Posts Tagged ‘Boonmee’

A Healing Touch for FAE’s Elephants

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Patty Coggan, Soraida Salwala and Anne Snowball at FAE's Elephant Hospital. (c) Eyes of Thailand, LLC.

We had the honor of traveling to FAE’s Elephant Hospital with practioners of TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy in 2010 and 2012. Below is a conversation with two of them, Anne Snowball and Patty Coggan, about their work on FAE’s elephants, including Mosha, Motala and Boonmee, who are featured in “The Eyes of Thailand” now available on DVD.

What is TTOUCH? What types of animals was it designed for?

Anne Snowball: TTOUCH™ is part of the Tellington Method which aids in rebalancing both animal and human mentally, emotionally, and physically.  The method incorporates the TTOUCH™ body work and ground exercises to build confidence, overcome negative behavior patterns, and release pain and fear.  It differs from massage as it works with the nervous system and the body at the cellular level.  Further, TTOUCH™ involves gentle, non-habitual, movements of the skin bringing sensory awareness and trust. Originally developed for horses, its universality has expanded into companion animal and wildlife rescue communities.

How did you hear about the elephant landmine survivors at FAE?

Anne: I was volunteering at a major wildlife symposium focusing on endangered African species when Director/Producer Windy Borman approached me and posed the question of the plight of the Asian elephant.   During our conversation, I was fascinated by the work that she was doing with the Asian elephant in Thailand and immediately realized this was an ideal place to apply TTOUCH™ .

Patty Coggan:  I was part of the team that Anne put together to go to Thailand and work on the elephants and teach the mahouts techniques that would help the elephants heal.  [Anne and I] had met in an advanced training of craniosacral therapy for equines.  Anne and I work together on large animals combining both TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy.  The synergy of both methods has proven to be very effective.

Why did you think TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy might help Mosha, Motala and Boonme at FAE?

Patty:  The technique gives the caregivers another tool to use to help the healing.

Anne: These three elephants had not only been traumatized physically by the loss of a limb, but some had also lost their mother and been deserted by their mahouts (owner/care giver).   Utilizing TTOUCH™ in the daily care of these gentle giants would help restore the quality of life they deserved.

What did Soraida Salwala (FAE’s Founder) think about the idea?

Anne: She was quite skeptical, but curious!!!

What it was like seeing the elephants for the first time? 

Anne: I was overwhelmed with grief and sadness for the atrocities these elephants had endured.  I also was so inspired by their incredibly intrepid spirit and their serene nature!  I remember taking a deep breath realizing what potential TTOUCH™ could bring to FAE.

Patty:  The spirit of the hospital was at first sight very professional.  As I stayed there longer and observed, I saw and felt the tremendous healing going on there.  The wound to Boonmee, who was our primary elephant Soraida asked us to work with, was frightening.  Poor thing had given up on living and Soraida was very concerned.

Anne Snowball (left) and Patty Coggan give elephant landmine survivor Boonmee healing touches in 2010. (c) Eyes of Thailand, LLC.

Anne: We approached her waiting to see if she would acknowledge our presence by raising her trunk in greeting.  When she remained motionless we cautiously raised our hands to her forehead, palm side down, lifting the skin toward the top of her head in very tiny movements and waited for her response – within 2 minutes our hands were suddenly thrust up in the air.  Then she lifted her head with an acquisitive eye as if to say, “What just happened?” Then she started slowly swinging her trunk.   That afternoon we returned to see her eagerly eating bananas and bamboo shoots, and her caregiver was all smiles!

Patty: As we worked with Boonmee and released the trauma, she became herself again…. a bit feisty and willing to eat again.  Animals are willing to give up trauma and are not as attached to it as humans are. After Boonmee trusted us—trust found through the work we did with her—she let go of so much and the light in her eyes returned.

Anne: Mosha, the youngster, grew to enjoy our hands, as well, whether it was feathering the strands of hair at the end of her tail, relieving pain with TTOUCH lifts on her hind end, or doing mouth work with touches all over her tongue and roof of her mouth. Almost always she would greet us with her trunk raised in greeting.

