A Bolivian park ranger and a young Hong Kongese journalist risk their lives to go undercover and investigate a new, deadly jaguar trade that’s sweeping South America. Along the way, they grapple with questions of empathy, responsibility and bridging a cultural gap to prevent the jaguar trade from spiraling out of control.
Shuttling between the breathtaking biodiversity of Madidi National Park in Bolivia and the tense China-Myanmar border, this film juxtaposes the tranquility and splendor of the jungle against the small-minded, sadistic nature of man, its destroyer.
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The six year commitment from director Elizabeth Unger to make this year’s best environmental film “Tigre Gente” pays off in spades as she documents the commitment of her protagonists who put their lives at risk to protect the South American jaguar. But her commitment didn’t stop in the Bolivian rainforest — this film takes viewers to China and Hong Kong to explore the cultural divide that unexpectedly interconnects wildlife and the hidden risks that await them halfway across the world. Although focusing on the jaguar specifically, this film is an allegory for the interconnectedness of all living things. Tigre Gente’s gripping storytelling hooks the viewer into the dramatic stakes of what it means to care for and protect this important and endangered keystone species.
— Darcy Hennessey Turenne
Elizabeth Unger is a National Geographic Explorer and filmmaker whose work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine. A passion for wildlife and cuisine has led Elizabeth across seven continents, steeping her in rich anthropological experiences that have shaped her into the storyteller she is today. After acquiring a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Elizabeth worked as a PhD research assistant for big cat and primate projects in Latin America. Her photojournalism and videography work has been showcased on National Geographic Magazine digital and NG Travel. Elizabeth was selected as one of five North American Regional Finalists for the prestigious UN Young Champion of the Earth Prize and is a 2019 Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grantee for her feature debut, Tigre Gente.