The groundbreaking South African film, STROOP – journey into the rhino horn war, has taken one of the world’s top wildlife prizes, ‘Best of Festival’ at the International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) in the United States over the weekend.
The local film was up against big budget films from the likes of National Geographic, the BBC, PBS and Netflix which usually dominate the natural history filmmaking landscape. So it was a surprise win for filmmakers Susan Scott and Bonné de Bod.
de Bod says STROOP’s reception worldwide continues to amaze them.
“We had hoped the international community would take notice of our heartbreaking rhino issue in South Africa but they’ve reacted hugely to the film, and this is now our 17th win since the film’s release just a few months ago.”
Scott, director of the film, says the IWFF is known for looking at all aspects of wildlife filmmaking and they actually thought STROOP might stand a chance to get selected last year.
“In fact we wanted to world premiere there and were aiming for it in our edit, but we just could not get STROOP finished in time. So it’s surreal for us that the film is being honoured this year by the prestigious festival for which we were just hoping to get selected. It’s an incredible achievement for the film and once again this puts our rhinos firmly in the international spotlight.”
This year saw over 300 films submitted from all over the world, of which 70 films were selected from 36 countries with STROOP ultimately selected the ‘Best of Festival’. The film also won the ‘Best Independent or Feature Film’ category. These two latest accolades picked up at the IWFF mark the films’ sixteenth and seventeenth awards.
Judges from the IWFF stated after the double win: “Even if you think you already understand the rhino poaching crisis, STROOP must be seen. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking and the access is unprecedented. The filmmakers are endearing and courageous. It will stay with you long after you finish watching.”
STROOP is now available to watch on iTunes, Amazon and Google. DVDs can be purchased via www.stroop-film.com. The filmmakers are in talks with local broadcasters and hope to have the film on South African television soon.