Motala was the grand matriarch and oldest of landmine patients at FAE. She was gracious each time we stopped to work with her, remaining at the edge of her enclosure to take full advantage of what we could do for her.  Her mahout was always at her side, eagerly waiting to follow our hands with his in unison as we worked her entire trunk.  Her skin was so rough I thought, how can she feel us?  But her alert eyes would soften within minutes.

Motala, the matriarch at FAE's Elephant Hospital, presents her injured leg for TTouch and Craniosacral work in 2010. (c) Eyes of Thailand, LLC.

You performed TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy on Mosha, Motala and Boonmee in 2010 and 2012. What had changed for the elephants in those 2 years? 

Anne: We returned to FAE in 2012 to a very warm welcome by the staff and Soraida.

Patty:  I had always heard about elephants remembering.  I was very eager to see if it was true.

Anne: Our joy in seeing Motala, Moshe, and Boonmee was uncontainable!  Motala remained just that much older and wiser in our presence.  Mosha also had matured but did not forget TTOUCH™– only this time she softly purred in response to hair slides to each bristly hair growing over her forehead!

Patty: Mosha was happy to see us and didn’t purr so we could hear it, but vibrated her whole body in greeting as we worked on her.  I had a feeling that she was letting all the elephants there know that we were there again.  She is such a loving animal!

Anne: But Boonmee was the most compelling! In our greeting she raised her trunk, which I cupped in my hands and softly I exhaled into her trunk.   Her trunk then almost caressed my shoulder and chest.

Patty: As soon as we rushed to see Boonmee, I knew she remembered us.  She turned as we approached, her eyes bright.  As we touched her, she caressed us with her trunk…. yes, she remembered.  And as we touched her face she purred, happily greeting us and telling us she was glad we were once again with her.

Elephant landmine survivor Boonmee reunites with Patty Coggan (front) and Anne Snowball in 2012. (c) Eyes of Thailand, LLC.

Anne: Two years had passed in which her recovery had been problematic and frustrating.  She had not been able to fully accept normal weight on her bad foot.   The second day she allowed me complete access to her injured leg and foot.  I worked from her shoulder to her knee with circles and lifts, which she encouraged me to continue far longer than I had expected by leaning gently into my hands with each touch.   On the third day as we walked up to see her, her trunk was arched high, and she was completely weighted on her injured leg.   These were the kind of results we had only hoped for but surely did not expect to observe.

Patty: She was more trusting to let us work with her and completely “let us in”, so we could work core to core.

Anne: Both staff and Soraida were exuberant as well over her sudden progress.

What changes did you see in the elephants after their TTOUCH™ sessions?

Anne: They had soft, contented eyes, robust appetites, and wonderful greetings the following day with trunks lifted high.

While at FAE’s Elephant Hospital, you shared your TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy experience with Soraida and the staff. What was it like teaching them?

Anne: Encouraged by Soraida, the staff was open and receptive in spite of the language and cultural differences.  They were particularly observant of their elephant’s reaction to us when we demonstrated ear work, circle touches on the shoulder area, and lifts on their legs – each touch designed to relieve the stress and tension.  They enjoyed following our hands as we traveled over their bodies.  Touching the mahouts was culturally prohibited but they finally allowed us to perform the touch on their forearms to understand the pressure and technique.  We also placed our hands as guides over their hands when in contact with the elephants.  A smile, grin, or giggle amongst themselves acknowledged their growing enthusiasm in learning this new tool.

Anne Snowball (right) walks with elephant landmine survivor Mosha as her mahout watches. (c) Eyes of Thailand, LLC.

Patty:  I worked with Dr. Kay and she seemed very interested in the work, as well.  I remember feeling a sense of gratitude that even a medical Dr. was open to learning new techniques.  It was a cultural adventure to teach someone, who did not speak the same verbal language, but appreciated the language of touch.

You also treated Ekhe in the fall of 2012.  How did you treat her?  Do you think it helped her passing?

Patty:  By the time we worked with Ekhe, she was very ill.  She had an infection that had spread to her central nervous system.  The first day she was quite agitated. We kept our distance that day and worked on her from afar.  The next day was teaching the mahouts the TTOUCH™.  She had calmed down by then as they worked with her.  She seemed to respond well.   At one point I was able to work with her head….at times there were moments when she could focus on what was going on.  We assured her we were there to help her and support her no matter her decision.

