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Elephants are making their way to ABAC in new documentary

By Shelby Evans at the film festival. Grant said it was TIFTON — The sound of elephants trumpeting blasted through the Regal Hollywood Theater in Mobile, AL. The documentary “Elephants in the Coffee” was playing at the theater for the Azalea Film Festival held Saturday, April 2.

The film, which chronicles the invasion of elephants in to Indian coffee estates, was shot in part by students at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with the guidance of Tom Grant, assistant professor of journalism.

Grant, and a few former students who were interviewed for the documentary, watched it for the first time in a theater nice to finally see on the big screen.

It was also a good way to see how the audience reacted. He has shown the film to classes and conferences weeks prior, but to see it as an audience member was a different experience - a chance to gauge how a real audience reacts.

Grant worked with CLIC (Children Learning International Cultures) Abroad, an organization that aims to share and document vanishing cultures of India with stu-

Courtesy of CLIC Abroad

dents of all ages. He was able to get exclusive ac-

See ELEPHANTS, page 12A

cess to small and large coffee estates in rural India where the elephants pose the greatest threat.

The filming of “Elephants in the Coffee” first started in 2012. Since then, Grant has invited students to go to India to assist with the documentary and CLIC Abroad’s

cause. Bhaskar Krishnamurthy, CLIC Abroad cofounder, would lead Grant and his students though the wildlife and culture of India. In May of 2015 the team completed filming for the documentary and the editing process began.

The film wrestles with the human-elephant conflict now happening in India. Elephants are being squeezed out of their natural habitat by agricultural development. The elephants then move through the land seeking water and fruit that hangs in the poly-cropped coffee estates.

In the process, they cause severe damage to crops and have even killed farm workers. The documentary seeks an answer to solving the “elephant menace” problem through interviews with estate owners, survivors of elephant rage and conservationists as well as the students who were seeing the problem first hand.

Soon the documentary will be shown locally for students and Tiftarea residents to view.

In the meantime, learn more about the film at http://www.elephantsinthecoffee. com/.

Nikki Flippo, Austin Morris, Tom Grant and Shelby Evans on the red carpet at the Azalea Film Festival.

Shelby Evans

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