What does it mean to lead a virtuous life when surrounded by corruption? When Lambs Become Lions chronicles the lives and everyday ethical dilemmas of small-time ivory traders in Kenya. As the three main subjects fight against poverty, sickness, family strife, and ever-shifting political tides, they grapple with their relationship to poaching and each other. Winner of the Best Edited Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the Telluride Film Festival, When Lambs Become Lions poses salient questions of character in the context of moral complexity.

The Program for Leadership and Character was thrilled to screen the film on April 8 for the first in-person programming opportunity since the start of the pandemic. After the screening, local filmmaker and producer Andrew Harrison Brown sat down with Ann Phelps, Director of Programming for Leadership and Character, for a Q&A session.

Wake Forest senior Mary Costanza ’21, elaborated on her experience attending the screening with her sister, Sarah ’24: “We went into the screening with a fairly solid commitment to the idea that poaching was always morally wrong, illegal, and done by those who had no regard for law, morality, or conservation. We left with our minds changed as the film demonstrated how necessity and desperation–especially under bleak conditions–can change where the bar for morality is set.”

The screening and discussion is part of an ongoing series focused on Leadership and Character in the Arts.

when lambs become lions screen on manchester plaza
A screening of “When Lambs Become Lions” on Manchester Plaza.