A man on a mission travels from Africa to Asia to understand people and pangolins

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammals on earth. They are on the verge of extinction.

In May 2019 Eye Of The Pangolin was released on You Tube as part of an awareness campaign driven by Pangolin.Africa. It introduced people to the four African species of this charismatic little animal.

Scales goes further and deeper into the pangolin story and asks why are they in such demand – and what this says about our relationship with nature.

Bruce Young is a deeply curious filmmaker from South Africa who has become fascinated by pangolins. He asks what we stand to lose if a whole species disappears from the planet.

In an increasingly personal quest he talks to people on all sides of the story – about the trade, the demand and the hope.

Project Status

Until 2020 most people had no idea what a pangolin was. Then this shy, gentle creature was thrust into the spotlight due to its possible link to the spread of the corona virus.

This appears unlikely now, but the crisis facing pangolins and our relationship with the natural world is more relevant than ever.

With shooting completed in Cameroon, Nigeria and Zimbabwe and some sequences captured here in South Africa, we are now thinking out-of-the-box regarding our shoots in Asia. China, where the demand for pangolin scales is greatest, is still virtually impossible to access, particularly for filmmakers, but we’re looking at options with Nina, our Beijing producer.

We aim to tell the human story of Traditional Chinese Medicine by talking to practitioners and patients about the use of scales in their remedies. Finger-pointing and the blame-game are not what our film is about. We want to understand why this demand has driven pangolins to the brink of extinction.

Then in our search for hope for the pangolin, we still need head for the US to find out about the breeding programmes being conducted at some zoos there. We will also talk to some international wildlife conservation groups who are all working to save pangolins.

Can our story of the trade, the demand and the hope for pangolins help to bridge the gap between people and cultures to give this perfectly evolved creature a chance at survival?

Lastly – congratulations to our amazing camera guy, Warren Smart and the team from
My Octopus Teacher for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar Award of 2021.

  • Principle photography completed in Cameroon, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
  • Seeking funding to travel to Asia and the USA.
  • Seeking funding for post production.


“Pangolins are on the brink of extinction, and our generation bears the responsibility to change that. This film will shed light on the deeper causes of the pangolin tragedy and on the steps to avert it. It is a powerful call to action, against ignorance and procrastination.”
Angiolo Laviziano

“Scales is a film that is badly needed to help expose, and halt, this catastrophic trade. Pangolin are a vital part of the environment and the EOTP film was a great start. Scales will properly lift the lid.”
Peter Eastwood – Tanglewood Foundation

“An innocent and beautiful creature illegally trafficked and slaughtered for no reason at all. Truly heart breaking. All the efforts to save and protect the pangolin is a human responsibility. We all need to do our share.”
Stan Wertlieb – Principal, Grindstone Entertainment Group, A LIONSGATE COMPANY

“We’ve had additional support from Fondation Marchig, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, Help Animals International, all based in Switzerland and SavePangolins from San Francisco. Wild Aid, also from SF continue to offer support as our financial partner in the US. We are most grateful to them all.”
Bruce Young


Bruce Young – Director | Writer

Bruce worked as an actor in South Africa and the USA before moving into the production end of the film business in Los Angeles. A return to SA was next where he established himself as a local screenwriter. Documentary feature Blood Lions was his directorial debut. The film was initially purchased by Discovery and is now on Netflix. It received a number of awards and is part of an international campaign to end canned lion hunting. Eye Of The Pangolin (2019) was made to raise awareness about the most trafficked mammal on the planet. It is part of an international campaign driven by Pangolin.Africa and is freely available on You Tube – over 300K views and counting.

Diana Keam – Producer

Diana co-owns Silver Bullet Films. She has made films all over Africa and beyond for 30 years. After becoming one of South Africa’s top First Assistant Directors where she worked with major global talent like directors John Boorman and Arthur Penn and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Juliet Binoche and Nigel Hawthorne, she moved seamlessly into producing. Silver Bullet Films is a boutique production house based in Cape Town and a Red Bull South Africa and Red Bull TV production partner.

Wayne de Lange (SASC) – Executive Producer | Cinematographer

Wayne is co-owner of Silver Bullet Films. He has shot content for some of Africa’s most prominent NGO’s such as WWF, Peace Parks, IUCN. He has also been a cinematographer and second unit DOP for studio feature films like Blue Crush, Safe House (Denzel Washington), The Giver (Meryl Streep) and Perfect Wave (Scott Eastwood). The Netflix documentary Terra employed Wayne as cinematographer too. Recently Wayne has shot and directed a range of commercials, documentaries and branded content for brands like Apple, Red Bull, Kia, VW, Amarula, Johnson & Johnson and Bridgestone.

Warren Smart – Cinematographer

Warren has shot for some of the world’s largest non-profits across 26 African countries. It was his “flying rhino” footage and stills for African Parks in 2010 that announced him as a player in the world of African conservation filmmaking. The World Wildlife Fund, African Parks, Conservation International and Green Renaissance have all benefited from Warren’s skills, commitment and raw grit in the face of extreme conditions in often remote and hostile areas.

 Lubabalo Bozo – Sound

In his relatively short career, Luba has moved up rapidly through the ranks in the world of film sound recording. He is now a highly regarded sound recordist having worked on an extensive list of local and international TVC’s, films, television productions and documentaries with most of the top South African production houses. Some international productions that Luba has worked on include Boogie Mountain, Indian Detective, Roots and Black Sails

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