The Lion and the Empire

The incredible story of Chris McBride, the man who discovered the world’s first white lions, and his rise and fall from fame and the amazing rescue mission that has secured the survival of the lions for future generations. 

The Lion and the Empire

Directors: Alexander Lind & Thor Hampus Bank
Producers: Thor Hampus Bank, Emil Johnsen

Duration: +75 min.
Formats: Feature documentary, TV documentary

Supported by: West Danish Film Fund

Current status
: Late development
Interested in: Sales, distribution and funding

Earliest possible premiere: Fall 2019

Interested in: Production funding, sales and distribution.


This documentary tells the amazing story of Chris McBride and his discovery of the first white lions ever seen by man. It’s the story of a young man researching his master thesis on lion’s on his father’s lands in South Africa when he suddenly discovers 2 white lion cubs in the pride of lions he’s studying. Upon discovering what is the first and only white lions known to man, Chris turns his thesis into a book, “The White Lions of Timbavati”, covering the discovery and life of the white lion cubs. The book becomes an instant bestseller catapulting both Chris McBride and the white lions into the news and Chris is touring the world and appearing on talk shows. The success of the book has a dark consequences for the white lions; they become the number one target for poachers who travels to Timbavati, SA, to get the one of a kind trophy. Chris and Charlotte starts a mission against time to save the lions and find a new refuge for them to leave in peace. Chris utilises Pavlov’s new theories on conditioning and learns the white lions that the sound of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony means meat. So whenever Chris’ local scout report a risk of poachers in the area Chris immediately drives out in his trusty Landrover with a big sound system on the tailgate to blast out Beethoven in the middle of the African wilderness to get the lions to come to him, so he can watch over them.
After successfully rescuing the lions to the Berlin Zoo, Chris and his family relocate to Zimbabwe where the family is hit by tragedy when his oldest daughter is killed in a traffic accident. Life will never be the same, and the tragedy takes its toll over the next two decades. Chris now lives far from the spotlight deep in the wilderness of the bush close to his beloved lions watching over them listening to the sound of Beethoven.

We have a unique access to Chris McBride and his archives including photos and film covering all the way from his young years up till present times.

If you are interested or want to know more about this project feel free to contact producer Thor Hampus Bank on email or at +45 22129474