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Lawshall couple team up with Oscar-winning The King’s Speech producer for movie about the Asiatic cheetah

An environmentally conscious couple from Lawshall have joined forces with an Oscar-winning producer to bring their message about the plight of one of the world’s critically endangered animals to the big screen.

Playwright and conservationist Ric Edelman and his husband, Nigel Hughes of environmental and arts organisation Outstanding.Global, pictured left, were first inspired by the Asiatic cheetah when they were invited out to Iran in 2012.

Following more trips there, Ric wrote the screenplay for ‘Cheetah’, which was originally set for the theatre, but after it interested Hollywood film makers, the pair were introduced to Gareth Ellis-Unwin, one of the producers for The King’s Speech.

Nigel Hughes and Ric Edelman. Picture: Mark Westley
Nigel Hughes and Ric Edelman. Picture: Mark Westley

Cheetah, inspired by true events, follows a poacher turned conservationist who fights to protect the Asiatic cheetah, of which fewer than 50 remain in the deserts of northern Iran.

Nigel, who is executive producer on the project, said: “With this we want to show people this extraordinary creature that is under severe threat but we also want to present a glimmer of hope.

“To get people to accept the current reality of what our impact is making on nature, to realise that we need to adapt accordingly and then discover what we all can do about it.”

The movie, which is close to pre-production and aims to start shooting in the autumn, also has a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, which launched on April 12, and has already raised more than £57,000 so far.

Nigel said: “We are delighted and thank everyone for their donations so far. Without them we would not be where we are now, so we are hugely appreciative.

“Gorillas in the Mist was also a campaign film and it highlighted the plight of those gorillas and it did phenomenal work for that.

“So though this is a smaller scale independent British movie compared to that, we hope we can do the same for the Asiatic cheetah and hope with people’s support like this we can get the message out there.”

Listed as critically endangered in 1996, the Asiatic cheetah has been affected by loss of prey, due to antelope hunting and overgrazing from introduced livestock in its habitat.

To find out more about the film and to donate, go to www.cheetahthemovie.com

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