On Saturday feature film director Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) showed off her new three-minute PSA entitled Last Days at the New York Film Festival. Followed by a panel on ivory poaching, the short film details the bloody path that starts with poaching and ends in the funding of numerous terrorist organizations across Africa.
Interestingly, the short film was produced by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, which also financed and produced Bigelow’s Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty in 2012. Last Days marks the director’s first foray into animation, which she uses here to detail the process of poaching in reverse chronological order, from the markets all the way up to the the bloody killing. She developed the outline of the short with Hollywood screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, whose credits include Contagion and The Bourne Ultimatum. Bigelow’s fixation on the poaching trade and its connection to the terrorist factions of Africa began with a conversation she had with Chelsea and Hillary Clinton, after which she stated:
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…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.
Using the experience gained from making Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow has continued with her anti-terrorist passion to both raise awareness and stop the trades that contribute to the horrors committed by these radical factions. The short film will be distributed through WildAid, a leading organization in the preservation of endangered animals targeted for their body parts.
Bigelow is currently working on her next feature film, True American, based on the book by Anand Giridharadas and starring Tom Hardy, which will chronicle the deteriorating relationship between Americans and the Muslim culture in the post 9/11 world.