Using Filmmaking to Create Change
My love of wildlife and filmmaking began as a small child watching my father's homemade wildlife documentaries of Africa in the attic cinema of our London home. Neither of us could have imagined then that many decades later, indeed 17 years after my father left this mortal coil, my own wildlife documentaries would not only win awards all over the world, but they would be instrumental in helping to pass historic legislation in the United Kingdom that would mark the beginning of the end for the heinous and despicable legal trade in the trophy hunting of endangered species.
Whenever my father visited Africa on business, he traveled with a tiny suitcase of clothes and an enormous suitcase of Super 8 camera gear. In every spare minute from work, he was filming wildlife, and he shared that love, that vision, and that passion with me. This fact has directed everything that followed in my life. My father was the quintessential Englishman and a paragon of integrity, intelligence, charm, and strength. He was my role model and my hero. The passion I hold for standing up at all costs against what is wrong to defend what I believe is right came from my father. None have held a candle to him. None ever will.
My award-winning, hard-hitting documentaries (available for streaming) unearth the deepest, darkest secrets of the trophy-hunting industry like never before. There are currently two films available: LAND OF THE FREE: IN THE SHADOWS and LAND OF THE FREE: OUT OF THE SHADOWS.
The world premiere of the second film took place in London's House of Commons on June 29th, 2022, to an invitation-only audience of lawmakers, Ministers, VIPs, and celebrities. On November 24th, 2022, the Bill to ban the imports of trophy hunting passed through The House of Commons unopposed.
Increasingly I feel we are becoming aware that these are loving, thinking, feeling, sentient beings with hearts, minds, emotions, and very individual personalities. They are not commodities to be used and abused for perverse blood lust and ego. Even more sinister is the trophy-hunting fraternity's perceived belief that it is their God-given right to interfere with the policies of foreign sovereign nations if it does not suit their agenda to kill the most precious and endangered of our planet's natural wonders.
My films bring the nefarious lengths and subversive disinformation activities of the trophy hunting industry "out of the shadows" in a confronting and well-researched exposé that no one else has ever dared to produce before. Hollywood royalty, including Priscilla Presley and Tippi Hedren, join British Royalty Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II and icons such as Dame Dr. Jane Goodall, Virginia McKenna OBE star of the immortal classic BORN FREE, BAFTA-winner Peter Egan, His Excellency President Ian Seretse Khama from Botswana (2008-2018), winner of the Albert Schweitzer Award (2019) John Thompson from Washington DC, and many others. Their shared objective was to end the practice of slaughtering endangered species for gratuitous pride, pleasure, and profit.
Filmed both overtly and covertly in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda, South Africa, the UK, the USA, and Australia, this remarkable film is directed by Emmy-nominated James Ganiere, with a musical score by Grammy-nominated Mauritz Lotz and a sound mix by Oscar-winner Nigel Christensen. Musically, it features original songs by the Mzansi Youth Choir of Soweto and a title track from Richard Loring's international stage sensation AFRICAN FOOTPRINT. Conceived, written, and produced by yours truly, Lynn Santer.
Richard Loring's international musical stage sensation AFRICAN FOOTPRINT premiered on Millennium Eve, on Robben Island, with Nelson Mandela, to an estimated television audience of 1.5 billion, before receiving standing ovations in 4,000 performances around the world.
The Mzansi Youth Choir of Soweto is the inspirational brainchild of Jannie Zaaiman, who has plucked children from the slums of Soweto to train them in their God-given gift of music. Often these children had no parents, no inside toilet facilities, and not enough food to eat every day. Yet despite their horror start in life, these gifted and cheerful souls have gone on to receive standing ovations in the Royal Albert Hall in London and have performed with superstars as diverse as Andrea Bocelli to Beyoncé.
After two successful collaborations with me on my two LAND OF THE FREE documentaries, the Mzansi Youth Choir is already working with me on a third project called SWAN SONG. On the face of it, this newly released anthropomorphized dramedy novel that is being likened to WIND IN THE WILLOWS and WATERSHIP DOWN (already receiving international critical acclaim) has nothing whatsoever to do with either the campaign to ban trophy hunting or a Youth Choir on a continent very far away from the Australian shores that inspired this tale of tails. However, my close friend Priscilla Presley has attached herself as Executive Producer to SWAN SONG for an animated musical feature film adaptation of the novel, and 10% of all receipts from this project are being donated to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting as we prepare for the next David and Goliath battle when the Bill to ban the imports of trophy hunting travels through the House of Lords in 2023 on its way to becoming cemented into law.
Musically, Priscilla, Richard Loring, and the Mzansi Youth Choir all see SWAN SONG as having the potential to become another LION KING on film, on stage, in merchandising, gaming, and hit songs.
LAND OF THE FREE is the winner of these awards (so far), in addition to over 30 Finalist and Official Selection accolades.
WINNER Excellence Award Best Short Documentary Film, Accolade Global Film Competition
WINNER Best Production, International World Film Awards
WINNER Excellence Award Best Short Documentary Film, San Diego Movie Awards
WINNER Audience Choice Best Short Documentary Film & GRAND PRIZE Best Short Documentary Film, Marina del Rey Film Festival
WINNER Best Short Documentary Film, Florence Film Awards
WINNER Best Nature & Wildlife Film, Cannes World Film Festival – Remembering the Future
WINNER Best Short Documentary Amsterdam International Film Festival
WINNER Best Movie Music, Garden State Film Festival New Jersey
WINNER Best Environmental Documentary Berlin Independent Film Festival
WINNER Mykonos International Film Festival
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About the Author
Internationally acclaimed film producer and best-selling author Lynn Santer, enterprisingly sent her first story, The Magical Scarecrow, to a publisher at the tender age of nine years old. Even then, the publisher recognized her writing skills and encouraged her to write again when she was “a little...