As Kenya cracks down on the illegal ivory trade, poachers risk not only universal moral outrage but incarceration and even death. Why do they do it? This stunning documentary takes place on the front lines of wildlife conservation, bringing both sides of the fight into movingly sharp focus.
X is an ivory dealer, Lukas one of his best poachers. Elephant hunting isn’t just their job—it’s their heritage, a familial tradition that began well before its banning at the behest of outsiders. Asan is a ranger, working with one of the many conservancies established in the bush to protect the elephants. He also happens to be X’s cousin.
Director Jon Kasbe immersed himself in the lives of these men for three years to examine their often-conflicted motives as they struggle to survive in a world of shifting resources, both environmental and financial. As Kasbe explains in his director’s statement, “These are charismatic, complicated, and relatable men who do illegal or abhorrent things. I didn’t understand them, and I wanted to.” He made When Lambs Become Lions “to show that we can’t keep talking about the conservation crisis while ignoring the people living at the center of it.”
Director Jon Kasbe will be in attendance for all screenings.
Editor: Frederick Shanahan, Caitlyn Greene, Jon Kasbe | Cinematographer: Jon Kasbe | Screenwriter: Innbo Shim