Why I’m Posting My New Film Online for Free in the U.S.

February 22, 2022 – by Michael Webber

When I decided to take a hiatus from producing studio-released films to work independently in the documentary space, the prospect of using my skills for more than just entertaining the world, but endeavoring to change it, was a big draw for me. After experiencing the profound social impact of my first documentary, The Elephant in the Living Room, I never looked back.

During that production, while filming undercover at an exotic animal auction, I captured something so shocking, with such serious implications to the animal entertainment industry, that I knew it would warrant its own investigation and perhaps its own film. The Conservation Game is that film, which chronicles a three-year investigation into the secret world of America’s most famous television conservationists.

“I saw a seismic shift in the animal entertainment industry.”

As soon as the film began screening, I saw a seismic shift in the animal entertainment industry. The decades-long practice of dragging endangered cubs onto television shows and deceiving the public into believing they are part of a conservation program appeared to suddenly cease. What’s more, none of the self-proclaimed conservationists exposed in the film have appeared with an animal on television since. In hopes that these trends become the new standard, I am determined to make my boldest move yet by making this film accessible to everyone in the U.S. for FREE. No ads. No monetization. No catch. Just FREE.

“No ads. No monetization. No catch. Just FREE.”

It is my belief that when the American public learns that they have been duped for years by our most trusted celebrity conservationists they will join together to effectuate lasting change. One way we can do this is to use our voice to hold animal presenters accountable while insisting that the deceptive practices revealed in the film never happen again. I also encourage everyone to also learn more about the Big Cat Public Safety Act, to contact your representatives in Congress, and insist that they pass this common-sense bill.

Michael Webber | Producer/Director

Press Information

Drawing comparisons to Blackfish by top film critics since its award-winning premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Social Justice Award), The Conservation Game sent shock waves through the animal entertainment industry. As reported, the day after the film’s premiere, Jack Hanna’s family announced on Twitter that Hanna was stepping away from public life, citing an unexpected acceleration of dementia. The timing of the announcement raised eyebrows, including open cynicism by movie reviewers. Months later, the world-famous Columbus Zoo, which Hanna led as its Director for decades, lost its prestigious accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA president, Dan Ashe, explained that issues revealed in the film “weighed heavily in the decision to pull Columbus’ accreditation.”

On the heels of receiving high marks from top film critics and landing a raft of global sales (UK, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium), director Michael Webber announced that he is making his new film available online to US audiences, for a limited time, for FREE.

“I spent nearly four years making this film in an effort to reveal the truth to the American public in hopes of driving much-needed change,” said Webber. “Democratizing this film now is my boldest move yet in an attempt to effectuate that change.”

Watch the Film Now for Free

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