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Title: Tyke: Elephant Outlaw
Description: Documentary

Space4Eles - August 18, 2013 09:04 AM (GMT)
Tyke: Elephant Outlaw

Tyke: Elephant Outlaw is told through extraordinary archive of Tyke’s life, her rampage and its aftermath, and the sharply contrasting perspectives of those involved in her story – trainers, owners, families of those affected and witnesses. Ultimately, the film raises fundamental questions about our deep and mysterious connection to other species.

spiritedlulu - April 1, 2015 02:24 AM (GMT)
Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore’s Tyke Elephant Outlaw to have its World Premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival, Florida. Tyke Elephant Outlaw, the Australian feature documentary film, will have its world premiere next month at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida, one of the largest regional film festivals in the US.

spiritedlulu - April 18, 2015 12:21 AM (GMT)
‘Tyke,’ Debuting in Circus-Rich Sarasota, Reignites Elephant Debate

“In another festival you can get lost,” said producer-director Susan Lambert. “Here we have a story to tell.”Tyke tells the story of an elephant who escaped from Circus International in Hawaii after killing her trainer before being gunned down and killed by police in the streets of Honolulu. The story of Tyke’s death became a rallying cry for animal activists angry about circus treatment of pachyderms, and the documentarians with this film hope to do the same now. But circus professionals are already calling the expertise of the filmmakers into question, saying they won’t stand a mischaracterization of practices.

spiritedlulu - April 19, 2015 07:32 PM (GMT)
Remembering an elephant rampage in Altoona

“We never saw this as an animal rights campaign,” Mr. Moore said. “We wanted to go inside the industry, but what ultimately might evolve from this is the most persuasive film about how we treat animals and who we are as a species. We have seen ourselves at the top of a great chain [of animals], and I think that awareness is changing.”

spiritedlulu - April 19, 2015 07:40 PM (GMT)
Documentary depicts Tyke as tragic figure, not outlaw

When he decided to tell the story of Tyke, the circus elephant that rampaged through Honolulu in 1994, documentary filmmaker Stefan Moore knew the collective memory of that event was overwhelmingly negative.

Tyke had crushed her trainer to death on the floor of the Blaisdell Arena as parents and children screamed. And her dash for freedom ended in a hail of police gunfire in Kakaako. Cameras captured every moment.

"Up to this point, I think Tyke has been largely perceived as either a bad seed or an incomprehensible force of nature," Moore said.

But to his great surprise, the filmmaker discovered never-before-seen news footage that helps transform Tyke from an angry killer to a tragic figure. Moore says his documentary, "Tyke Elephant Outlaw," is a redemptive drama filled with trauma, outrage, insight and compassion.

The documentary — which Moore is directing and producing with his wife, Susan Lambert, and co-producer Megan McMurchy — includes interviews with the trainers and handlers who worked with Tyke. But it sets the tone with unedited footage Moore found in the Hawaii News Now archives in 2012.

This time, the cameras captured Tyke's peaceful arrival at Honolulu Harbor and the Blaisdell as well as closeups of her dark, weary eyes.

"They are evocative, beautiful shots of Tyke, and that really allowed us to create Tyke as the protagonist, as the central character of the film," Moore said. "I almost couldn't believe what I was watching when the tape began playing. I just about jumped out of my chair."

Tyke was in Honolulu with Circus International and her Aug. 20, 1994, rampage occurred on the last day of the circus. It traumatized Honolulu.

After crushing her trainer, Allen Campbell, the elephant fled through Kakaako for half an hour. When police brought her down, firing at her with rifles, some onlookers screamed at them to stop while others threw bottles. One officer wept.

Getting those who worked with Tyke to discuss what happened wasn't easy, Moore said. The filmmaker and his team repeatedly stressed they were not trying to make an animal rights propaganda film. They just wanted to tell what happened.

"Quite frankly, to most people in the circus industry if you mention the name Tyke, it is guaranteed to get the door shut in your face," Moore said. "The Tyke incident was the worst blemish in the history of the American circus industry."

The trainers and handlers described a troubled, strong-willed animal that rebelled in the face of what Moore called "rough and often brutal treatment."

