Born Free wins gold

Our powerful animation, Enough is Enough, triumphs at last night’s 2024 Smiley Charity Film Awards, in Leicester Square.

Celia Nicholls and Dr Mark Jones holding an envelope and gold award in front of a step and repeat board

Born Free was thrilled to win a gold award at the prestigious Smiley Charity Film Awards, at the Odeon Luxe in London’s Leicester Square, for our hard-hitting short film Enough is Enough. Hosted by actor and comedian Ellie Taylor, the awards celebrated the best of charity film-making, with over 500 charities attending last night’s finals. The event was livestreamed to an audience of hundreds of thousands and, as well as being awarded Gold in the judges’ prize category, Born Free also received a Bronze People’s Choice Award. 

Narrated by our Founder Patron Dame Joanna Lumley and voiced by Kenyan actor Foi Wambui, Enough is Enough tells the poignant story of Pole Pole, the wild-caught young Kenyan elephant, whose shocking death at London Zoo led to the start of our charity, 40 years ago this week. Today, there are still 50 elephants in 11 zoos across the UK and our powerful animation calls for an Elephant-Free UK and promotes our petition calling on Government to phase out the keeping of elephants in UK zoos. 

The world’s largest initiative promoting cause-based films, the Smiley Charity Film Awards share video campaigns with millions of viewers, spotlighting the most pressing issues of our time. The evening was attended by Born Free’s Head of Policy Dr Mark Jones and Editor Celia Nicholls, who received the award from model and personality Jodie Kidd, who coincidentally is attending Born Free’s Footsteps to Freedom Ball tonight in London. 

Enough is Enough really gets to the heart of Born Free’s history and ethos,” said a delighted Dr Jones. “So it was really special for our film to be singled out for an award among so many brilliant films, from dozens of charities doing such great work. Special thanks go to Andrew Morgan Productions who produced the film, Dame Joanna Lumley for providing the narrative, and Virginia McKenna’s Circle of Compassion who funded the project. But my final tribute must go to Pole Pole, the elephant who is the subject of the film, and whose sad life and untimely death inspired our wonderful founders Dame Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers MBE and their son Will to set up our charity 40 years ago, to shine a spotlight on the suffering of wild animals in captivity. 

The Smiley Charity Film Awards recognise organisations doing good in the world and are powered by the Smiley Movement – a platform for people and initiatives driving this positive change. Sharing some of the most impactful and emotive charity projects of the year, the awards are acclaimed by both the British Film Institute and IMDb. 

Born Free hopes that, by winning this award, it will help Enough is Enough reach an even wider audience, and raise more awareness about the plight of elephants in captivity. The short film was released last year to support our campaign for an Elephant-Free UK, which has now received more than 18,000 signatures. 

“We’re elated! How incredible for our important film to receive such recognition,” said Ms Nicholls. “This glorious award is part of an extraordinary few days for Born Free. Just last week, Tsar and Jamil the lions rescued from Ukraine arrived at our sanctuary in South Africa, two days ago we celebrated our 40th birthday, and tonight we host our gala event at The Royal Lancaster, London. Huge thanks to everyone who supports our charity and shares our dreams for a kinder world.”