NHU Africa's production, Saving Rhino Phila has won a prestigious Panda Award for best film in the Nature Conservancy Environment and Conservation category at the Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, UK. The Wildscreen festival is the longest standing and most respected wildlife film festival in the world, drawing top names from broadcasters like Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic. The film was commissioned by NHU Africa and produced by Triosphere and directed by Richard Slater-Jones.
The film was steered from conception to completion by NHU Africa's commissioning editor and creative director Vyv Simson, who had this to say about last night's accomplishment; "Winning a Panda Award at Wildscreen is about as good as it gets in this business. I'm so pleased and so proud of everyone who has worked so hard. This award has placed the whole of the South African wildlife film making industry centre stage."
Oloff Bergh, producer from Triosphere was also extremely pleased to receive the award, and explained initial motivation for the film; "As a team of passionate wildlife filmmakers and conservationists, we were desperate to bring the world's attention to the mass slaughter of South Africa's rhinos. But, we had to create a concept which would appeal to international audiences. Just another news piece about "the war on rhinos" was not going to have an impact. Phila's tragic ordeal presented the ideal opportunity to tell one rhino's story in a personalized yet compelling and informative way. Winning the Panda award for Saving Rhino Phila not only gives deserved recognition to the highly talented, committed and passionate team that produced the film - but it accentuates the original objective of drawing the world's attention to the plight of rhinos in South Africa."
Saving Rhino Phila is a 52 minute documentary that tells the harrowing tale of Phila, who survived being shot nine times on two separate occasions in attempts to kill her for her horn. It is a powerful story that identifies the individual struggles of both owners and rhinos in the ongoing battle to keep the species from falling prey to the persistent and brutal attacks by poachers. Saving Rhino Phila set out to educate people about this through the use of dramatic recreations and the compelling struggle for survival against the odds by heroine Phila. According to director Slater-Jones, the film is meant to "hit the audience between the eyes" and hopefully stem the tide of demand for rhino horn on an international level.
Saving Rhino Phila is available for purchase on Kalahari.com