Recently, we had the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia to host a series of educational events for filmmakers. While there, we were in search of a great story to tell... which brought us to Lek, the Elephant Whisperer of Chiang Mai.

In short, it was an unbelievable experience.

Not only were we surprised by her unique lifestyle, we were blown away by her insatiable desire to help animals of all kinds, and how deeply rooted this drive was. She has what we call The Big Three Things: Uniqueness, Complexity, and Desire, which were the very qualities in a strong character we had been teaching about at our events.

What we love most about this piece is that there’s nothing commercial about it. Though it’s about her non-profit, it’s not a PSA and it doesn’t even call you to act. Because its focus is thoroughly character-driven, its draw lies purely in emotional connection.

And with millions of views on Upworthy, Facebook, and Vimeo, it’s certainly brought attention to Lek and her sanctuary in a way that engages without selling you on anything but love. Had it been approached like a commercial, well, we bet view counts and engagement would have looked much different.

Creative direction, producing, direction, scripting, filming, and post by Stillmotion.