Free Billy wins Best Human & Nature Documentary


Born Free is delighted to share the news that Free Billy, the powerful documentary exposing the shocking neglect of Billy the elephant at LA Zoo, expertly and passionately narrated by Born Free’s very own matriarch, Virginia McKenna OBE, has received Best Human and Nature Documentary at the 2022 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, in New York.

Produced and directed by EMMY and BAFTA award-winning Marshall Corwin (Serious Adventure, Tomorrow’s World, Panorama), who is also Creative Director for Ecoflix, this emotive documentary chronicles the decades-long campaign to free Billy, an Asian bull elephant who has lived in the LA Zoo since he was four years old.   

Billy has endured brutal training, decades of isolation, and to this day remains forced to live on display with virtually no mental stimulation, in a tiny environment on hard ground, which is the leading cause of death of zoo elephants.

The Free Billy movement has seen celebrities such as actress Lily Tomlin, singer Cher, and many others campaign for his freedom, yet he remains a captive of the Los Angeles Zoo. Even legal efforts to free him have failed. This is despite clear judicial findings which list the many problems he faces that are likely to result in his premature demise. In which case, he will be the eighteenth elephant to die in the Los Angeles Zoo.

Narrated by Born Free Co-Founder, iconic actress and UK national treasure Virginia McKenna OBE (Born Free, A Town Like Alice), the film features interviews with LA City Councilman Paul Koretz, Mammalian Brain Expert Lori Marino, world-renowned Elephant Expert Joyce Poole, and Attorney, Animal Advocate and CEO of Ecoflix David Casselman.

The film is only available to watch on subscription channel Ecoflix, whose primary goal is to educate, inspire and support meaningful actions which will deliver a tangible, measurable difference to help save animals and support the plant. Membership includes uplifting and original animal and nature programs. You can join at

Born Free is concerned that the needs of elephants cannot be met in a zoo environment and is calling for a phase out. Earlier this year, Born Free and sister organisation Born Free USA, published the report Elephants in Zoos: A Legacy of Shame, revealing the true extent of the pain and suffering caused by the keeping of elephants in zoos across Europe and North America.

Watch Free Billy        Free Billy trailer      Elephants in Zoos: A Legacy of Shame