Michael Sarna and Tammy Maples on Creating a Series of Movies with Trained Animals with Animal Family Films [Exclusive Interview]

Animal Family Films

Michael Sarna found a family-friendly niche in films by creating movies utilizing trained animals as the lead characters. With Animal Family Films, he teamed with Tammy Maples, who has a ranch and trained animals for films to create a series of films.

In the past few years, Animal Family Films produced three family-friendly films, including Jimmy’s Jungle, Toby’s Big Adventure, and Toby Goes to Camp.

Here is the synopsis for all three films:

Jimmy’s Jungle – Jimmy is a 12-year-old boy who daydreams about being the world’s greatest animal trainer. Unfortunately, after the loss of his father, his daydreams take over and his school and personal life suffer, that is until his mom sends him to live with his grandfather for the summer. Just when he thinks things have gone from bad to worse, he discovers an animal sanctuary next door and a baby white lion. When he discovers the rescue is about to be bought out by an evil corporation that uses animals for testing, he formulates a plan with his newfound friends to stop the sale and expose the company for what they are really doing.

Toby’s Big Adventure – Toby, a curious baby white tiger that becomes separated from his human caretakers. Accidentally left behind at a campsite, Toby is joined begrudgingly by Lana, a crotchety old dog whose best days are behind her. Together, they will journey through the wilderness with the help of other woodland creatures to survive the woods, escape the coyotes, and find their way home.

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Toby Goes to Camp – With so much love with Toby the White Tiger, Animal Family Films went into pre-production on the sequel. Just as Toby and Lana make it back home from their previous escapades and were getting used to their newfound fame, they were told of a new adventure that awaited: summer camp! It sounded amazing, kids to play with everywhere, sailing, sports, singing, dancing, campfires, and some gooey treat thing called “s’mores.” This sounded just awesome to Toby, but a nightmare to Lana who would prefer to just sleep and be left alone. It won’t be so easy, with an evil land developer trying to get the land from the camp and Toby’s stage fright, they’re in for a whole new adventure!

LRM Online’s Gig Patta spoke with director Michael Sarna and animal trainer Tammy Maples about creating and using the animals for the films.

Michael Sarna started his career at the age of thirteen in a movie called Hell for a Bounty Hunter. Then he became a featured performer for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus as someone being shot out of a cannon. Afterward, he worked as a stuntman in hundreds of feature films, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Spider-Man 2, Independence Day, Chuck, Alias, and The Power Rangers. He directed his first feature film with Doomsdayer. He wrote and directed A Tiger’s Tail, Abaddon, and LA Apocalypse.

Tammy Maples has been an animal trainer and coordinator in the entertainment industry for thirty years. In 1982, Maples and Joe Camp formed Jungle Exotics, a full line animal company to provide animals for educational and entertainment industries. Some of her credits of projects, included Homeward Bound, White Fang 2, Last of the Dogmen, and Land of the Tiger.

All the films are available as VOD today.

Watch the exclusive interview with Michael Sarna and Tammy Maples below. Let us know what you think.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive, Animal Family Farms

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