Thailand’s ‘elephant whisperer’ and renowned global conservationist Lek Chailert is visiting Manchester to promote her film ‘Love and Bananas’ on Wednesday 7 November, thanks to the efforts of a tiny community cinema group from Prestwich.

LOVE & BANANAS, a film by American documentary maker Ashley Bell which is now on international release, tells the true story about a remarkable woman, Saengduean Lek Chailert, the founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, and her efforts to save Asian Elephants.  It follows Lek and her team as they travel 480 miles across Thailand to rescue Noi Na, a 70-year old partially blind trekking elephant and bring her to freedom.

The film aims to ignite a new way of thinking about the species and show what can be done to prevent the extinction of Asian elephants.

It is being shown at Federation House in Manchester next month, with Lek as special guest.  She will be meeting the audience and answering questions after the film, with other members of her team.

Prestwich Community Cinema, which is normally housed at the Carlton Club or Longfield Suite, began two years ago when a group of friends got together to bring eclectic, inclusive and affordable cinema to residents of North Manchester & beyond, with classics like Casablanca and or independent films such as Colossal being more typical viewing.

It has a loyal following locally, but this is the first time the group has shown a film in the city centre, after a local resident who had volunteered at Lek’s sanctuary, Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, contacted the organisers via Facebook and asked if they would consider hosting a screening.

The group were happy to help, and upon hearing that Lek was visiting the UK to promote her film, which is also being shown in Liverpool, London and Exeter, decided to move to a bigger venue for the occasion.

Lek Chailert has devoted her life to the conservation of this endangered species. Since 1996, she has rescued 200 distressed elephants in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

She is internationally recognised for her efforts, and has won many awards and featured in several documentaries produced by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and the BBC.  Lek was invited to Washington by Hillary Clinton in 2010 where she was honoured as one of 6 Women Heroes of Global Conservation. She was also one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia and the Ford Foundation’s Hero of the Planet. This will be her first visit to Manchester.

Adrian Ellison of Prestwich Community Cinema said,

“We are really happy to be able to bring this film to Manchester, and excited that Lek Chailert will be attending the event.  It is very different from the usual films that we show but we hope to welcome our regulars as well as attract a new audience to this unique event.  We are a not-for-profit organisation so all the money from the ticket sales will be donated to the foundation to help Lek save more elephants.”

Tickets are available now for just £5 from Eventbrite.  Each ticket is for both the film and the Q&A session with Lek and all of the donations will be given to the Save Elephant Foundation.

The film will be shown at:  Federation House, 2 Federation Street, Manchester M4 4BF on Wednesday 7th November.  Doors 7.00pm, Film 7.30pm, Q&A with Lek Chailert 9.00pm

Booking link here:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here