Case Study

The Elephant Queen

Bringing together Wildlife and conservation educators!

Ten years in the making, The Elephant Queen defies genre as a blue-chip wildlife film with a character-driven narrative. It is an epic journey following the matriarch, Athena, as she leads her herd across the merciless savanna in a time of extreme drought. Directors Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble and their assistant director, Etienne Oliff, were committed to making sure the film had a positive impact on wild elephant conservation in Kenya as well as engaging a broad, global audience.


The Elephant Queen team designed the film to immerse viewers into the world of an elephant family, taking them on an emotional journey that is a catalyst for positive action. The story reflects the interconnectivity in the natural world, weaving the lives of elephants with the animals that live at elephant toenail height. 

Camera placement at eye level of both elephants and smaller wildlife enables viewers to experience the natural world from different perspectives, and provides a rare intimacy that inspires empathy.

The lighter, humorous scenes strategically provide viewers levity and joy alongside the more poignant and heart-wrenching sequences and made the film more accessible to general audiences of all ages. 


Early in production they set up and ran a 3-day workshop at the Kivukoni school in Kenya to ascertain what education and outreach tools would be most useful for communities and children in areas of high human-wildlife conflict. The workshop brought together wildlife and conservation educators, most of whom had not met before.

The team have collaborated closely with leading organizations in Kenya such as Wildlife Direct and Save the Elephants, extending their reach into communities. Apple supported their outreach vision by donating a percentage of each streaming of the film in 2019 to Wildlife Conservation Network for elephant conservation work in Kenya.


Using what they learned from the collaborative workshop, the team created extensive educational materials housed on a Kenya-based website with four primary sections. The “Discover Elephants” section showcases a series of short, entertaining yet educational films available in Kiswahili, Maa, and English.

These are accompanied by activity books and a guide for educators, as well as interviews with leading Kenyan elephant experts to inspire local youth toward careers in wildlife conservation.

In the “Teaching Resources” page, they developed a series of 28 learn-to-read books based on animals in the film, and The “Elephant Crisis” section provides opportunities and resources to learn about the issues and get involved with Kenya-based conservation organizations.

The website,, is only accessible in Kenya with all materials available free of charge. The film itself is available for free to schools and communities within Kenya in English, Kiswahili and Maa. Outside of Kenya, the film is available on Apple TV+. 

With their partners at Bestseller Foundation and Save the Elephants, they launched “The Elephant Queen Mobile Cinema” in 2021.

An all Kenyan outreach team will tour the truck across Kenya, with emphasis on areas of high human-wildlife conflict. The film and its supporting materials act as a conversation starter for Save the Elephants to build conservation capacity within communities.

Measuring Impact

The Elephant Queen created a “National Moment” in Kenya with a free national broadcast on Easter Sunday 2020 on Kenya’s most popular TV station. On the day of the broadcast, the film became the highest trending topic on Twitter in Kenya.

Dr. Harry Williams is working with Dr. Diogo Veríssimo and Dr. Lucy King at Save the Elephants to compare attitudes before, during and after screenings in remote communities of high human-wildlife conflict. The team intends to publish their findings in a scientific journal following analyses. 


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