The odds against filmmaker Carol Amore going into the jungles of India to film Tigers-Tracking a Legendinitially seemed infinitely higher than the odds that she would make it. She had to raise the money to get there, face up to her fear of snakes, and find the time to shoot. Ultimately, however, Amore covered her travel expenses and the film’s full US$800,000 production budget; confronted her fear of snakes by facing up to such massive creatures as pythons and cobras; and rejected the notion of a four-week quickie shoot in favor of three months in the field.
Still, the shoot was no walk in the park. Red ants dropped from the trees and delivered stinging bites; spiders found their way into her bed more than one night. And once, Amore says, a leopard killed a cow outside of her window, and then engaged in a fight with a pack of dogs.
Her motivation to stay was to make a film that would draw attention to the disappearing population of wild tigers. A century ago, more than 100,000 Bengal tigers lived outside of captivity in India; today there are only 3,000.
For Tigers, Amore followed a tiger family in India’s Bandhavgarh National Park. She says the key to tracking down the big cats was the elephant guide and his trusty steed. Amore explains that while tigers are often afraid of elephants, in this environment a trust had developed between the animals, and the tigers would sometimes even approach the elephants for protection.
Amore, who has worked in the factual business for 25 years and in wildlife filmmaking for the past five, shot in high definition, which was a challenge in the extreme heat. In addition to lugging around the 40-pound HD camera, she carted along a still camera so she could take photos for a companion book.
Tigerswill be completed by early February. At press time, Amore was in discussions with Discovery Networks International and Discovery Communications.