The South African Breweries (SAB) along with its judging panel announced the winners of the annual SAB Environmental Media of the Year awards at its headquarters in Johannesburg on 12 November. Stroop – journey into the rhino horn war took the Video Media (Long Form) award for 2019.
The awards, now in their third decade, aim to recognize South African journalists who have excelled at reporting on, and creating awareness of, environmental issues across print, electronic and digital media. Bongani Bingwa, MC of the event, says it was a unanimous decision by the judges for the hard-hitting South African film that has ignited world-wide interest in rhino poaching and has screened at numerous film festivals as well as on TV channels around the globe.
This is the 25th award for the filmmakers of Stroop, Susan Scott and Bonné de Bod. “The film has won so many international awards which is wonderful of course! But it’s very important to be recognized back home,” says an emotional de Bod. “This is a very prestigious award, and has been given out by SAB for over thirty years, so to have the focus put squarely on rhino poaching, considering all the environmental issues out there, is just vital and I’m very pleased about that.”
One of the film’s characters, Karen Trendler, was honoured with the Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year – the top nod at the award ceremony. “How wonderful that Karen has been recognized for her thirty years of service to caring for and rewilding wild animals!” Scott adds that Trendler, a world famous wildlife rehabilitator, shared this with notable environmentalists who have made meaningful impact in their fields like the UN Patron for the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, and lion advocate Gareth Patterson.
This is the first cash award that the filmmakers have won for the film and Scott says they are choosing to share it with their mothers, who they moved in with during the four years of filming on Stroop. Stroop is a gripping wildlife crime thriller documentary that takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride between Africa and Asia. These first time filmmakers embed themselves on the front-lines of the rhino poaching crisis where they are given exclusive access to the war unfolding. Carving out six months for the project, the two women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.