Sisters of the Wilderness, the social impact feature-length documentary, which won best South African Feature Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival in July last year, and qualified for Oscar consideration, will have its international premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on 26 January 2019.
Set in the iMfolozi wilderness, South Africa, in the oldest game park in Africa, the iconic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park, Sisters of the Wilderness tells the story of five young Zulu women venturing into the wilderness for the first time on a journey of healing and self-discovery, reminding us that we are all intimately linked to nature.
The film follows the women as they walk in big game country and camp under the stars, totally surrounded by wild animals. Exposed to the elements and carrying on their backs all they need for the journey, they face emotional and physical challenges, and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.
“We want to ‘transfer’ the audience to an ancient place where no barriers separate human and nature,” says creator/ producer, Ronit Shapiro, of One Nature Films, whose experience in the iMfolozi wilderness and a meeting with South Africa’s legendary conservationist, the late Dr Ian Player, inspired her to make this film. “A journey into wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation.”
The film also explores the plight of the primordial iMfolozi wilderness which is severely threatened by an expanding open-cast coal mine on its border, and the intensifying rhino poaching calamity in that area.
Award-winning South African documentary filmmaker, Karin Slater, directed and shot the film. “I was born in Empangeni and spent my early years, close to the iMfolozi wilderness. I have a deep love and connection to this area. I know what the wilderness has done for me over the years, ” says Karin.
Sisters of the Wilderness is the foundation for an outreach and audience engagement programme that will use multiple platforms to re-connect global audiences with nature, and empower young people, especially women. The social impact programme was launched in South Africa in September 2018 in celebration of Heritage Month in the country, and World Rhino Day.
“We are delighted that the film was selected to have its International Premiere at the renowned International Film Festival in Rotterdam and we are looking forward to sharing the story of how the film came about, in the Q&A with the audience after each screening,” says Ronit.