Documentary features Dr. Jane Goodall, Lek Chailert, Gary Knell & Meenu Vadera
Utopia has acquired rights to responsible travel documentary feature The Last Tourist and has set a March 15th digital release in the U.S., which will mark the two-year anniversary of the pandemic closing the world’s borders to international travel. The film will also have its U.S. premiere on March 8th at Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Directed and written by Tyson Sadler and executive produced by Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of community tourism pioneer and adventure operator, G Adventures, The Last Tourist features the world’s leading travel and tourism visionaries including Dr. Jane Goodall (Jane Goodall Institute, United Nations Messenger of Peace), Lek Chailert (Save Elephant Foundation), Gary Knell (National Geographic), Meenu Vadera (Sakha Cabs For Women) and Jonathan Tourtellot (Destination Stewardship Center).
The documentary, which was awarded with the ‘Special Jury Prize for Social Impact’ by the Canadian Documentary Jury at the Calgary International Film Festival, examines the history of modern tourism and offers a critique on its current state of affairs. It explores important issues including animals suffering for entertainment, orphaned children exploited for profit, and developing economies strained under the massive weight of foreign-owned hotel chains. We meet local heroes who are leveraging tourism to preserve cultural heritage, sustain wildlife, and support the social and economic wellbeing of communities. The Last Tourist empowers audiences with knowledge and inspiration to make a positive impact and fundamentally change the way we travel.
Executive producer, Bruce Poon Tip, says his vision for the documentary came well before the pandemic, but the timing of the documentary’s release could not be more relevant as the world’s borders reopen and people look to travel with more purpose and intention. “We’ve always said travel – community tourism in particular – could be the biggest distributor of wealth the world has ever seen, and even the fastest path to peace. We wanted to bring this message, illustrated by a series of life-changing stories, to life on the big screen and at the same time expose some of the often well-intentioned but harmful practices many tourism experiences support. The Last Tourist demonstrates what a dire state the industry was in pre-pandemic, and recommends tangible ways travelers can use their personal power to have a positive impact as the world reopens to international travel again. I ask everyone who travels, and cares about the impact they have when they do, to watch this important film when it is released on March 15, and spread the word about how there is a better way to travel,” he said.
Director, Tyson Sadler, says the film took the team on a journey to 16 different countries. “We interviewed dozens of leading travel experts, tour operators and academics, as well as travelers and tourism service providers in host communities that are leveraging travel to improve their quality of life. We amassed nearly 400 hours of footage that was edited into a 90 minute film which pulls back the curtain on one of the world’s largest industries to illustrate the true cost of travel – on the environment, wildlife, and host communities,” says Sadler.
The Last Tourist is a Born Explorer Films production created by G Adventures and written by Jesse Mann (Material Success) and Tyson Sadler, with an original score by Anthony Fung and Anton Peterson, original music by Heidi Webster (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), cinematography by Stephen Chandler Whitehead (A People Uncounted), and editing by Jesse Mann.
Co-founded by Robert Schwartzman, Utopia is a sales and distribution company known for feature films includingthe breakout TIFF comedy, Shiva Baby; the Cannes selected Mickey and the Bear; the forthcoming Cannes 2021 selection Vortex, Gaspar Noe’s sixth feature; Sundance selection, El Planeta; and documentaries including Academy Award winner Errol Morris’ American Dharma; the Ross Brothers’ Sundance charmer, Bloody Nose: Empty Pockets; and the forthcoming doc on the artist Dash Snow, Moments Like This Never Last from Cheryl Dunn and Vice Studios.