GSW to screen award-winning film of ABAC students, faculty

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, September 5, 2017

AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will show the award-winning documentary “Elephants in the Coffee,” at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 29, in the Carter 1 Nursing Auditorium of the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex. Following the screening, filmmakers Thomas Grant and Shelby Evans, both from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), will discuss the film and the filmmaking process.
“Elephants in the Coffee” was shot by Grant and his students during two study abroad trips to India. Evans is one of the main characters in the hour-long film. The documentary examines the conflict between agriculture and elephants in Southern India. Farmers throughout the world face similar struggles as agriculture competes with animals for land, Grant says. In India, elephants have killed a number of people on coffee plantations, especially near the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, better known as Nagarhole National Park.
The film won “Best Documentary” at the 2017 Doc Sunback Film Festival, as well as an “Award of Merit” from the 2017 Accolade Global Film Festival. The Calcutta International Cult Film Festival selected “Elephants in the Coffee” as a “Semi-Finalist.” The film was also selected by the 2017 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York City and other festivals around the world, including the Maykop Film Festival, in Russia, Italy’s Roma Cinema Doc and Toronto’s Canadian Diversity Film Festival.
Grant is a professor of journalism at ABAC in Tifton. He has won more than 10 national awards for journalism, including two DuPont-Columbia Awards and a George Polk Award. In 1997, Grant was selected as a Mike Wallace Fellow for Investigative Reporting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Evans graduated from ABAC last year. She was the editor of the ABAC student newspaper, “The Stallion,” and now works as artist in residence at Plough Gallery in Tifton. Several other students also worked on the project, including photographers, graphic artists and writers.
They worked in India with “Elephants in the Coffee” co-producer Bhaskar Krishnamurthy, author of “The Fragile Forest: Inside Brazilian Amazonia.” He is also an international fellow with the Explorers Club and an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Krishnamurthy founded CLIC Abroad, an organization that leads international student exchanges between India and the United States.
The film was produced with a grant from the ABAC Faculty Enrichment fund and donations from Nikon, Sennheiser and Go-Pro.
The screening is free and open to everyone.