Shot over the course of three years, the film centers on a willful young girl named Mia whose life is turned upside down when her family decides to leave London to manage a lion farm in South Africa. When a beautiful white lion, Charlie, is born, Mia finds happiness once again and develops a special bond with the growing cub. As Charlie grows to full size, Mia uncovers an upsetting secret kept hidden by her father. Distraught that Charlie could be in danger, Mia decides to rescue him. The two friends set out on an incredible journey across the South African savanna in search of a sanctuary where Charlie can live out his life in freedom.
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 Mac Lennon could bond and develop real relationships with the lions and other animals that appear in the film. Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Bastards, Beginners), Langley Kirkwood (“Banshee”), Brandon Auret (Elysium, District 9) and Lillian Dube also star.
Kevin Richardson, a lion expert also 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 is based on an original story written by de Maistre’s wife, Prune de Maistre after they visited lion-breeding farms in South Africa. The screenplay is written by Prune de Maistre and William Davies. The film is co-produced by Studiocanal, M6 Films, Film Afrika and Pandora film and created in collaboration with Canal +, Cine +, M6, W9, Film-und Medienstiftung NRW and in partnership with Kevin Richardson. Mia and the White Lion is set to release in theaters across the U.S. on April 12, 2019, thorough Ledafilms Entertainment Group.
DIRECTED BYGilles de Maistre
Daniah De Villiers
Ryan Mac Lennan