The Matriarch: A story of survival

Oct. 28, 2013


(2013, 6:31)

"The Matriarch" follows the life of Jada, an elephant and the matriarch of her family who has survived a brutal poaching attack. Jada's story is interwoven with a riveting science story about the research being done at Mpala which allow us to see just how important elephants are for the environment and what is at risk if they no longer exist in the wild. The Matriarch was produced, directed and edited by Sarah Jeong, Loise Njagi, Brady Valashinas and Réka Zempléni.

The film was made during summer 2013 by students from Princeton University and several Kenyan universities through the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) Global Seminars and the Atelier Program at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton.

The students worked from a base camp at the Mpala Research Centre, a partnership among Princeton, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Princeton Global Seminar "Documentary Filmmaking in Kenya: The Art of Science Storytelling," provided students with training in digital video production, screenwriting and editing.

Su Friedrich, a professor of visual arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts and a filmmaker, co-taught the course with Katie Carpenter, a 1979 Princeton graduate and a wildlife documentary filmmaker.

The global seminars are made possible by Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies funding and organization.

Read more about the students and videos.