Posts Tagged ‘ACE Documentary Grant Award’

“The Eyes of Thailand” sets sights for Northwest Premiere at the Port Townsend Film Festival This Weekend

Monday, September 17th, 2012



Contact Name:  Windy Borman




Ashley Judd narrates the eight-time award-winning film that has its roots in the Pacific Northwest.

SEATTLE, WA (September 17, 2012) – D.V.A. Productions, in Association with Indiewood Pictures, is proud to announce the Northwest Premiere of The Eyes of Thailand at the Port Townsend Film Festival (PTFF). The Film will screen Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 6:15pm at the Rose Theatre (Port Townsend, WA) and Sunday, September 23 at 12:30pm at the Uptown Theatre (Port Townsend, WA). Tickets are available at <>. Special guests include Director/Producer Windy Borman.

“The Eyes of Thailand” is directed/produced by Windy Borman and produced by Tim VandeSteeg. The 8-time award-winning documentary, narrated by Ashley Judd, tells the heartwarming and heroic true story of Soraida Salwala, a passionate woman who dedicated 10 years of her life to help two Asian elephants walk again after losing their legs from stepping on landmines.

Judd writes, “The Eyes of Thailand is a story of sacrifice and perseverance that shows how far one woman will go to save an endangered species from threats above and below the surface. I hope it will raise awareness to protect Asian Elephants—and all beings—from the terror of landmines.”

Borman began production on “The Eyes of Thailand” in November 2007, while traveling in Thailand with a Port Townsend theatre company, but when Borman met Salwala and the two elephant landmine survivors, the direction of the film changed.

“When I met Soraida, Mosha and Motala, I knew I discovered an untold story that I needed to share with the world. Witnessing Mosha and Motala take their first steps on their new prostheses was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I cannot wait to share it with the world–and especially the company members from Port Townsend,” said Borman.

“The Eyes of Thailand” was awarded the “ACE Documentary Film Grant” from The Humane Society of the United States and the “Best Documentary” Jury Award from the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. Salwala received the “Best Heroine in a Wildlife Film” Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival. The film has also garnered Humanitarian, Green, Animal Advocacy and Animation awards since its World Premiere in April 2012.

The elephant stars of the film have been capturing the hearts of people worldwide and were featured in National Geographic, Yahoo,, Huffington Post and IndieWire.

The filmmakers have created a successful and loyal following through the film’s social media sites, including Facebook <> and Twitter <>, and the film’s website <>.

For further inquiries, please contact: Windy Borman

“The Eyes of Thailand” earns four awards, including a Best of Festival

Monday, May 14th, 2012

“The Eyes of Thailand” continues to pick up steam–and award laurels–thanks to the film juries at our recent film festival screenings.

First, the Newport Beach Film Festival awarded “The Eyes of Thailand” the 2012 Humanitarian Award on May 4, 2012.

Then on Friday, May 11, 2012, Director/Producer Windy Borman received three awards from the International Wildlife Film Festival, including a Best of Festival “Best Heroine in a Wildlife Film” for Soraida Salwala and Merit Awards for Animation and Animal Advocacy.

These awards are in addition to the 2011 ACE Documentary Film Grant from the Humane Society of the United States.

With two film festivals under our belt and many more on the horizon, we’re definitely feeling like this is the tip of the iceberg for “The Eyes of Thailand”. Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey and we’ll share more announcements as they come in!

Reflections on the 2012 Genesis Awards and the Elephant Summit

Friday, March 30th, 2012

This past week, I had the opportunity to meet many animal lovers at the 2012 Genesis Awards in Los Angeles and the 2012 Summit for Elephants at the Oakland Zoo.

The 2012 Genesis Awards were very exciting since “The Eyes of Thailand” won an ACE Documentary Film Award from the Humane Society of the United States. It was wonderful to meet everyone at the Humane Society, the other award winners, and also other people dedicating their lives to be a voice for the animals.

There were a LOT of speeches over the two-day event, but the two quotes that stood out the most to me were actually responses that we can all use when someone asks, “Why are you working so hard to help the animals when people are [hurt/ starving/ unemployed/ homeless/ etc.]?”

The first response is: Compassion is a muscle. It needs to be exercised.

The second is: Where there is animal neglect, there is child neglect. Where there is animal abuse, there is domestic violence. When we help the lives of non-human animals, we help the lives of the humans around them.