Anne: Elephants have big families.  I felt I had been adopted into hers as I showed her mahout the lift TTOUCH™ that provided the comfort and support during her passing,   Small light touches were performed visualizing her perfection.

Was there any moment or experience from either trip that was especially memorable?

Anne: The whole experience was frankly one of the most exciting experiences in my life.  I would never be able to focus on any particular moment that was especially outstanding, but if I were forced to choose I would have to say the connection made with Boonmee was remarkable. Feeling her come back and be present was an honor and the way she recognized Patty and me on our return.   The end of her trunk nestled in our hands and caressed our shoulders for several minutes in welcoming us back to FAE.

Patty:  On our last visit, we told her verbally, that if she wanted to go down with the other elephants (and not stay in the rehab unit) she would have to walk and put weight on her front leg.  Two days later Sorida posted on Facebook that she had walked “ like a normal elephant”.  No surprise to us.

To learn more about Anne Snowball and her TTOUCH™ work, please visit: www.callingallanimals.com

To connect with Patty Coggan and her Craniosacral work, join her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patty.coggan

Landmine claims new elephant victim on the 10th anniversary of 9/11

Monday, September 12th, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

While most of the United States was busy marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, half a world away, an endangered Asian Elephant suffered a brutal reminder of the ongoing war raging in Burma (Myanmar).

San Francisco, CA – September 13, 2011 – On Sunday, September 11, 2011, the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Hospital, the World’s First Elephant Hospital, located in Lampang, Thailand, received word that PaHaePo, a Thai male elephant, stepped on a landmine across the border in Burma.

After being stranded by high tides and stuck behind fallen trees from heavy rains, PaHaePo arrived at FAE late at night on September 12, 2011. He joins four other elephant landmine victims being treated at FAE’s Elephant Hospital. All five sustained their injuries in August or September, when heavy rainfall encourages low-lying greenery to take over mountainous trails used for logging and transport between villages–and rebel camps. Burma is the only country actively using landmines in its on-going civil war and no one knows whether government or rebel forces planted the landmines.

Soraida Salwala estimates that over 90 elephants have stepped on landmines since she opened FAE in 1993. Many died before they could receive treatment, and FAE has treated 15, rehabilitating four to date. Motala and Mosha, who stepped on landmines in 1999 and 2006, respectively, are permanent residents at FAE and walk with the assistance of the world’s first elephant-sized prostheses. These amazing feats of perseverance and ingenuity are documented in the feature-length documentary, “The Eyes of Thailand” <http://eyesofthailand.com>, Directed and Produced by Windy Borman and Produced by award-winning producer Tim VandeSteeg. “The Eyes of Thailand” is currently in the Post-production phase and scheduled to premiere in early 2012.

While filming “The Eyes of Thailand” in 2010, two new elephant landmine victims arrived at FAE. After 12 months, Boonmee’s foot is still not fully healed, but Maekapae’s has healed enough that her owner checked her out of the hospital the day after PaHaePo arrived.

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/eyesofthailand

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eyesofthailand

Website: http://www.eyesofthailand.com

Photos: http://twitter.com/SoraidaSalwala

Contact: Windy Borman | windy@dvaproductions.com

Director & Producer, “The Eyes of Thailand”

TTouch alleviates pain for elephant landmine survivors

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Photo credit: Jodi Frediani

Below is an excerpt from a longer article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on January 2, 2011:

Boonmee was depressed and in pain.

The 10-year-old Asian elephant was separated from her mother and her foot looked like a cauliflower. She’d stepped on a land mine near Thailand’s border in September, which blew her foot apart, and traveled for two days before arriving at the Friends of the Asian Elephant hospital in Lampang, Thailand.

By early November, the hospital’s staff worried that Boonmee was giving up, said Bonny Doon resident Jodi Frediani, 62, who visited the hospital last month. Boonmee wasn’t eating, was withdrawn and couldn’t walk easily. And, “she repeatedly, gently touched her cauliflower foot with the tip of her trunk,” Frediani said.

But then, Frediani tried using TTouch on Boonmee. The touch-based therapy is similar to gentle bodywork and can help relieve physical and emotional distress in animals.

