Synopsis: The powerful yet shy jaguar has lived alongside human civilizations of the Americas for millennia. For the Maya that lived here, the jaguar was a symbol of royalty, strength, and of the life-giving power of the sun. Through our modern lens, the jaguar is a keystone and a flagship species, an ambassador and symbol for our most sacred wild places. Modern biologists divide jaguar populations into core populations (large forests where jaguars live, hunt, and breed) and corridors (strips of land between these cores, which jaguars transit to intermingle, thus ensuring genetic exchange throughout all of jaguar range). Widely recognized is the fact that, for jaguars and any species, genetic diversity is absolutely crucial to longterm survival. In Belize, however, relentless deforestation for agriculture has imperiled a key jaguar corridor. The Maya Forest Corridor forms a critical link between Belize’s primary jaguar population in the Maya Mountains, and the larger forests of Mexico and Guatemala. This film, created with the generous support of the big cat conservation organization Panthera, follows the story of Elma Kay, a university professor and activist who is currently building a coalition of government organizations and international nonprofits to raise funds to purchase land inside the Maya Forest Corridor. These lands can then be added to Belize’s government-managed protected area system, and so protect the jaguars of Belize in perpetuity.
This project, funded by the big cat conservation organization Panthera, was filmed over the course of five days. It was edited to be shown at small events and fundraisers, but has since enjoyed success at film festivals around the world.
Brandon Thompson is a self-taught short documentary filmmaker who got his start working in GoPro’s Cause media division, which leveraged the company’s brand power to raise money for nonprofit organizations. Brandon started his own company, StoryHouse, to support nonprofits and cause-based organizations through the telling meaningful, heartfelt stories. Brandon enjoys every aspect of filmmaking, and is an adept writer, director, shooter, and postproduction specialist. His work has been screened at film festivals across the world and has received over 100 million views on Youtube.