People have asked me the “Why animals?” question less and less over the years–perhaps because they realized after 4.5 years that I’ve cast my lot with the elephants–but it really helped to hear the Humane Society and its awardees make the connections, and it gave me hope that we can make significant gains to protect animals and end cruelty, just in time to attend the Elephant Summit.

The 2012 Summit for Elephants took a two-year break, so it was great to reconnect with all our “Ele-Friends” from 2010 and see what they’ve been up to. Here are some highlights:

  1. Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips from Animal Defenders International (ADI) discussed how Bolivia, Bosnia and now Greece were able to ban all animals in circuses and “entertainment”, in hopes that other countries, including the US, will also join the ban (See more at Break the Chain below).
  2. Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani of Wildlife SOS India gave everyone a quick overview of the issues facing Asian Elephants, particularly once they are considered “captive” by their respective governments, and how they are working within India’s systems to phase out all elephants in captivity and establish “Elephant Haven” as a model self-sustaining elephant sanctuary.
  3. Catherine Doyle of In Defense of Animals (IDA) talked about the importance of re-examining our relationships with non-human animals and using that as a springboard to discuss how animal abuse in circuses goes against our “community values”.
  4. Delicianna Winders of PETA discussed how we can legally go after circuses and reminded us that “the only humane circus is a circus without animals”.
  5. Matt Rossell of ADI announced recent successes of the “Break the Chain” campaign to support TEAPA, the Traveling Exotic Animals Protection Act (H.R. 3359)–which I encourage every “Ele-Friend” to check out.
  6. Katie Maneeley of Animal Agency discussed the importance of creating a collective effort between disparate groups and using the media to combat the big money behind circuses.

I was also pleased to hear Maneeley make the connections between animal abuse and child abuse, particularly when Ringling Bros. gave free circus tickets to a shelter for women and children survivors of domestic violence. She offered the shelter director an alternative, saying that since the women and children in their facility were survivors of violence, they probably knew how hard it is to see another being abused and coerced. The shelter agreed and they went to the movies, instead, thanks to free ticket vouchers from PETA.

Motivation for keeping up the fight. Even in a room full of 100s, even 1,000s, of animal welfare supporters, it’s hard not to get discouraged about all the work before us. However, I believe Catherine Doyle said it best at the Elephant Summit:

“Saving one elephant may not change the world, but you change the world for that elephant.”

By supporting, “The Eyes of Thailand” documentary, you aren’t just supporting Motala and Mosha, the two elephants featured in the film; you are also supporting FAE’s Elephant Hospital, to ensure that it can continue to treat elephants at no charge to the elephant owners for years to come.

However, you are also doing more than that. By sharing our Facebook posts, Tweets, newsletters and the link to our website, you are also helping us start a global conversation about how we can protect Asian and African Elephants in their natural habitats, as well as their captive environments.

Thank you for joining us and we look forward to sharing some BIG film announcements very soon.


Windy Borman, Director/Producer, “The Eyes of Thailand”

“The Eyes of Thailand” Crew Goes to Skywalker

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Hey, “Ele-Friends”,

Last week the crew of “The Eyes of Thailand“, along with some special guests, visited Skywalker Ranch for the Final Sound Mix of the film.

Director/Producer Windy Borman (Center) poses with "Eyes of Thailand" Fans Jody and David Stickney.

After 4.5 years, we were finally going to get to see and hear the film with all the elements put together. This was a work-in-progress viewing, but there was still a lot of excitement in the air, especially since it was the first time most of the crew were together in the same room. (We had people fly in from San Diego, CA and Duluth, MN for the day!).

From Left to Right: Director/Producer Windy Borman, Singer/Songwriter Amie Penwell, Composer Steve Horner, and Editor Gary Schillinger

I’m happy to report that the viewing went swimmingly and you can tell by the happy faces below that everyone agreed it was a job well done.

Composer Steve Horner, Editor Gary Schillinger and Re-Recording Mixer E. Larry Oatfield smile about a job well done.

This week, we are laying off the Final Cut of “The Eyes of Thailand” at Different by Design in Santa Monica, CA, just in time for Producer Tim VandeSteeg and Director/Producer Windy Borman to attend the ACE Documentary Film Grant Awards on Friday (March 23) and the Genesis Awards (March 24).

It’s a very busy time, but we have some BIG announcements coming up in early April, including the much-anticipated reveal of the film’s world premiere. Stay tuned for more details Coming Soon…

-Windy Borman