TTouch appeared to revive the elephant’s spirit, and her previously glassy-eyed stare gave way to tears. Soon, Boonmee was offering areas to be worked on — like her enormous, large-eared head, which “she lowered so I could do some of the circular TTouches,” said Frediani, a 30-year practitioner of TTouch.

By the end of the day, Boonmee had become playful, even letting Frediani peel bananas for her.

“Boonmee had a new brightness and a twinkle in her eye,” said Windy Borman, a San Francisco-based filmmaker who traveled to Thailand with Frediani and observed the TTouch process. “The elephants definitely formed a connection with Jodi,” Borman said. “They remembered her and would come greet her.”

To read the rest of the story and view more photos by Jodi Frediani, click here.

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

Day Five: It’s a wrap at FAE’s Elephant Hospital

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Left to Right: Suzanne Roland, Patty Coogan, Anne Snowball, Soraida Salwala, Dr. Kay, Dr. Preecha, Jodi Frediani, director/producer Windy Borman.

Today I completed the 5-day film shoot at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital. It has been an emotional week and I decided to wrap  the day interviewing Soriada Salwala (FAE’s founder) and Dr. Preecha.

The quest of a documentary film shoot is to be at the right place at the right time to record the events as they happen in real time. Some of it is based on intuition, the rest is luck. U.S. daytime talk show host/extraordinaire Oprah Winfrey says, Luck is 90% Preparation and 10% Opportunity. However you define Luck, I definitely had some of it today. For example, when I interviewed Dr. Preecha, Mosha’s pen was behind him and Motala was off to his right.  When he said, “The main goal for an elephant’s prosthesis is not walking, but taking some of the weight off of the elephant’s other three legs” and then began to explain the difference between Mosha’s and Motala’s prostheses, Mosha, as if on cue and wearing her prosthesis, walked into the background of the shot and stopped when she was perfectly framed.

Next, after Soraida visited Boonmee–who is doing much better, by the way, but still not in the clear–she walked to the foreground of the frame to wash her hands.  With water and soap suds running down her hands she looked at me behind the camera and said, We need to remove these landmines from the ground. As she launched into the cowardice of countries who spend more money on weapons than landmine removal, Boonmee turned and limped toward Soraida also stopping within her frame so she wouldn’t miss a word Soraida said.

Intuition. Luck. Preparation. Opportunity. However you slice it, it was pretty cool to be in the creative groove to film these moments today–and it was a great way to wrap the shoot.

Tomorrow I’m off to Laos for the Youth Leaders Forum for the Cluster Munitions Convention. Next time I write, I’ll be in Vientiane!

Best,

Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

Day Four: Wild-caught elephant arrives at FAE’s Elephant Hospital

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

When we returned to FAE, Boonmee was still hanging on.  She was brighter than Day One, but still seemed tired so the volunteers watched Boonmee’s behavior but did not perform any TTouches on her. Craniosacral Volunteer Patty Coogan explained, “It’s a dance, how much we can do for them and how much they can take. Hopefully, we’ve showed her that life can be more peaceful if she can make it through.” We’ll continue to watch her and let you know.

FAE's staff inspects Bobo, an 8-year old wild-caught elephant, that arrived at the Elephant Hospital.

The big news today was that a new patient arrived. Bobo was originally a wild-caught elephant that has been held captive by three different mahouts (keepers). Because he was not born into a domesticated elephant community, he is more aggressive and his last keeper stabbed him in the back of his head twice to punish him. Initially, the keeper took him to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center’s (TECC) Hospital.  Because the TECC is a government-run center, the elephant keepers received the equivalent of Unemployment Funds for having their elephant stay there through the summer rainy season, when tourism is slow.  When the “unemployment” ran out, the keeper took the elephant out of TECC even though the wounds weren’t healed.

When Bobo arrived, Dr. Kay inspected his head by climbing up a scaffold.  Upon investigation, she dug out mothballs from a 6-inch deep wound, presumably a knife or bullhook wound inflicted by the keeper. As they washed the wound, it drained out through Bobo’s trunk, so Dr. Kay and Dr. Preecha suspect that the wound is deeper than they thought and has punctured his nasal cavity. Dr. Preecha will have to design and build a small tube to clean the wound and explore just how deep it goes, but it looks like it will take at least 3 months to heal, and that’s only if the owner agrees to keep him at FAE.

