan elephant territories, the filmmakers manage to also provide a journey into the soul of the elephants.
Sensitively told without sensational self-aggrandizement, this film brings us nearer to these grey giants than any film has ever done before. Thank you and Congratulations!

Eine sehr persönliche und einfühlsame Herangehensweise an das Thema Elfenbein und Elefanten.
Den Jouberts gelingt mit ihrer Reise ins Herz der Elefantengebiete Botswanas eine Reise in die Seele der Elefanten.
Gefühlvoll erzählt, ohne reißerische Selbstdarstellung, kommt dieser Film den grauen Riesen näher wie kaum ein Film zuvor. Danke und herzliche Gratulation!

Soul of the Elephant wins the highest accolade - "Grand Prix" at the Matsalu Film Festival

"An artistically beautiful film about one of the world’s largest animals with a strong but subtle conservation message. It cleverly weaves historical with current filming for a personal expedition into the soul of the elephant."

14 years ago a humble and tentative endeavour, Matsalu Nature Film Festival has now become one of the renowned and respected festivals in the film world, winning more and more attention with every subsequent year. Once started under the parallel name „Green Gate“ with this identifiable and obvious flavour of local event, it has now absolutely different dimensionality, covering the whole world.

Dereck and Beverly featured in GoPro virtual reality

Rhinos Without Borders in particular received a lot of recognition and acknowledgement this month through a successful partnership between Great Plains Conservation and GoPro.

GoPro released a completely interactive and immersive Virtual Reality Rhino Relocation clip on the 15th March. This video received 1,63 million views in the first week of it’s release…which shocked even the publishers at GoPro it seems!

You do not need any special glasses to move around and explore this world – just open the link on your phone, iPad or computer and enjoy this incredible experience. Please click here to view.

Third Annual Big Cat Week

Third Annual BIG CAT WEEK on Nat Geo WILD Begins Sunday Dec. 9th,  8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT

Nat Geo WILD’s Most – Watched Week Returns with Five Nights of Premieres, Including First–Ever Capture and Release of an Endangered Snow Leopard in Afghanistan

Full schedule of BIG CAT

Dereck and Beverly Joubert’s films to be featured:

  • “The Last Lions” on Monday Dec. 10th 8 p.m. ET and
  • “The Unlikely Leopard” on Thursday Dec. 13th 8 p.m. ET


“The Last Lions,” produced by award–winning filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, captures the desperate plight of big cats — especially lions — in Africa. Filmed at Duba Plains, their home base in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, the Jouberts’ film is a call to action to save African lions. Fifty years ago, there were 450,000 lions across Africa and today as few as 20,000 remain in the wild.

The Jouberts followed lioness Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) for seven years to create their 2011 documentary. Recently interviewed by Lara Logan for CBS “60 Minutes,” the Jouberts led the TV crew on an expedition to find Ma di Tau’s surviving cub. Watch the broadcast, also filmed on location at Duba Plains in Botswana,

“The Unlikely Leopard,” the Jouberts’ 2012 documentary, is a fun story about coming of age in the African wild. It is also a part of Nat Geo WILD’s Big Cats Initiative to “Cause an Uproar” to save big cats, which are in greater danger now than ever before. Fifty years ago leopards numbered 700,000. Today there may be as few as 50,000. These top predators are quickly disappearing. The loss of these majestic animals also means that the natural balance of entire environments is destroyed. “The Unlikely Leopard” was filmed near the famous Selinda Reserve in Botswana.

BIG CAT WEEK is an extension of the Big Cats Initiative (BCI), a long–term commitment founded by the Jouberts with the National Geographic Society to stop poaching, save habitats and sound the call that big steps are needed to save big cats around the world.

To address this critical situation, Nat Geo WILD is asking people to “Cause an Uproar” and support BCI. This year’s BIG CAT WEEK will follow a series of fall activities, including the creation of the National Geographic Big Cats Sister School Program, which pairs U.S. schools with schools in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana under the shared theme of big cat conservation.

Follow Explorers–in–Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert on Twitter @dereckbeverly

The New York Times
“‘The Last Lions’ is a worthy, intensive labor of love that took years to shoot and edit, and it’s also more gripping than a lot of recent Hollywood thrillers.”

Los Angeles Times
“It goes without saying that their [filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert] latest effort, ‘The Last Lions,’ is mightily impressive to look at.”

The Washington Post
“The tale has all the trappings of a good Jack London novel, including fearsome villains, such as a scar–faced buffalo leading a pack of its one–ton brethren, as well as a one–eyed lioness, well–known for killing the cubs of her enemies.”

USA Today
Beverly Joubert: “Once people can get to know a leopard the way we do, the great individual character and personality, they’ll understand why it’s so important to protect these cats in Africa.”

Our Amazing Planet
“Beautifully shot, impeccably edited and skillfully written, actor Jeremy Irons’ narration — which is delivered with both gravitas and understated British humor — adds a final bit of sparkle to an already arresting film.”

ABC News
Bill Weir of ABC Nightline visits the Jouberts in Botswana to see what has become of the star feline from “The Unlikely Leopard.”

“The Last Lions” wins Music Award at the Wildscreen Festival

Bristol, UK — It has been a busy few weeks for conservationists and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Yesterday, the couple’s 2011 feature film “The Last Lions,” produced in association with National Geographic, won the Wildscreen Golden Panda Award for Music. The wildlife television and film competition includes over 550 delegates from 40 countries.

After the awards ceremony, Dereck Joubert shared his thoughts: “Working with Alex Wurman [conductor] and J.B. Arthur [vocal arrangements] on this film was a pleasure. We were able to mold a score with them that was emotive and culturally appropriate, but one that carefully worked in unison with Jeremy Iron’s voice and the images. Sometimes it all comes together, and the Wildscreen judges said just that last night.”

