It was 50 years ago that Jane Goodall first ventured to Africa and began to reshape the way humans think about our closest living relatives, chimpanzees.
Since then, the famed ethologist, primatologist, anthropologist, author and, above all, worldwide educator has worked tirelessly to promote peace, conservation and animal welfare.
In commemoration of her life and work, movie theatres nationwide – including several local theatres – will broadcast, Jane Goodall Live from Los Angeles, Calif. on September 27 at 8 p.m.
The event will present a live conversation with Goodall and feature celebrity guests including musician Dave Matthews and actress Charlize Theron. It will offer an overview of her 50-years-experience observing chimpanzees in the wild as well as insights into why she left Africa to redirect her energies into the conservation work that she does today.
Jane’s Journey, Goodall’s cinematic biography featuring Angelina Jolie and Pierce Brosnan, will also be screened at the event.
Goodall, 77, first came to national prominence through her pioneering study of chimpanzees in Tanzania at the Gombe Stream National Park. Her work has been widely featured in a series of articles and films by the National Geographic Society. She was among the first field ethologists (animal behaviorists) who lived long-term with the animals she studied, giving them names rather than numbers and factoring their emotions and personalities into her findings. While criticized at the time for “compromising objectivity,” many of Goodall’s techniques – which she established under the mentorship of anthropologist/paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey – are common practice today.
Although political instability greatly reduced research at Gombe for many years, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 to maintain a presence there and to advocate for the conservation of chimpanzees and their habitats through a number of programs.
Among those is Roots and Shoots, an international environmental and humanitarian program for youth of all ages, which exists in 128 countries and is now 20 years old.
Goodall describes the program this way on the Roots and Shoots website:
“Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we have inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots & shoots, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world.”
It is a good summation of her work in general and no doubt a taste of the philosophy she will share in the live broadcast.
The broadcast is 8 p.m. September 27 and will be shown locally at AMC Regency and Orange Park, Tinseltown, and Regal Avenues. Go here or here to get tickets, which are $15.