Dr. Kay cleans Bobo's head wounds at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

At one point I had to turn off my camera and leave the space to catch my breath. I was overcome with a wave of anger and grief that something so horrible could happen: how CITES laws were overlooked to capture this elephant from the wild in Thailand or Burma; how the owner could be so greedy that he wanted to buy a baby elephant as a status symbol; how the keepers could be so aggressive that they would stab an elephant in the back of a head with a knife or a hook; and, how greed won out again when the elephant’s health was in jeopardy.

I came back after a few minutes and watched Bobo eat his greens. It took me a moment to realize the extra suction noise I heard was coming from the top of his head as he chewed…

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

Photos provided by Jodi Frediani

Day Three: The aftermath of elephant landmine accidents

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Soraida encourages Motala, a 49-year old elephant landmine survivor, to put her weight on her prosthesis at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

Today the Prostheses Foundation returned with the new “tester” prosthesis for Motala.  Initially it looked like the shank of the limb was too short because Motala was swinging her leg without putting any weight on it. After Soraida Salwala (FAE’s Founder) spoke to her, she began to relax her elbow and put some weight on the prosthesis.  The leg was then long enough to reach the ground, so it appears she was avoiding it because it was uncomfortable.

As Dr. Preecha said, “If she was a person we could ask, ‘How does that feel?’ But she’s not, so we have to watch her behavior. If she was in pain, she wouldn’t move at all; but this shows us that the prosthesis is just uncomfortable”. Soraida believes that the leg could still be inflamed and the “tester” is too tight. So, the prosthesis is on its way back to Chiang Mai for more adjustments…

Dr. Kay cleans Boonmee's wound at FAE. Boonmee stepped on a landmine on September 11, 2010.

In other news, yesterday we saw a huge improvement in Boonmee.  While her wound looked better, by the end of the day her trunk was too weak to pick up her bananas to feed herself. Soraida tearfully explained that she has seen this before and is very worried that Boonmee may simply give up and decide to pass away.  Dr. Preecha explained that last month Mae Ka Pae’s leg looked as bad as Boonmee’s does now, so if she can stay alive, he’s optimistic her leg will heal, too. As we left for the evening, Soraida said, “I’m hoping for a miracle”.

I drove back to Chiang Mai with mixed emotions. On the one hand, Boonmee can decide whether she wants to fight and continue to live, or she can decide it’s too much and pass on. As humans, we like to think we have control over everything—the environment, other beings, our lives—but that argument is thrown out for me in light of these elephant landmine tragedies. They didn’t decide to step on a landmine. Boonmee, Motala, Mosha and Mae Ka Pae were in the forests because of human greed and the landmines were in the ground because of human fear and ego. They didn’t ask to be mutilated, we [humans] did this. So perhaps the most humane choice we can give them is whether they want to stay and fight or, as the Buddhist believe, leave and come back with a different life circumstance.

It will be interesting to see what Boonmee decides tonight…

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

A tear drips down Boonmee's cheek.

Day Two: Playfulness & Healing at FAE

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Prostheses Foundation staff take a sand cast of Motala's leg for a new prosthetic.

Today the Prostheses Foundation returned to the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital to remake Motala’s prosthesis.  This will be the elephant landmine survivor’s fourth prosthetic limb since August 2009 when I filmed her taking her first steps on four legs since stepping on a landmine on the Thai-Myanmar border in 1999.

Mae Ka Pae rests her healing hind foot.

While the staff began the two-day process of sand-casting, molding and welding, the T-Touch volunteers continued working on Mosha, Boonmee and Mae Ka Pae, the three other landmine survivors at FAE. Just look at the difference in Boonmee and Mosha after two days of craniosacral therapy and T-Touch!

Boonmee on November 1, 2010

John and Somchai perform T-Touch while Dr. Preecha watches.

But it wasn’t all work. FAE also has three baby elephants—Dante, Veto and Champoo (which means “pink” in Thai)—and their mothers at the hospital.

Kamnoi and Dante stroll in the sun.

Baby Dante says "Sawadee kop"

Stay tuned for pictures from the second day of prostheses building!