While the Jouberts have won almost every major film making award during their careers, it is the message their films convey to global audiences that fuels their boundless energy and mission of wildlife conservation. “To bring a film to the big screen and show Botswana and its cats in this light is a privilege,” said Dereck Joubert. “It gives us a bigger platform to discuss the plight of big cats and to talk about the Big Cats Initiative, which we launched with National Geographic to help stop the decline of big cats in the wild.” Help “Cause an Uproar” to save big cats by visiting

The Jouberts’ commitment to conservation also led them to create Great Plains Conservation, which generates much needed revenue for local communities, helps them care for their natural and wildlife resources and protects large swaths of land for Africa’s dwindling wildlife populations.

Great Plains Conservation is a conservation company that uses tourism as a major component to help make conservation financially viable through what we call “Conservation Tourism.” Our projects in Botswana and Kenya are rooted in this passion to make the environment whole again. It focuses on providing a meaningful experience, something special for people but by doing so with a strong commitment to the lowest impact, high value, and safari experiences. Ensuring that areas in which we operate are environmentally sustainable and financially working enterprises for conservation and for communities is what we consider responsible tourism and business. Great Plains Conservation is continually recognized by leading travel publications and organizations for its role in creating the ultimate in responsible tourism areas which not only incorporate local land owners and communities but provide havens for Africa wildlife and the ultimate in guest experience. We are the recipients of the World Responsible Tourism Award and our camps continually feature in leading publications such as Condé Nast, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler and the annual Good Safari Guide Awards.

New Nat Geo Film Spots Leopards’ Lighter Side

Ah, leopards — majestic creatures. Fearsome hunters, the dappled cats glide across Africa’s Serengeti like ghosts, able to melt away into the landscape, day or night, and rain terror upon unsuspecting prey.

All that would be news to the star of a new film premiering soon on Nat Geo WILD, “The Unlikely Leopard.” The documentary tracks the first years of a clumsy, awkward, mama’s-boy of a leopard who seems a bit ill-suited for the lofty mantle often reserved for these big cats.

The film is the latest from Dereck and Beverly Joubert, seasoned filmmakers who have dedicated their lives to documenting the dramatic stories of Africa’s lions and other big cats — and their increasingly dire circumstances, which have sent their numbers plummeting in recent decades. It can get a bit depressing, they said, to compare the crowds of lions and other cats they regularly saw 30 years ago, to the far more paltry numbers they see today.

Unexpected comedy

Enter “The Unlikely Leopard,” a film that introduces its star when he is a tiny, 10-day-old, thoroughly irresistible cat. The film is certainly a departure for the duo, the husband-and-wife team said. There was a lot more laughter than usual.

“There were moments that we would crack up over and over just watching him fall out of a tree or play with something he shouldn’t play with,” Beverly told OurAmazingPlanet. “He seemed to not quite want to do what normal leopards do.”

The Jouberts said they had no idea the little leopard would prove to offer such comic relief. “We just happened to find a young leopard, and I think that he told us his story,” Dereck said.

Beautifully shot, impeccably edited and skillfully written, actor Jeremy Irons’ narration — which is delivered with both gravitas and understated British humor — adds a final bit of sparkle to an already arresting film.

Life among the cats

The Jouberts, South African natives who have lived out of a tent on an island in Botswana for nearly three decades, said that despite the laughter the leopard’s antics provoked, filming the growing cat and his watchful mother was an enormous challenge. Unlike lions, which make their presence known and are very social creatures, leopards are far more solitary, and tend to stay on the move, blending seamlessly into their surroundings.

“So we had a rule,” Dereck said. “One of us had to be watching the cat at all times. If I had to change a lens, Beverly had to watch the cat. With leopards, if they even just roll over, they can disappear.”

In fact, leopards are indeed disappearing, suffering steep declines in many parts of Africa, due to human-cat conflict and a thriving black market for their unmistakable spotted fur, coveted for both its beauty and as a symbol of power. The big cats are nearly extinct in north Africa, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an independent body that assesses the status of species around the world.

Yet in spite of the serious underlying issues, Beverly said, “making this film and spending time with this leopard was a wonderful chance to be joyful.”

The Jouberts said they hope that their film not only provokes some laughter, but provokes thought and — perhaps most important — further action to protect leopards.

“The Unlikely Leopard” premieres Sunday, July 15, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD.

Andrea Mustain, Our Amazing Planet

The Unlikely Leopard

This is the coming-of-age story about Dikeledi, a somewhat clumsy male leopard struggling to get the hang of, well, being a leopard. The special by award-winning filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert follows c as he grows into his oversized paws and eventually moves away from his mother, his provider and protector. See every frustrating failed stalking until he eventually gets it right and witness his personality and confidence grow as he becomes a stealthy and effective hunting machine.

The Unlikely Leopard will be released on National Geographic Wild Channel on the 15th July in the USA at 9pm.

Tooth-and-Claw Life of a Dedicated Single Mother

One of the most urgent and certainly among the most beautifully shot documentaries to hit the big screen in recent memory, “The Last Lions” isn’t just another cute and fuzzy encounter session with a different species. It’s a pulse-quickening, tear-duct milking and outrageously dramatized story about the threats — wildfires, chomping teeth, stampeding hooves and, worst of all, unseen humans — that face a female lion trying to protect her cubs. Here, single motherhood doesn’t mean juggling family, work and PTA meetings: it means parking the tots in the bushes and then trying to take down a water buffalo the size of a jeep.

To read the full article, click here