Trophy, CNN’s New Blackfish

On the heels of President Trump reversing the so-called 'trophy ban' set in place by the Obama administration in 2014, CNN is premiering “Trophy,” the critically acclaimed documentary film exploring big-game hunting and wildlife conservation. Even though elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, the reversal will now allow the government to award permits to those importing these trophies if there is evidence that the hunting actually benefited conservation of the species?

With this film, it appears CNN is seeking to replicate the success they experienced with the critically acclaimed “Blackfish” that aired in 2013. That film tells the story about the abuse of killer whales at the SeaWorld amusement parks. 

From Whales to Big Game

Both movies focus on man's threat to wildlife — creatures being harmed for monetary gain. Both films are not for the squeamish. They tackle the heady issues of extinction and the killing of big game for entertainment in one arena and sport in another.

The 108-minute film exposed theater goers and now CNN viewers to an international visual safari. It highlights the countries, which are home to the most-prized African wildlife by big-game hunters, including lions, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards and elephants. Every year, these endangered African species inch closer and closer to extinction, due to many of practices uncovered in this documentary.

Both docs debuted at the Sundance Film Festival before being picked up by CNN.

“In our fifth trip to Sundance, we’re honored to have two extraordinary films accepted for premiere,” Amy Entelis, executive vice president, talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, said in a statement. “Attending Sundance is always special for us and launches our annual look for potential acquisitions for CNN Films. It always makes for an even more exciting festival to be able to premiere our own special projects that we hope will delight and inspire audiences, and make a positive contribution to the documentary film industry.”

Debuting on a TV set near you . . .

Trophy, which debuts Jan. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN, explores most of the challenges currently faced, including balancing conservation, sport, human population growth, and the commerce associated with big-game hunting.

Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz’s tough-minded documentary is even-handed including interviews with those who defend the ‘sport.’ They conclude there are no easy answers for either the hunters or the animal rights crowd. Will leave that important question up to you readers. Please post your opinions and critiques after viewing the documentary on CNN, in comments below.