Elephant Size Hugs to Jodi Frediani for sharing her beautiful photos of the elephants at FAE.

Best,

Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

Day One at FAE’s Elephant Hospital

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Mosha, an elephant landmine survivor, with her mahout John at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

Going back to the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital was quite an emotional experience. Mosha (age 4) has grown a least a foot (no pun intended) taller since I saw her last August, but is still as playful as ever.  She was very curious to sniff the new volunteers and was walking around on her temporary prostheses.  She’s growing so fast the Prostheses Foundation is going to have to make her another soon!

Motala (age 49), on the other hand, is wearing her protective white bag over her stump again because her updated prostheses was irritating the sensitive skin on her stump. Thankfully, the Prostheses Foundation is coming back tomorrow to build her a new prostheses.  Stay tuned for pictures!

Mae Ka Pae soaking her hind leg in an antiseptic bath at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

Seeing Boonmee and Mae Ka Pae, the newest landmine survivors at FAE, was very hard. Mae Ka Pae, (age 22), who injured her hind leg after stepping on a landmine along the Thai-Myanmar border in August, is able to walk slightly better than when she first arrived at FAE. It’s still painful to watch her limp, but Dr. Preecha says her wound is healing well enough that they don’t think they’ll need to amputate her leg.

Boonmee prepares to soak her front foot in an antiseptic bath at FAE's Elephant Hospital.

Boonmee (age 10) is another story. Her front leg looks like an exploded flower and is not healing well, but Soraida Salwala, FAE’s founder, is more concerned about her depression.  This is the first time Boonmee has been separated from her mother and, on top of that, her mahout (owner) ran away and deserted her at FAE a month ago. Elephants are such emotional and social animals that this heartache can cause them to die from the loss.

Anne Snowball and Patty Coogan do Craniosacral therapy on Boonmee.

When we first saw her, Boonmee’s eyes were totally glassed over. Then, Jodi Frediani, Anne Snowball and Patty Coogan (three of the volunteers traveling with me) began using their T-Touch and Craniosacral therapy on Boonmee and she began to weep, letting go of some of her emotional and physical trauma.  She began to open up and soon was allowing Jodi, Anne and Patty to peel and feed her bananas. It was amazing to see this shift and her willingness to connect with us.

John, Mosha's mahout, practices T-Touches on Jodi Frediani's arm.

Later in the afternoon, Jodi, Anne, and Patty explained T-Touch and taught Dr. Kay and two of FAE’s mahouts (John and Somchai) three T-Touches, while Soraida translated. The staff at FAE were very receptive and picked up the touches quickly.

Jodi and Anne walk with Mosha.

Then all six went down and tried the T-Touches on Motala and Mosha.  After some initial confusion on the parts of the elephants, they liked it enough that each started presenting areas to be worked on.  Motala even presented her amputated leg for the women to work on and remove some of the pain from her stump!

Motala, a 49-year old elephant landmine survivor, presents her amputated leg for TTouch.

It was quite an experience to be back and witness another dimension of the healing and growth at FAE–and this is only the beginning! We’re here for four more days, so stay tuned.

Sincerely,

Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

Help make a movie about injured elephants

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Dear Friends, Family and Elephant Supporters,

As you know by now, I’m going back to Thailand to film the two newest elephant landmine survivors at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital (Oct 31-Nov 4) and then it’s on to Laos to attend the Youth Leaders Forum for the International Campaign to Ban landmines (Nov 7-12). But I need your help to get there!

In the past week we’ve raised $1,500 of the $3,000 needed for the 16-day documentary trip. Thank you for this amazing show of support!

We still have a ways to go, so if you’re still looking to donate or invest in the film, if you’ve always wanted to be in show biz, and if you want to help make a movie you’d be proud to see in the theaters, please help us today.

  1. Donate through the film’s fiscal sponsor, the San Francisco Film Society. All donations are tax-deductible and you can donate using a debit or credit card through a secure link via The Eyes of Thailand web site: http://eyesofthailand.com
  2. Transfer stock to the film via the SF Film Society. It’s also tax-deductible.

