Prestigious film festivals for brave SA rhino documentary

The South African made documentary STROOP – Journey into the Rhino Horn War continues to make waves internationally, with its acceptance into four major US film festivals.

This comes hot on the heels of the movie being awarded the Green Tenacity Award by the judges of the San Francisco Green Film Festival earlier this month where the film premiered.

STROOP tells the shocking and touching story of the ongoing poaching of rhino and the trade in its coveted horn. Four years in the making, this labour of love has seen filmmakers Bonné de Bod and director Susan Scott sell their houses, leave their jobs and move in with their mothers in order to document what is happening in the fight to save the rhino from extinction. 

Initially setting out on a six-month project it became a dangerous and intense expedition for the passionate duo. In an exclusive, de Bod and Scott filmed special ranger units inside the Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. The pair also travelled undercover to the dangerous back rooms of wildlife traffickers and dealers in China and Vietnam. The result is a powerful, hard-hitting and incredibly moving documentary that will challenge and shock viewers.
 
Through unprecedented footage, the pair have created a stunning, independent film – made with crowdfunding and grants – that shows why this hunted and targeted species deserves to live in dignity, free from exploitation by illegal traders, poachers, money men and corrupt governments.

De Bod as an award-winning wildlife television presenter. She was on popular environment programme 50|50for seven seasons and is also a special correspondent for SABC’s Newsroom. In addition, her series Rhino Blog is on DSTV’s People’s Weather channel is currently ranked the most popular show. Scott is a Johannesburg-based filmmaker where she produces stories on wildlife issues for various broadcasters. Prior to her directing work, she was a film editor for 17 years, cutting for some of the best wildlife filmmakers. She has won several awards, among them three SAFTAs, a Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Award as well as the SAB Environmentalist of the Year for her writing and photography.

The film will feature at the following film festivals:

  • The Santa Cruz Film Festival (October 3-7). The festival has brought the EarthVision International Environmental Film Festival under its wing and presented nearly 70 environmental films that raise awareness of critical environmental issuess.
  • The Glendale International Film Festival (October 5-12), in Los Angeles which has as its theme this year Bringing The World Together As One. Sixty-three fiction and 63 documentaries (short and feature length) will make up the programme.
  • The San Diego International Film Festival (October 10-14), where previous premieres have been big Hollywood movies such as Lion, Silver Linings Playbook and 12 Years a Slave. The organisers for this event chose only 13 feature length documentaries from around the world and have allocated STROOP two screenings – a rare occurrence for this festival.
  • The St Louis International Film Festival (November 1-11), where last year they screened nearly 400 films from more than 60 countries, including Oscar contenders such as The Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Says De Bod: “We are delighted at the favourable reception our film is getting overseas and the number of invitations we are receiving to show the film at various festivals. It is important that as many people as possible see this film to increase the awareness around the dire situation of rhino poaching and the dangerously low numbers of rhino still left in the wild.”
 
The movie will premiere in South Africa in February next year.