In honour of World Rhino Day, on the 22nd September 2018, in both Johannesburg and Los Angeles, the first short film in our country’s history to expose both sides of the devastating struggle of South Africa’s poaching war is due to make its debut screening. US-based Writer-Director Toby Wosskow, in collaboration with Executive Producer, Sir Richard Branson, and South African producers The Televisionaries and You Kicked My Dog (YKMD) Productions have created an incredible film completely crowdfunded by a Kickstart Campaign.
With wildlife crime currently positioned as the world’s fourth largest multi-billion dollar industry, operated by highly-organised global syndicates, the horrific crimes on the ground are constantly revealed in local and international media but never before have we been exposed to the communities that are being torn apart by this war. A single rhino horn can fetch up to USD300 000 on the Asian black markets, translating into a value far higher than that of gold or cocaine. However, this demand from the Far East is fueling a war on the ground in South Africa. The human death toll is rising daily and the rhino is facing extinction within the next decade.
Emmanuel Castis, South African YKMD Producer and Conservationist, states “Sides of a Horn presents a unique narrative of South Africa’s rhino poaching war” explaining passionately that “It’s a multi-billion-dollar trade run by highly-organized international crime syndicates but the communities on the ground in South Africa receive very little media attention and they are being torn apart. It’s time to share their story.”
Sides of a Horn exposes the social impact of the rhino horn trade, humanising those on the ground, and giving a face to those who are so devastatingly affected, thereby creating awareness and hopefully catalyzing positive change. Based on true events, this dramatic short film details the rhino poaching epidemic from the perspective of the three characters most directly affected, namely, the ranger, the poacher and of course, the rhino.
This is a global problem, which is why the filmmakers decided to reach out to a global community to raise the funds for this important film. Partnering with more than 235 passionate philanthropists, influential conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on World Rhino Day in 2017, raising over $57 000, resulting in Sides of a Horn being the fifth highest funded short film ever on Kickstarter. In addition, the campaign was honoured by Kickstarter with their prestigious “Project We Love” badge, featuring on their homepage for some time.
Filmed earlier this year, the film’s content is based on extensive research; countless hours on the ground building relationships with the local community leaders to ensure absolute authenticity. Shot in our South African townships and our beautiful game reserves, where the effects of this crisis are experienced daily, the film is set for a feature-length adaptation in the near future and the intention is to release the film around the world with a plea for action.
Sides of a Horn Writer-Director, Toby Wosskow, says that “The rhino poaching crisis is complex and the conversation around it must go beyond simple right and wrong,“ adding that “We focused on crafting our story in a non-didactic way, exposing both sides of the struggle.”