EXCLUSIVE: The documentary King Of Beasts offers viewers a close-up on the world of the controversial “sport” of lion hunting, which has drawn plenty of attention lately. Produced by Annie Costner and Adrienne Hall of Sound Off Films, the docu follows Aaron Neilson, a prominent professional hunter from Colorado, as he chases his 14th lion trophy during an arduous 25-day hunt of an African lion. Ironically, the pic was filmed the same month as the highly publicized killing of Cecil the Lion, a major attraction Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe who was unceremoniously shot dead by a dentist from Minnesota.
King Of Beasts reveals the tragic and complex nature of the recreation that provides a significant revenue stream for conservation and anti-poaching efforts in Africa, allowing hunters to defend their right to hunt as vital to the conservation of the species. Many respected conservationists affirm that an outright ban on trophy hunting would do more to harm species in the short term by creating an enforcement vacuum where illegal activity would run rampant.
The documentary is in postproduction, and no release date has been announced. Gabrielle Almagor, Bryan Gambogi, and Nadav Harel also serve as producers with Tomer Almagor and Nadav Harel co-directing. Costner and Hall worked together on the Discovery Channel’s film Racing Extinction, which focuses on endangered species and the race to protect them against mass extinction. Racing Extinction opened in theaters on September 18 and premieres December 2 on Discovery.