Wildcat details the story of Harry Turner, a young British soldier coming back from the war in Afghanistan with PTSD, guilt and an overwhelming sense of fear and dread. Initially, the baby-faced Turner intended to escape to the jungles of Peru to disappear but happened on Samantha Zwicker and the Hoja Nueva animal rescue mission where they bonded and together fostered a baby ocelot named Khan to nurture to adulthood and return to the wild.
What happened next is one of the very nature of documentary filmmaking; the story changed course and with it directors Trevor Frost and Melissa Lesh as they navigate endings and new beginnings, Harry’s deteriorating psyche and Samantha opening up to reveal her own trauma. This is Frost and Lesh’s first feature film. Frost comes from a still photography background, with work published in National Geographic and the New York Times, while Lesh has previously worked with short films. Every ground was new ground and in our conversation we talk about how they were able to navigate those new waters, manage and keep Harry and the group of conservationists around him, and themselves, safe.
We talk about how most documentary filmmakers fund their projects on a wing and a prayer, and in many cases, maxing out their credits just to cross the finish line., as they did, and the feeling when the film was picked up by Amazon and what that meant to share with their co-producers who had never made a penny from their films and for Harry and Samantha to further their own work.
Wildcat was recently named one of the top 5 documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review and received nominations from the International Documentary Association for its editing and score and is nominated for its original song by Robin Pecknold, “A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen.” Wildcat is eligible for Documentary Feature, Original Song, Original Score, Cinematography, Best Picture and more.
Wildcat will be in select theaters on December 21 and streaming on December 30 on Prime Video. Watch our video interview below.
Watch this clip of WILDCAT below: