An indelible tale of friendship and commitment set against the luminous beauty of the Central African Rainforest. Together, elephant behavioral biologist, Andrea Turkalo, and indigenous tracker, Sessely Bernard, are tested by the realities of war and the limits of hope for the majestic animals they have committed their lives to study and protect.
“Riveting! Touching, important, beautiful...it opened my eyes."
With unprecedented footage, Elephant Path / Njaia Njoku captures the beauty and behavior of the rare and elusive Forest Elephants. Our guides - Sessely Bernard, a tracker and elder of the Bayaka people, and Andrea Turkalo, an American field biologist, join eco-guard Zephirine Mbele in Dzanga Bai, a rainforest clearing in the Central African Republic.
The Seleka, an alliance of rebel militia groups, takes control of the government and region. Andrea flees to the United States, Sessely leads his family into the rainforest, and Zephirine retreats to a nearby village. They must leave the Forest Elephants at risk of being poached during the occupation.
"Elephant Path/Njaia Njoku draws an intimate portrait of the lives of the elusive forest elephants and how their fate is intertwined with the indigenous people sharing their forest and those who aim to protect and study them. It is a must-watch for all who are seeking authentic insights into conservation and research in the context of the uncertain political situation in Central Africa."
“The sculptor Todd McGrain has made a name for himself, over a thirty-year career, as the creator of sculptural monuments to birds that have been the victims of 'human-caused extinction.' It’s not, therefore, entirely surprising that he has directed a documentary about forest elephants, Elephant Path / Njaia Njoku...”
“Beautifully crafted and poetic documentary”
“Director Todd McGrain is not interested in manipulating our emotions. He lets the people and images speak for themselves. The result is poetry — and oddly inspiring.”