Zoo, the feature film inspired by a beloved real life elephant, will be released in theaters later this month.

Colin McIvor's Zoo has premiered to rave reviews.

The heart-warming movie follows the tale of a young boy and named Tom, and his friendship with a baby elephant during World War II. 

Zoo was inspired by the true story of Belfast woman Denise Austin, who took a baby elephant named Sheila home everyday from Belfast Zoo to keep it from being harmed by German bombers during the Belfast Blitz invasion.

Really enjoyed Colin McIvor's ZOO. Really sweet and poignant and a lot of fun to work on. At one point the brilliant @amyhuberman made me shed a tear by deciding to put some more jam on a piece of malt loaf, i'm not shitting you, it really got me in the feels.

— Mike Hooley (@hooleymike) June 21, 2018

According to BBC, in 1941 the Belfast authorities feared that bomb damage could allow the zoo's dangerous creatures to go on the rampage and ordered them to be put down, but Sheila was spared and went on to become a symbol of hope.

Zoo, which was filmed on location in Belfast Zoo, in the grounds of Belfast Castle, and other areas across the city and Canada, follows a young boy and his elephant Buster.

The film stars two teenagers Emily Flain and James Stockdale making their big-screen debut, alongside veteran actors Penelope Wilton, Toby Jones and Ian McElhinney.

As for the scene stealer Buster (real name Nellie) - the elephant's scenes were filmed in Ontario where she is cared for, as she is not a great flyer.

#SIFF 2018 Youth Jury announced Colin McIvor's ZOO as the Youth Jury #winner for the Best Films4Families Feature! Get it today on #OnDemand & #Digital.
Get it here -> https://t.co/0UGobP9dyO pic.twitter.com/cBlRbsuEqT

— Samuel Goldwyn Films (@GoldwynFilms) June 11, 2018

Zoo was written and directed by Belfast native Colin McIvor.

The highly anticipated picture will be released in cinemas on 29th June, 2018.

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