Doug Blush interview: ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ executive producer

“The shortlist is this amazing validation, especially for Kartiki [Gonsalves],” says Doug Blush, who executive produced “The Elephant Whisperers” on Netflix. The film was directed by Gonsalves and is among just 15 movies selected for a potential Best Documentary Short nomination at the 95th Oscars. “She’s been working on this film for five years in a really remote, wild area in Southern India.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

The short doc follows Bomman and Bellie, a couple in South India who devote their lives to caring for an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu, forging a family like no other that tests the barrier between the human and the animal world.

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“Kartiki lives in the region where this preserve is,” Blush explains. “This is one of those unique parts of the world where they have a really well preserved area of incredible nature. There is every kind of animal you can imagine wandering around in this preserve. Kartiki had known about the elephant reserve and the tiger reserve that are up there. She got word through friends that there was a couple that had been working, first adult elephants, and that they were now rescuing this baby named Raghu. The survival rate was so unlikely for orphaned elephants. The chances were almost zero that this baby elephant would survive and grow and thrive. Bomman and Bellie’s work to bring this baby forward and to care for it like a true child saved this elephant’s life. It becomes a family drama, basically.”

Blush describes, “It’s actually a story of kids growing up and, in one case, leaving home. What’s that like? What’s that emotionally like? It’s the kind of thing that everybody goes through, whose ever had pets that pass on or kids that grow up and head off to college. This was that kind of fable. You’ve got a family where you’ve got two kids. The parents have all the usual problems you have with kids growing up. Then it comes time to say goodbye. When you see the film there’s a lot of emotional highs and lows. There’s that bond and that love despite all the hard work and tough times. I loved it because it’s a universal story between any parent and child.”

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UPLOADED Jan 12, 2023 3:28 pm