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The 2021 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes, has concluded. Catch up on all the action!

Spoofs & Satire

Australian War Memorial

A Nature Documentary: The Post-Screening Q&A

The film lays bare all the raw intensity of the subject matter, holding back nothing. But some may wonder: What’s the lion’s motivation?

Moderator: Before we begin this panel discussion, I’d just like to say that it’s always a pleasure to witness great artists collaborating together on film, and with this film in particular, the result was a remarkably profound experience. So without further ado, please welcome the stars of the film: Lion, Wildebeest, and the Hyenas.

[Audience applauds.]

Moderator: Lion, let’s start with you. What did you see in this project that made you want to be a part of it?

Lion: When I learned that British Human Who Smells Like Ham was going to direct I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do. Whenever I get an opportunity to participate in what I believe will gratifying work, I leap at the chance.

[Audience applauds.]

Moderator: And to you, Wildebeest and Hyenas, I pose the same question.

Wildebeest: Well, when you’ve been prey for large mammals and reptiles as long as I have, you begin to appreciate what makes a really good animal attack scene in a nature documentary. So like Lion, I couldn’t help but want to be a part of it. Also, I didn’t have much of a choice.

Hyena No. 1: Yeah, I think I can speak for all the Hyenas that when we saw the names involved with this project, we were like, “We love the smell of ham! Where do we sign up?”

[Audience laughs, applauds.]

Moderator: Now, none of you have ever worked with each other before, correct?

Lion: Yes, that’s right.

Hyena No. 2: Actually, Lion, we have worked together once before. I was an extra in Lion Disembowels Gazelle.

[Audience applauds.]

Lion: Really? I did not know that. Sorry, it’s hard telling you guys apart sometimes.

[The HYENAS pretend to be insulted, but then quickly break into laughter. The audience and rest of the panel laughs along with them.]

Wildebeest: Yeah, that gazelle was actually a friend of mine. Prior to the shoot he told me how thrilled he was to get to work with you. And who could blame him? Lion, you really know how to hunt small- to medium-sized game. Just look at me: Half my internal organs are exposed and my hind legs are broken.

[Audience applauds. HYENA No. 2 playfully rams his snout into WILDEBEEST’s abdomen. WILDEBEEST wiggles his limbs wildly in mocked surprise. Everyone has a good laugh. Audience applauds again.]

Hyena No. 1: Same goes for us, really. To be the best you want to work with the best. I mean, how cool is it to be able to say you’ve scavenged from the leftovers of the King of the Jungle? It really was an honor.

[Audience applauds.]

Lion: You guys are too kind.

Wildebeest: Don’t mention it. Just make our checks out to cash.

[Audience laughs.]

Moderator: Let’s open up questioning to the audience.

Audience Member No. 1: First of all, you guys are awesome. I love you! My question concerns the hunt-and-kill scene itself. It felt so real, of course, because it was. But you all seemed so invested in the endeavor, so driven and motivated. Where did that energy come from?

Lion: I love being one of the deadliest predators on the face of the Earth, and when I’m out there on the plains I strive to immerse myself in my role. Plus my pride hadn’t eaten in a week and we were famished.

Wildebeest: You’re telling me.

[Audience laughs, applauds.]

I studied under my father, who is best known for his lead role in the YouTube video, “LION ATTACKS JEEP FULL OF AUSTRIAN TOURISTS!!”

[Audience applauds.]

Lion: Thank you. Father would have appreciated your applause had he not been tranquilized, sold to a circus, and emotionally broken by his tamer. At any rate, he taught me so much. He really was master of preparation. He once said to me, “Son No. 63, be sure to know your character’s backstory long before a shoot begins. Also, the best way to snap a zebra’s neck is by first severing its jugular vein.”

[Audience applauds.]

Moderator: And you, Wildebeest, how did you locate that certain spark that made your performance so memorable?

Antelopes, buffalo, fallen hikers—it makes no difference—scavenge from anything you can get your paws on. It’s the only way to truly hone your craft. Wildebeest: Well, not to be too dramatic, but my life was on the line. I wasn’t going down without a fight.

Moderator: You even went so far as to defecate while trying to get away from Lion.

[Audience applauds.]

Wildebeest: Yeah, one reviewer wrote that I “courageously pulled out all the stops.” I’m not the one to really say whether I did or not, but it’s always flattering when your efforts are recognized.

[Audience applauds.]

Moderator: Let’s take another question from the audience.

Audience Member No. 2: This one is for the Hyenas. What advice would you give to a young scavenger just starting out in the business?

Hyena No. 2: What we usually tell young scavengers is to just go out there and scavenge as much as you can. Scavenge, scavenge, scavenge. Antelopes, buffalo, fallen hikers—it makes no difference—scavenge from anything you can get your paws on. It’s the only way to truly hone your craft. Experience leads to mastery.

[Audience applauds.]

Audience Member No. 3: Hi, I’m a big fan of all of your work. My question is for Lion. How do you think this hunt scene compares with your others? Because I believe it clearly represents a highlight of your career.

[Audience applauds.]

Lion: I usually don’t like to compare my hunts to one another because each is special to me in its own unique way. They’re like my cubs. With that said, Wildebeest and the Hyenas clearly brought their A game, which in turn brought out my A game. I really fed off their intensity, especially toward the end when the Hyenas were nipping at my tail while I was gorging from Wildebeest’s stomach.

[WILDEBEEST rubs his tummy, feigning pain. Audience laughs. Then one of his legs falls off. HYENA No. 2 quickly snatches it and begins to feed. Audience applauds.]

Moderator: Before we wrap things up, where will each of you go from here?

Lion: I’m considering a couple of projects. One is a mating video, which are always fun, so I might do that.

[Audience applauds.]

Wildebeest: Well, after being devoured by lions and hyenas I’m not sure where one is supposed to go next. [Holds up his intestines]. I’m not exactly mobile.

[Audience laughs.]

Wildebeest: So, yeah, I don’t know. As slow deaths go, it could be worse. In a way, I’m lucky, I guess. I’ll just keep on keeping on, and try to inspire others who’ve been eaten alive by large beasts.

[Audience applauds, sobs.]

Moderator: And for you, Hyenas, what’s next?

Hyena No. 1: We just found out that there’s a half-eaten oryx carcass down by the river. So after we finish off Wildebeest here our fans can look for us there. Should be a great show!

[Audience gives a standing ovation.]