New documentary film, generating awareness at film festivals around the world, could impact on captive elephants in the way “Blackfish” impacted for orcas

This is the timely, gripping and emotionally charged story of a circus elephant who went on a rampage, killed her trainer and died in a hail of gunfire. Her break for freedom traumatized a city, ignited a global battle over the use of performing animals and raised profound questions about our connection to other species.

“TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW” recently had its world premiere at the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival – where it was met with passionate demonstrations on both sides of the issue – and has screened or is set to screen at high-profile/prestigious festivals including Documentary Edge Festival in New Zealand, Sydney Film Festival in Australia, Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK, and the Melbourne International Film Festival.

NOTE: Animal rights advocates are pushing for state and federal action. And as a result of growing public awareness, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, recently announced that it plans to phase out the use of performing elephants in its shows. Over 20 years after Tyke incident, the governor of Hawaii recently proposed banning the use of wild performing animals. These are two steps advocates believe may be the beginning of change in the U.S. industry, which is just one part of a global issue. Today’s global circus industry is a multibillion-dollar business that continues to feature elephants in its shows. The DC-debut of 
“TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW”  is expected to bring new attention to the issue on Capitol Hill.


Thursday, June 18 at 12:00 PM
Landmark E Street Cinema 6 - Washington, DC

Saturday, Jun 20 at 9:15 PM
AFI Silver 3 - Silver Spring, MD

Festival site/tickets: 

Official film website: 

Synopsis: Honolulu, Aug 20, 1994, Tyke the circus elephant goes on a rampage in front of thousands of horrified onlookers. Her break for freedom will leave a city in shock and spark a global battle over our use of wild performing animals. Going back to find out what made Tyke snap, we meet her former trainers and handlers, witnesses to her rampage, circus industry insiders and animal rights activists for whom Tyke became a rallying cry. Combining trauma, outrage, insight and compassion, Tyke Elephant Outlaw dramatically explores our deep and mysterious connection to other species. 



Stefan Moore is a producer/director and executive producer of documentaries in the USA, Britain and Australia.  His documentaries have received four Emmys and numerous other awards.  Recent films he has directed include Mysteries of the Human Voice (2012) for Nat Geo and Arte, Honeybee Blues (2009) about the world’s disappearing honeybees (Sydney Morning Herald TV Critics’ award for ‘Best Australian Documentary of the Year’), The Cars That Ate China (2008) about China’s car revolution (Dendy Awards nominee at Sydney Film Festival), and the National Geographic TV special Race Against the Killer Flu (2007).  From 2001-5, Stefan was the Executive Producer of Science and History at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and prior to that he was an Executive Producer at Film Australia where he commissioned critically acclaimed documentaries and series such as Dennis O’Rourke’s controversial Cunnamulla, Facing the Music and Bush Mechanics.  As co-director of TVG Productions in New York, he produced and directed award-winning documentaries including the 8-part PBS/BBC/ABC series The Trouble with Medicine, Trouble on Fashion Avenue about organized crime in New York’s garment industry, Presumed Innocent about pre-trial detention at New York’s infamous Rikers Island, and The Irish Tapes which is now part of the Donnell Library permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art.  Stefan was an artist-in-residence at WNET’s TV Lab in New York and is a Guggenheim Fellow.


Susan Lambert’s award-winning film and television work has been broadcast and distributed in Australia and internationally.  Her experimental documentary feature Landslides (1990) was screened theatrically in Australia and her feature film Talk was released theatrically in both in Australia and USA in 1995.  Susan’s work includes the critically acclaimed observational television series Under the Hammer (ABC), Risky Business (SBS), and DIY Law and Love and Money (both for ABC).  In 2001 her controversial Tokyo Bound: Bondage Mistresses of Japan was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK and SBS.  In 2004 Lambert directed Deadly Enemies for ABC and Channel 5 (UK).  In 2006 her documentary The Good, The Bad and The Ugg Boot was one of the highest rating programs in the ABC’s history. In 2007 Lambert co-produced The Cars That Ate China, a co-production between ABC, NDR Germany, CICC China, Electric Sky UK and Jumping Dog Productions. She has recently directed episodes of two major ABC series: The Making of Modern Australia and the landmark observational courtroom series On Trial.  In 2011 she produced the award winning docu-drama Recipe For Murder, a top-rating Australian documentary for ABC. Recently she directed episodes of Outback Coroner for the History Channel and My Big Fat Bar Mitzvah for ABC. Susan’s films have been screened in major international film festivals including London, Toronto, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Cannes, Oberhausen, San Francisco, Edinburgh, Tynside, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

Director/Producer: Stefan Moore, Susan Lambert
Co-Producer: Megan McMurchy
Editor: Denise Haslem ASE
Director of Photography: Simon Smith
Composer: Antony Partos


Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.