On a ranch in South Africa, where he lives with his parents (Scott and Davis), a 12-year-old boy named Xan (Michaletos) finds an abandoned cheetah cub he names Dooms, or "Duma" (a Swahili term for the wilderness cat). Xan raises Duma as his own, but as the cub grows too big for pet-keeping, the family comes to realize the only proper thing to do is release Duma into the wild — an eventful journey Xan will have to undertake on his own.
Based on a popular children's book that told the story of a real-life friendship between a boy and his cheetah, Ballard's "Duma" features epic location cinematography. More than that, it's an adventurous tale that moves freely between the city and the treacherously beautiful Kalahari desert, where Xan and Duma cruise on a motorcycle-turned dune buggy, ford a croc-infested stream, and take refuge in the hull of a crashed airplane. Eamonn Walker turns in a fine performance, too, as a tribesman named Rip. An exotic tale of love, death, and derring-do aimed straight at the young-at-heart.