Path of the Panther

Path of the Panther

Spotlight Film

Path of the Panther

Directed by: Eric Bendick

USA, 2022, 90m

World Premiere

“These animals are like ghosts,” says Carlton Ward Jr.—National Geographic explorer, photographer, and 8th generation Floridian—at the beginning of this captivating film that endeavors to keep the Florida Panther from becoming just that: a ghost. As the last big cat surviving in the eastern United States and the state animal of Florida, the panther is an icon of Florida’s ever-diminishing wild places, as revealed in the film’s sumptuous images. Leading a team that includes cowboys, wildlife biologists, photographers/videographers, and a lot of folks who simply care about the future of Florida’s fragile ecology, Ward treks repeatedly into the Everglades and expanses of South Florida to seek, record, and save these ghosts. The Florida Wildlife Corridor policy, aimed at connecting habitats to protect panthers from encroaching development and toll roads (the greatest threats to cats and ranchers, both threatened species), represents the last best hope. Will the panthers survive long enough to stride the corridor? And what does their struggle presage for us and other species? Path of the Panther strives to answer these questions with extraordinary passion, stunning imagery, and heartbreaking pathos. This film has the capacity to create powerful change in our state and in our own hearts.

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