Plastic Elephants

A shocking scene unfolds daily at a landfill in Ampara, Sri Lanka. Wild elephants use the landfill like a canteen. As if addicted, they feed on trash and plastic until they die. Elephants destroy the farms and paddies on their route to the dump, and humans are putting up electric fences and scattering homemade bombs in response. Achala has documented the conflict between elephants and area residents for 10 years. He warns of the dangerous link between plastic trash and endangered elephants.

  • Jeong-hun Park
  • Eun-hee Ko
  • Jeong-soo Lee
  • Yong-hwa Bae
  • Seung-sik Lee
  • Yoo-mee Lee
    Original Music Lee
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature, Television
  • Genres:
    Nature conservation, Wild life conservation
  • Runtime:
    47 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 14, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    Korea, Republic of
  • Country of Filming:
    Korea, Republic of
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • KBS Media
    Sales Agent
    Country: Korea, Republic of
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Jeong-hun Park

The director majored in philosophy and journalism in college. Since joining KBS as a producer in 2004, he has consistently worked on nature and human documentaries for some 20 years. Born in a remote rural village, he grew up playing in the mountains and rivers. He is inspired by his nostalgia for the wildlife and the natural landscape of his hometown that are disappearing due to development. Since 2017, he has been on the production team of Environment Special, Korea’s foremost nature documentary TV program. He recently directed a documentary on the long-tailed goral, Eurasian otter, white-naped crane, and other Korean natural monuments and endangered species. Plastic Elephants is his first full-on international project. He is currently working on a documentary on glaciers and climate change.

#International Awards
- June 2013, ABU DOC Producers' Choice Award (Waungol, Jirisan: Father’s Mountain)
- August 2014, Best Long Documentary Award, World Mountain Documentary Film Festival of Qinghai China (Waungol, Jirisan: Father’s Mountain)
- September 2017, Korea-China-Japan Producers Forum, Best Picture (Youth, Want to Live in Jirisan?)
- October 2019, Producer of the Month, Korean Producers and Directors Association (Wildlife Exploration Project: Wild Map)

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Director Statement

Lamenting poor local conditions, Park explained, “The practice of separating and recycling waste isn’t mainstream yet in Sri Lanka. Many localities lack recycling centers, let alone waste-to-energy plants. The scalpels used to autopsy the elephants are all worn.” A recycling center built with EU funding nearby has been rendered useless due to the lack of money to run it.
“The Sri Lankan elephant is an entire animal species that is dying out. I hope we can broaden our horizons and help these elephants.”