After a successful Earth Day screening at Oak Park High School, The Cat That Changed America featured in the Eco Tip environmental column of the Ventura County Star.
“Recently, the Oak Park Unified School District’s Environmental Committee hosted the screening of a documentary showing how reduced use of a particular hazardous material also benefits wildlife. “The Cat That Changed America” includes material powerfully presented by Poison Free Malibu to persuade viewers not to use anti-coagulant poisons for rodent control. Anti-coagulants kill mice and rats through internal bleeding, but poisoned pests take a long time to die. In the meantime, they often become food for wildlife, ranging from mountain lions to birds of prey, spreading the poison up the food chain.”
If you want to host a screening of this film for your community to raise awareness about the effects of anti coagulant rodenticides and the issues of connectivity facing all wildlife, get in touch via the website.
The star of The Cat That Changed America has much in common with the other A-listers in his adopted city of Los Angeles: the camera loves him, he has fans all over the world and he has mastered the trick of seeming relatable, despite hiding from the public in the Hollywood Hills.
In other respects, though, the mountain lion known as P-22 is an unlikely celebrity. The film, which had its LA premiere this week, tells the story of how it happened. At first P-22 was thought to be no more than an urban myth. Few people believed the scattered reports that a puma was roaming Griffith Park, the island of city-centre wilderness where the Hollywood sign stands. Then in 2012 a biologist captured images of the beast, 6ft 6in long, on a wildlife camera. The following year National Geographic filmed P-22 roaming his territory at night.
He has since been fitted with a GPS collar, which enables scientists to track his movements around the park and occasional sorties into nearby residential areas. Mostly he hunts wildlife on the hills and trekking trails but he is particularly partial to the deer in Forest Lawn cemetery, where Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel and Carrie Fisher, among others, are buried.
Last year he became the chief suspect when a koala vanished from Los Angeles zoo on a night when surveillance video and GPS data put him at the scene of the crime, but the city rallied behind him and he was allowed to stay.
Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California director of the National Wildlife Federation, says that Angelenos see themselves in P-22’s story. He is a migrant in a city of migrants who wandered from the Santa Monica mountains to the park, crossing two busy freeways in the process, only to find himself stranded and cut off from potential mates. “Who can’t relate to being dateless and stuck by traffic?” she says.
Tony Lee, director of the documentary, was beguiled by the romance of P-22’s story. “He’s the poster cat for urban survival.” P-22 now has his own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tinder accounts — all maintained by Ms Pratt-Bergstrom, who has become so absorbed in the cause that “my husband feels like I’m having an affair”. She carries a giant cardboard cutout of the cat in her car and has a tattoo of his face on her left upper arm. In the film she compares P-22’s pioneer spirit to Neil Armstrong stepping on to the moon. She is trying to raise $50 million for a wildlife bridge across the 101 freeway. She is $47 million short, but optimistic.
The LA Premiere of The Cat That Changed America was on Thursday March 16th at the UCLA James Bridges Theater. The enthusiastic audience was very interested and energised and there were many laughs and gasps throughout the screening.
The panel was moderated by Laurel Hunt, the founder of the Green Screens Festivals, and afterwards the panelists – Alex Rapaport, Miguel Ordenana, Poison Free Malibu, Kim Lamorie and Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, were awarded a UCLA mug by Graduates Shane Malott and Paul Kurek. Ben Hoyle from the Times of London reviewed the film, saying that P22 has much in common with other A-listers who lives in the Hollywood Hills and that the camera adored him.
Photos Courtesy of Alex and Camille Rapaport and Colin Brown.
The Los Angeles Premiere of The Cat That Changed America will be at the James Bridges Theater, UCLA campus on Thursday March 16th at 7.00pm. The film will preview UCLA’s Green Screen Festival of Environmental Films. Tickets are free and can be obtained by following the link below: