Snow leopards in movies
‘The Golden Compass’ movie, released in 2007, is based on the fantasy novel by Philip Pullman. It’s about a young girl, Lyra Belacqa’s journey to the cold north in search of her missing friend, Roger Parslow who has been kidnapped by the Gobblers. She is also searching for her imprisoned uncle, Lord Asriel (played by Daniel Craig). The Lord has been experimenting with a mystery substance called Dust, which is threatening the forces of authority and puts him in danger. All the characters have daemons accompanying them. These are animals, seen as shape-shifting manifestations of their souls, hence considered soul mates. Lord Asriel’s daemon is Stelmaria the Snow Leopard. In the movie the voice of Stelmaria is that of Kristen Scott Thomas.
Dr Terry Moore, founder of The Cat Survival Trust says, “The Golden Compass” involved CGI in the production of images of cats in the film. However, the company filmed two snow leopards, Pavan and Pavesh, two of seven litters of snow leopards born at The Cat Survival Trust in Welwyn, England. The company spent a day filming the snow leopards and other cats eating, washing, walking, jumping and sleeping and based the images in the film on those live images.”
‘Kung Fu Panda’ is a 2008 American computer-animated film produced by Dream Works Animation. The plot of this action comedy concerns a time in ancient China, when anthropomorphic animals ruled, and a large but bumbling panda named Po has ambitions to become a Kung Fu master. He battles an evil Kung Fu warrior, the snow leopard Tai Lung, to bring peace to a war torn land. Tai Lung had been destined to become the Dragon Warrior but because he had evil in his heart his master refused. The story casts an untrained Panda against a trained warrior with a fight between good and evil.
The voice of the snow leopard Tai Lung was Ian McShane.
There were no snow leopards in this phenomenal movie but John Rosengrant, from Legacy Effects, (the team that did the special effects) said in an interview that the look of Pandora’s Na’avi people, with their huge eyes, was based on the eyes of the snow leopard. The team was inspired by snow leopard eyes and then experimented with the color, finally choosing a warm gold and less green than a real snow leopard’s eyes.
‘The Descendant of the Snow Leopard’ - (Kyrgyz in Russian.) A 1984 Soviet drama film directed by Tolomuch Okeyev.
‘The Descendant of the Snow Leopard’ is based on a famous Kyrgyz folktale. Kyrgyzstan is one of the 12 snow leopard habitat countries and has a rich culture of folk tales going back many centuries. The story revolves around a proud group of highland hunters called the Snow Leopards, who in order to survive a brutal winter must request help from the Lowland people. The Lowland people agree but ask for the hand of the Snow Leopard’s daughter in marriage to a wealthy Lowland trader. However while wedding celebrations are in full flow, the trader becomes fascinated by a stranger who wins all the athletic contests. This “male” contestant turns out to be a woman, who has arrived to seek freedom for her imprisoned husband. A romance follows between the trader and the beautiful stranger which results in disaster and bloodshed for both the Snow Leopards and the Lowlanders. The Russian title is ‘Potomok Belongo Barssa’. ‘The Descendant of the Snow Leopard’ won a Silver Bear award for director Tolomus Okeyev at the 35th Berlin Film Festival.