17 minute-plus short film ‘Sides of a Horn’ is hoping to shed light on the rhino poaching crisis and the mounting tension between rangers and poachers. The film, whose executive producer is billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson is directed by British-born, LA-based filmmaker Toby Wosskow; follows two brothers-in-law on opposite sides of the rhino poaching argument, one a poacher and the other a game ranger.
According to the film’s website, “Sides of a horn is the first film to tell the story of Africa’s poaching war from both sides of the fence. Based on actual events and filmed in the townships and game reserves most directly impacted by wildlife crime, this dramatic short film paints an unbiased portrait of a modern war that is tearing communities apart and driving a pre-historic species to the verge of extinction.”
The genesis of the film occurred when Wosskow travelled to South Africa in 2016. He was captivated by the beauty of the country’s wildlife reserves telling the African Wildlife Foundation that, “One afternoon, I was walking through the bush with a game ranger, when we stumbled across a white rhino peacefully grazing. What struck me more than the animal’s vicious beauty was that this scene could have been taking place 50 million years ago or today. I was looking at a living, breathing time machine in a land that time forgot.”
“The magic of the moment took on new significance when Wosskow learned the extent to which rhinos were under attack, “that this magnificent creature was being massacred to the brink of extinction.”
Deadline reports that though fictional, Sides of a Horn depicts the actual dilemmas impacting rural communities, which are torn apart by the conflict between poachers and rangers. Moreover, poaching is connected to poverty, inequality, corruption, and the rhinos’ suffering is closely linked to the suffering of people.
Filmmaker Wosskow explained to journalists that his motivation was based on the fact that, “No other filmmakers have given a voice to the people at the heart of the issue. The people in the communities, near these protected areas. That’s why I wanted to make a film.”
Wild Aid, African Wildlife Foundation, and Virgin Unite have been screening the film for policymakers and world-leaders as a means of humanising the complex social and environmental issue. In his capacity as a Mandela Washington grant recipient, Wosskow is facilitating grassroots screenings in rural communities where rhinos were once poached to extinction but are now being reintroduced such as those in Uganda.
— Capital FM Uganda (@CapitalFMUganda) November 21, 2019
Shaban Senyange, a conservation specialist in Uganda, who teamed up with him and film producer Kevin Wolf, to bring the film to the East African country is quoted by Africa News saying, ‘It’s not just rhino and other animal lives at stake, it’s also human lives.”
‘‘I hope to facilitate dialogue between the government and local communities regarding the utilisation of wildlife resources and the fight against illegal wildlife poaching…” Senyange said.
African Wildlife Foundation CEO, Kaddu Sebunya, told Deadline about the short, “I have spent 25 years talking in circles with politicians, trying to explain the complexities of our poaching war. Now, I can show them Sides of a Horn, and 17 minutes later, we are having a productive conversation. That is the power of this film.”
Educate yourself on the crisis and Watch the film here: