Coming to Blu-ray and DVD from SHOUT! Studios and director Gilles de Maistre is the beautiful story of “Mia and the White Lion.”
Mia (Daniah De Villiers) is a ten year old girl who isn’t happy about leaving her life in London for a farm in Africa. It isn’t just any farm, it is a lion farm! Run by Dad John (Langley Kirkwood), Mom Alice (Melanie Laurent) and joined by brother Mick (Ryan MacLennan), this is a farm that supports the family.
It doesn’t help that Mia is absolutely grumpy about being in Africa or that brother Mick keeps trying to get her interested in the animals — she just won’t be happy. That is until Mia meets Charlie, a beautiful white cub who seems to take a shining to the young girl.
Eventually Charlie wins her over and the two become inseparable. As the cub grows older, John and Alice become more and more worried that Mia is becoming too attached to Charlie. Trying to explain to her that he is still a wild animal isn’t sinking in, even when Mick is accidentally hurt.
When a decision is made about Charlie, Mia isn’t about to let anything happen to her friend. Once the secret is revealed, Mia will never be the same and what her parents don’t know is that Mia wants something more for Charlie.
De Villiers as Mia is a young girl who at first isn’t happy about living in Africa. Once she accepts it with the help of Charlie, she isn’t about to let anyone destroy what she has come to love — no one. It is a concept to watch De Villiers grow up on the screen from a young angry girl to a young angry woman, except that anger changes into positive action and that’s the glory of this film.
Kirkwood as John is trying to make a go of a business that that almost went bust which is the reason they all came to Africa. He wants the best for his family and that means making decisions that some might see as abhorrent. Laurent as Alice just wants her family to be safe, her son to be well and Mia to be happy. That is a load for any mother to deal with let alone the mother of a young girl who is taken with a lion.
MacLennan as Mick wants to help his sister acclimate to Africa but also has his own set of problems to deal with. That doesn’t stop him from helping for the greater cause.
Let’s give a shout out to Charlie, one of the most beautiful and stunning creatures on the planet. Looking so regal and majestic from the moment he is on screen as a cub until he is grown and playful I just loved watching him. Of course I realize Charlie is a wild animal but this film gives us all a look at what that truly means.
SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite “Long Way North” and the epic fantasy “Beauty And The Beast.” Also their own original horror film, “Fender Bender,” gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.
The special features include “Interview with Director Gilles de Maistre,” “Interview with Actress Daniah De Villiers,” “The Making of ‘Mia and the White Lion’ Featurette,” “The Extraordinary Friendship Featurette,” “Deleted Scenes,” “Casting Footage,” “Theatrical Trailer” and “Still Gallery.”
“Mia and the White Lion” is filmed over a course of three years. Brought to life by French director, Gilles De Maistre, the expansive production was filmed at the Welgedacht Reserve in South Africa. De Maistre chose to shoot throughout a three-year period so that the film’s young stars Daniah De Villiers and Ryan MacLennon could bond and have a real relationship with the lions and other animals that appear in the film.
Kevin Richardson, a lion expert known as the “Lion Whisperer” oversaw the entire production process and all interactions between the lions and the children ensuring the safety of the animals, cast and crew on set.
The film also brings awareness to “canned” lion hunting and what that means to the lion population in future years to come. Awareness to tourists can be a huge step into understanding and helping the future of these amazing animals.
“Mia and the White Lion” is truly a story about a young girl finding that place in herself that has meaning and the story of a lion who has found friendship in a human being. It isn’t an easy world for an animal to live in but Mia is going to make sure her friend finds his place.
In the end — it is a quest for freedom!