A powerful short animated film highlighting the plight of endangered animals is touching hearts and opening minds around the world. Produced for the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF), the production features a song from the classic musical Les Misérables and four endangered animals singing about the gradual devastation of their kind.
In the film “Dream,” produced by WCFF’s Christopher J. Gervais and Zombie Studios, a blue whale, a brown pelican, a rhinoceros, and a baby harp seal tell their stories.
Featuring voice artists Natalie Bergman, Ryan Merchant, Keenan O’Meara, and Tal Altman, the story begins with stunning animated footage of each creature basking in their natural habitat.
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The blue whale breaches majestically, and the brown pelican skims the surface of the ocean with the tip of his wing. The rhinoceros runs and plays with her baby, and a pair of harp seal cubs lark about in the snow.
Halfway through the 3-minute film short, however, the tone undergoes a menacing shift. Men in ships, carelessly brandishing harpoons, clubs, machetes, and spilled oil, trespass into the animals’ habitats, brutally maim them, and walk away with the trophies they came for.
The seal pup, cowering beneath a half-circle of men brandishing knives, has the last line. “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed,” he sings. It’s a gut-wrenching finale and an equally moving insight into the suffering of some of the world’s most vulnerable creatures.
After being shared with the world on YouTube, “Dream” has been watched over 2 million times. Comments from viewers who were deeply touched by the film’s sentiment flooded in.
“It actually makes me ashamed to be human,” wrote one person. “How [can] the rest of the world sleep at night knowing that this is happening all over the world?”
“This video shook me to my core,” wrote another. “It’s an amazing representation of the world we live in [and] paints the dream-killers in the way the dreamers see us.”
Since its release, “Dream” has won huge critical acclaim, including the prestigious Golden Lion for Music and Silver Lion for Film awards at the 64th Annual International Festival of Creativity in Cannes in 2017.
Although “Dream” was produced and first shared in 2016, its message is even more relevant today than it ever was. Blue whales and brown pelicans remain endangered, and the status of the rhinoceros has been updated to “critically endangered” by the World Wildlife Fund.
However, the Seal Conservation Society has recorded that the harp seal population is increasing despite the persistence of seal hunting, intimating that there is hope for these targeted creatures.
The WCFF is on a self-proclaimed mission to “inform, engage, and inspire audiences about the need for and importance of the protection of global biodiversity” through films, educational outreach, and networking events.
The initiative attracts not only people who are working in the fields of wildlife conservation, filmmaking, cinematography, and science but people all over the world who are interested in the preservation of endangered plant and animal life.
“Don’t let the dream go extinct,” read the last, poignant words of the WCFF’s impactful short film. The plight of endangered animals persists, but so does the WCFF’s determination to make a difference.