Poacher Director Nabs PETA India Award for Use of CGI Animals Just in Time for Save the Elephant Day

Posted on by Erika Goyal

Director Richie Mehta received PETA India’s Tech, Not Terror Award for using cutting-edge computer-generated imagery (CGI) instead of live animals in Poacher, a series about an elephant ivory–poaching ring in India, just in time for Save the Elephant Day (16 April). The harrowing drama – based on real events – is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The Amazon Original crime thriller, which centres on a group of forest officials, is based on Operation Shikar, an extensive, years-long effort by the Kerala Forest Department to dismantle a widespread network of illegal ivory poaching and smuggling. The thought-provoking series explores many ways animals are exploited by humans.

“I’m honoured to receive this award on behalf of the entire Poacher team, from the producers at QC Entertainment, who supported my vision to employ CGI for all of the animals depicted, to the visual effects team at MPC India for bringing the animals vividly to life and our amazing VFX supervisor and post-production colour and sound team for adding the final touches. Our aim was indeed to examine speciesism from a visual standpoint and illustrate how it manifests itself in the real world, but we aimed never to commit the same sin during the depiction of it. My gratitude goes to PETA India for this recognition and all of the work they do to alleviate animal suffering around the world.”

 – Mr. Richie Mehta

Animals used in film or television are often subjected to physical punishment, food deprivation, and other abusive training tactics and are frequently kept chained or caged in deplorable conditions when not being made to perform.

Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals, and in their natural habitat they may spend their entire lives with their families. As a result of their abuse, many captive elephants retaliate. These animals deserve the same protection afforded to other wild animals through the prohibition of their use in performances. The use of CGI to portray animals is rapidly increasing as filmmakers learn how animals suffer in the entertainment industry. Other directors recognised by PETA entities for using CGI include Rupert Wyatt for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Darren Aronofsky for Noah, and Jon Favreau for The Jungle Book.

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