The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Conservation International hosted a private screening and panel discussion during the Tribeca Film Festival of their new virtual reality film, “My Africa,” Thursday night in New York. The panel was moderated by Dr. M. Sanjayan, chief executive officer of Conservation International and included Chelsea Clinton, vice chair, Clinton Foundation; Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation; and Sammy Leseita Lemoonga, chief operating officer at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary.
“Tiffany & Co. is 180 years old and for generations our designs have been inspired by nature and the beauty of the natural world, and of course all of the materials that get crafted into Tiffany jewelry come from the earth. So, we really do feel like we have a moral imperative to take care of the environment,” Costa said during the panel discussion. “With a brand such as ours we have the opportunity and privilege to use the power of our brand and our voice to speak out on issues that are important to us.”
The panel spoke about conservation and the topic of elephant poaching with Clinton noting, “Ninety-six elephants are slaughtered a day in Africa, elephants are a keystone species. The whole ecosystem depends on them. I hope you’ll find that there aren’t too many degrees of separation on the issue of Elephants and other world issues you care about.”
Last year, Tiffany unveiled the Tiffany Save the Wild collection of elephant charms and jewelry, which donates 100 percent of the profits to the Elephant Crisis Fund, an initiative of Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network. Tiffany originally pledged to raise $1 million by January of 2019 and has already exceeded that expectation with $2 million to date.
After the panel, the audience strapped on their virtual reality headsets for the premiere. The film is around 10 minutes long, narrated by Lupita Nyong’o, and is told from the perspective of a girl in the local community.
“In thinking about the film, we talked about whose stories we would help to tell. Quite often African wildlife films are told through the eyes of a visitor. We flipped the script, we are seeing things through the eyes of a young woman, part of the local Samburu community,” Costa said when discussing the film.
“My Africa” will be released worldwide and in seven languages on April 30.