New short narrative film strives to deepen the global discussion around the illegal wildlife trade.
Rhinos have been around for 50 million years, but are now at risk of extinction within the next decade. Poaching continues to decimate their already low numbers, driven by a lucrative global market that can fetch as much as USD $300,000 per rhino horn.
A short new film, called "Sides of a Horn," hopes to spark better awareness and understanding of this issue – which, as the title suggests, is multifaceted. American writer and director Toby Wosskow felt moved to create a film about rhino poaching after visiting South Africa in 2016. There, he encountered a white rhino peacefully grazing in the bush, which had a powerful effect on him. Subsequent conversations with an anti-poaching ranger revealed how complicated the issue is on a human level.
From a press release,
"While there was a fair amount of international media coverage about the multi-billion-dollar illegal wildlife trade, nobody was talking much about the community members living near rhinos, the rangers who protect them, or those who had experience with the poaching trade."
Wosskow's film is a narrative (rather than a documentary) and strives to show how divided a single small community can be over this issue. Even the same family can be torn apart over poaching, driven by poverty and desperation to do things that they might not otherwise do.
The 17-minute film revolves around two brothers, one of which is an anti-poaching ranger, fiercely dedicated to preserving the wildlife of his land, and the other who agrees to poach a rhino in order to pay for medicine for his dying wife. (Poachers receive around $3,000 per horn, which is a fraction of the final market value, but is still enough to support a family for a year.) It's a tense, emotional interaction that accomplishes what Wosskow set out to do, which is to humanize the men and women affected by the illegal wildlife trade.
"Sides of a Horn" was produced by Sir Richard Branson and is backed by Virgin, WildAid, and the African Wildlife Foundation. It is an international co-production between US companies Broad River Productions, Whirlow Park Pictures and Frame 48, alongside South Africa’s The Televisionaries and YKMD Productions. The film will be released internationally on June 25 in 11 languages. Visit site to find a screening near you.