No donation is too small and all donations are tax-deductible! In recognition of your support, I am offering the following VIP perks to donors:

  • $25 = Personal thank you note from yours truly, plus a signed promotional postcard—it’ll be a collector’s item one day!
  • $100 = All of the above, plus thanked in the film’s credits.
  • $500 = All of the above, plus “Special Thanks” in the film’s credits and a signed DVD of the finished film.
  • $1,000 = All of the above, plus listed in the Partners section of The Eyes of Thailand web site.
  • $5,000+ = All of the above, plus a private screening for you and friends, plus a Q&A with me about the film.

Next, I’m hoping you can help me spread the word about my trip. The October 8, 2010 blog post contains a copy of the Press Release about my upcoming trip.  Please read it and then share the official link with your press contacts.  We’re hoping this goes global, so don’t be shy!

Finally, I’ll be blogging and posting updates on Facebook and Twitter from Thailand and Laos, so you can follow my progress. You can access all the updates via “The Eyes of Thailand” web site.

Thank you for continuing to support my quest to tell the world about the plight of the Asian Elephants and the ongoing threat of landmines. I could not do it without you!

Gratefully,

Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand

windy@dvaproductions.com

http://eyesofthailand.com

P.S. Donations of any size help and all donations are tax-deductible when made through the San Francisco Film Society. You can donate by either clicking the “Please Donate” link on the The Eyes of Thailand web site. Thank you so much! Krup kum ka!

ELEPHANTS LOSE LIMBS AND LIVES IN THAILAND

Friday, October 8th, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Name: Windy Borman

Email: windy@dvaproductions.com

ELEPHANTS LOSE LIMBS AND LIVES IN THAILAND

Award-winning Filmmakers’ fight for Elephant Landmine Survivors in new shocking documentary, “The Eyes of Thailand”, takes them to the International Convention to Ban Landmines in Laos

San Francisco, CA – October 8, 2010 – D.V.A. Productions, in association with Indiewood Pictures, currently in production on the powerful feature-length documentary film, The Eyes of Thailand, about the plight of Asian Elephants grossly injured and disfigured from stepping on forgotten landmines buried along the Thai-Myanmar border, will attend and film November’s International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)’s Youth Leaders Forum in Vientiane, Laos. The ICBL is a 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate responsible for bringing about the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The film is directed and produced by Windy Borman, who started the film three years ago, and produced by Tim VandeSteeg, who recently produced the award-winning documentary, My Run, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton.  What The Cove was for dolphins, The Eyes of Thailand is for elephants,” said Borman.

Borman is scheduled to return to the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital outside of Lampang, Thailand, where two widely publicized and recently injured elephants have been transported and are being treated for landmine accidents. It is this hospital and the work of its courageous founder, Soraida Salwala, that originally attracted Borman to the subject and launched her effort to capture the story in The Eyes of Thailand, a film set to be released in 2011.

This trip represents the final chapter since Borman’s last film shoot in August 2009, when she traveled to Thailand to film Motala, a 48-year old elephant landmine survivor, take her first step on her new prosthetic limb. Building Motala’s prosthesis was a 10-year quest for FAE’s founder, Soraida Salwala, and Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, Associate Professor of Thailand’s Prostheses Foundation. Motala arrived at FAE after stepping on a landmine along the Thai-Myanmar border in August 1999. It wasn’t until a baby elephant landmine survivor arrived at FAE in 2006 that they thought they could build prostheses to help the elephants walk again. Motala took her first steps on her prosthesis on August 16, 2009.

Unfortunately, on August 4, 2010, Mae Ka Pae arrived at FAE’s Elephant Hospital after stepping on a landmine along the Thai-Myanmar border.  One month later, Boonmee, stepped on a landmine and was transported to FAE.

According to Yeshua Moser-Puanguswan of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, “Thailand is a state party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and is clearing mines from its territory, mostly along its border with Cambodia. All of the elephants at the FAE hospital come from doing illegal logging in Burma, which has not joined the treaty and is the only country in the world today where landmines are being used on a widespread basis.”

“The anniversary of Motala taking her first steps on a prosthesis is bittersweet”, said Borman. “We need a film that can crack our collective consciousness and demand all nations sign and enforce the Mine Ban Treaty.  I hope The Eyes of Thailand can do that.”

Website: http://eyesofthailand.com

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