FEBRUARY 20, 2024 7 PM EST
Snow Leopards & Friends
Directed and Co-Produced by Xi Zhinong
Running Time: 85 minutes
Introduced by Chenglin Xuan and Xi Zhinong
Film Zoom link:
Six years in the making, Snow Leopards & Friends is the first Chinese documentary about the snow leopard (“the ghost of the mountain”). It offers a breath-taking visit to the remote Qinghai-Xizang Plateau – “where the earth rises to meet the heavens” – in China’s Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve. Renowned wildlife cameraman Xi Zhinong works with three young yak herders to capture the lives of this endangered species, the other fauna in the mountainous ecosystem, the stark beauty of the landscape, and the few families who live there.
The altitude of the area (more than 15,000 feet above sea level) is a harsh environment for survival and an even more challenging location to make a film about a reclusive animal. Camera drones helped to some extent, but the film really depends on the three “shutterbug herders” – Zi Ding, Qu Peng, and Da Jie – who worked with director Xi Zhinong. These three young men grew up in the mountains defending their yaks from the many predators in the region. When the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve was established in 2006, guns were banned and the men needed to find another way to understand the snow leopard and protect their livelihood. Through the knowledge gained by their filmmaking, the yak herders eventually become protectors of the snow leopard. They also capture many amazing moments never seen before in nature documentaries: Tibetan wolves attacking a yak herd in daylight, bar-headed geese migrating from India, a blue bear cub playing with its mother, musk deer (a species with fangs), twin snow leopard cubs in their den, and the unique protective relationship between Bharal sheep and snow leopards.
The documentary captures the most primitive and authentic forces of nature in an absolutely spectacular setting and provides an opportunity to reflect on wildlife, how humans can coexist with animals, and the need for conservation. You will most likely be touched by the power and strength of the life depicted in the film which also aspires to further conversations about climate, the role of national parks, the importance of biodiversity, the fragility of life, and protecting the global environment.
Snow Leopards & Friends was an official section at seven international film festivals and has won four best nature documentary awards. You can watch a trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaVmD_qmm_w
CHENGLIN XUAN. Second Secretary at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Culture and Tourism.
XI ZHIZHONG Xi Zhinong,, born in 1964 in Yunnan Province, China, is a famous wildlife photographer and filmmaker, founder of "Wild China" studio.
Xi Zhinong has been committed to photographing and protection of wild animals in China, and practices the belief that the power of images can promote nature conservation.
In May 2022, he was awarded the National Geographic Society's 2022 Wayfinder Award. His works have been widely published in well-known journals such as "National Geographic"and "China Photography", and have become publicity materials for major international environmental protection organizations. He won the "Endangered Species" Award of the British BG wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and the "TVE Award "of the British Wildscreen Festival. It the first Chinese photographer to win awards in these two competitions.These excellent works have also won him a lot of honors such as Excellent Photographer of "China Photography" , China Photography Media Award Photographer of 2004 and "Earth Award "" Mother River Protection Award" and so on. He was also appointed "Yunnan Environmental Ambassador" by the Yunnan Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau for his contributions.