OPENING NIGHT FILM
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Mia and her brother’s lives are turned upside down when their parents decide to leave London to take over their family’s lion farm in South Africa. A rare white lion named Charlie is born, and the influx of new tourists might provide a sustainable source of revenue for the farm. However, Mia, still feeling a bit cagey in her new surroundings, is reluctant to find any joy in this foreign land. To her surprise, she develops a close bond with Charlie. Three years later, Mia’s life is shaken once again when she uncovers an upsetting secret that her father has been keeping about the farm. Distraught that Charlie could be in harm, Mia decides to run away with the full grown lion. The two set off on an epic adventure across the African savanna. Following a traditional legend of the Shangaan people, Mia sets out to find a home where Charlie can live out his life safe and free. This incredible project was developed and filmed in real time over the course of five years as the cast and animals aged and formed real bonds with each other. The filmmakers used no special effects and every interaction with the animals was captured live. Mia and the White Lion is one for those rare family films that will find its way into the canon of great films starring animals, such as Fly Away Home and Black Stallion.
Join us on Opening Night for an evening of celebration and enjoy some South African treats! Learn hand-drawn animation and experience a possible virtual future of Toronto with Lisa Jackson’s VR, Biidaaban: First Light.
Themes: self-reliance, family, animal rights and protection, love, environmental stewardship, human behaviour, generational divide, mental health, capitalism, traditional teachings
Advisory: Though no animals were harmed in the production of this film, an adult lion is shot from close range, and appears to be killed. Also, there are a few tense encounters with children and lions.
This film is recommended for ages 11+