The signs of impending violence ranged from Tyke rubbing a trainer with her tusk — until he cut it off — to the elephant bolting from two previous performances, Moore said. In Altoona, Pa., police were ready to gun her down. Months later at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot, Tyke nearly killed a man.

One former elephant groom even recalls warning Campbell to be careful around Tyke.

"The people who agreed to participate in the film had all, to some degree, questions about what happened in the Tyke incident," Moore said. "They were either angry that she was allowed to perform — the owner kept sending Tyke out to make money — or they had some sort of awakening about the kind of training that animals received in the circus."

Moore submitted the 78-minute documentary to several film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival, and recently contacted the Hawaii International Film Festival with the hope of screening to an audience familiar with Tyke. He's also hoping for a TV audience.

The documentary includes multiple eyewitness accounts of Tyke's final outburst, but one of the most remarkable interviews for Moore was with the city truck driver who was ordered to load Tyke onto a flatbed truck and take her to the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill in Nanakuli.

Moore wanted to film at the landfill, but the city said no, adding that no one remembered exactly where Tyke was dumped.

AND that's a wrap …

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at Reach him at 529-4803 or email

spiritedlulu - April 19, 2015 07:45 PM (GMT)
News article from August 2013

Tale of Tyke the elephant disturbs, inspires filmmaker

When it comes to drama, few things can top an angry African elephant running through a city before a barrage of gunfire finally ends the rampage.

Documentary filmmaker Stefan Moore instantly understood that when he learned about Tyke, the circus elephant who crushed her trainer to death in front of a screaming audience at the Blaisdell Arena on Aug. 20, 1994.

He saw mystery and allegory in the incident. And sadness, too.

The 69-year-old Moore hopes he can turn those themes into a powerful documentary that he's directing and producing with his wife, Susan Lambert, and co-producer Megan McMurchy.

"Although it was almost 20 years ago now, it is an incredibly dramatic story that is vividly remembered," Moore said in a phone call from his home in Sydney, Australia. "There are very few instances that I can think of where thousands of people witness the loss — the violent loss — of two lives. One was an elephant trainer attempting to save the life of another person and the other was a huge magnificent animal shot down in the streets of Hono­lulu."

The incident, which happened on the last day Circus International was scheduled to perform in Honolulu, traumatized the city. Many of those in the audience were young children.

But dozens of other people watched, stunned, as Tyke fled through Kakaako for half an hour. And then they watched, tears streaming down the faces of some, as police opened fire with rifles. Some screamed at the officers to stop while others threw bottles at them. One officer wept.

Moore came across the story three years ago while doing research on a project on animal law. The incident made Tyke a symbol of circus tragedies and animal rights, he said. For Moore, the elephant's story raised questions about the relationship between humans and animals.

"There is one part of Tyke's story that is detective story: Why did she snap?" Moore said. "Was it an action of the trainer or the handler? Or was it her years in captivity and the possibility that she was abused over the years?"

Or were her actions, as an attorney for Tyke's owner put it, "an unpredictable, irrational act of God, like a flood or a storm"?

Moore thinks that Tyke's violent rampage — her third in 18 months — was prompted by trauma that began when she was captured in Mozambique.

"She witnessed her entire family killed in front of her," he said. "She was chained and flown to the U.S., where she spent the next 20 years of her life in captivity and made to perform."

MOORE has been making documentaries since 1972, when he worked on "The Irish Tapes," a black-and-white project about the violence in Northern Ireland. He was an independent producer in New York and wound up working the CBS series "48 Hours."

In 1995, Moore moved to Australia, where he and his wife began Jumping Dog Productions. The two serve as producers, writers and directors on their projects, which include films on China's automobile revolution ("The Cars That Ate China"), Australian housewives who poisoned their husbands ("Recipe for Murder") and Japan's underground dominatrix culture ("Tokyo Bound").

Their documentary about Tyke is in pre-production and they hope to be in Hawaii next spring to film interviews and locations. They also plan to interview Tyke's former trainers and draw from news footage, home videos and photos taken that day.

But those images are certain to remind everyone of the trauma: the crushing of trainer Allen Campbell, the storm of bullets, too, and a blood-covered Tyke hoisted by a crane onto a flatbed truck for transport to a landfill.

If you have a Tyke story for Moore, email him at

AND that's a wrap …

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at Reach him at 529-4803 or email

spiritedlulu - April 22, 2015 01:38 AM (GMT)
Emotions ran high at the Sarasota Film Festival screening as pro and anti-circus groups faced off.

spiritedlulu - May 20, 2015 09:45 PM (GMT)
Washington D.C. - Just Announced: TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW is part of the AFI DOCS upcoming film festival to be held June 17-21st. Two showings: Thurs June 18th and Sat June 20th (more details @ link).

via AFI: AFI DOCS is an international documentary festival in the nation's capital. Screenings during this annual five day event take place in landmark venues in Washington, DC and the world-class AFI Silver Theatre, the independent film hub of the metropolitan region. Documentaries in the festival are seen by influential audiences that have the ability to shape our society such as cultural leaders, senators, congresspersons and Supreme Court Justices.

AFI DOCS, reaching millions of people annually, shines a bright light on documentary film and issues addressed in the work of storytellers from around the world. With the presence of artists, audience members and political leaders, AFI DOCS harnesses the power of this important art form and its potential to inspire change.

The festival is the only one of its kind to connect audiences and documentary filmmakers to policy leaders in the seat of our nation's government.

spiritedlulu - June 3, 2015 01:47 PM (GMT)
Sydney Film Festival film tells tragic story of Tyke the circus elephant

“On a fundamental level the film is a metaphor and a parable for human behaviour, for what we do and how it comes back to haunt us,” Moore told the Courier.

spiritedlulu - July 13, 2015 05:09 PM (GMT)
via Twitter:

Tyke Elephant Outlaw will be screening in the prestigious @bbcstoryville documentary slot on BBC Four on July 22 at 9pm - spread the word!

spiritedlulu - July 21, 2015 11:11 PM (GMT)
‘Circus Elephant Rampage’ tells the story of Tyke the elephant, who died in a hail of gunfire after she broke free from a circus in Hawaii and went on the rampage, killing her trainer. Ahead of its UK broadcast on BBC4 tomorrow at 9pm, producers/directors Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore said: “Tyke’s tragic story is a powerful example of why campaigns like ADI’s are so vital to ending the use of wild animals in entertainment." There have already been too many animal and human victims of abusive circus acts and governments who have yet to ban them must act. Read more

Space4Eles - July 22, 2015 11:28 AM (GMT)
To be screened across the UK tonight at 9:00pm, and available online shortly after broadcast:

Circus Elephant Rampage

The gripping and emotionally-charged story of Tyke, a circus elephant who went on a rampage in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1994, killed her trainer in front of thousands of spectators and died in a hail of gunfire.

Her break for freedom - filmed from start to tragic end - traumatised a city and ignited a global battle over the use of animals in the entertainment industry. Looking at what made Tyke snap, the film goes back to meet the people who knew her and were affected by her death - former trainers and handlers, circus industry insiders, witnesses to her rampage, and animal rights activists for whom Tyke became a global rallying cry.

Tyke is the central protagonist in this tragic but redemptive tale that combines trauma, outrage, insight and compassion. This moving documentary raises fundamental questions about our deep and mysterious connection to other species.

spiritedlulu - July 26, 2015 07:21 AM (GMT)
via CAPS:

Everyone's been talking about the recent, heartbreaking story of Tyke the elephant, that aired on BBC4 earlier this week.

After a lifetime of suffering in the circus, Tyke finally had enough. She escaped, and frightened and confused, rampaged through the local area, until she was eventually shot to death.

On our blog, a CAPS team member writes about what she saw, and we discuss it's relevence now, and the need to keep reminding our MP's that the UK wants a ban:

If you'd like to see the documentary, there's a link from our blog post too. Please be aware the film is heart breaking and at times, graphic.

Did you see the documentary? What were your thoughts?

spiritedlulu - August 26, 2015 01:04 AM (GMT)
Listen to the filmmakers talk about Tyke's powerful story, podcast available online from KBOO FM. #animalrights

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