The film weaves together a somber storyline with raw, lighthearted moments…
New documentary paints stark picture of what it looks like when a species dies. Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Anna Maria Tremonti reports for radio show ‘The Current’ in an interview with Director of KIFARU & two rhino caretakers who took care of world’s last male northern white rhino, named Sudan. International Premiere, HotDoc’s 2019.
Through their devotion and their humanity, Kifaru poignantly conveys a profound sense of loss. This touching tearjerker of a film powerfully builds a relationship between a viewer and this horned creature, only to pull it away and show audiences they don’t know what they have until it’s gone.
Kifaru, which follows the last male northern white rhino in existence in Sudan, took home two awards at the Durham, North Carolina-based festival, including the Full Frame Audience Award ford best feature film and the Full Frame Environmental Award.
"Overall, neither of us are satisfied or interested in taking the normal approach to what we’ve come to expect in most wildlife and environment documentaries, especially ones that take place in Africa,” says Brown. That nuance and respect shines through "Kifaru," and cements that even though the documentary can be sad, the film conveys greater truths and takeaways.
Scenes featuring JoJo visiting his pregnant wife while on leave from the reserve and later celebrating the birth of their daughter, or Jacob struggling to afford the education of his kids, introduce a powerfully relatable emotional arc to the film.
“The Vast of Night,” directed by Andrew Patterson, won the Audience Award for Narrative Feature, while director David Hambridge’s “KIFARU” won the 2019 Grand Jury Prize Award & The Audience Award in the Documentary Feature competition. “Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story,” won the Best of Breakouts Audience Award.
The Slamdance Film Festival has announced the lineups for its 2019 Narrative and Documentary Feature Film Competition programs. The festival, which takes place annually in Park City, Utah, is celebrating its 25th anniversary next year. In addition to the narrative and documentary features in competition, Slamdance has also announced the lineup for its inaugural Breakouts Section.
Featured films playing at Slamdance are all directorial debuts made for less than $1 million and without U.S. distribution. The films were selected for the 2019 festival by a team of Slamdance alumni. Films in both categories are eligible for the Audience Award and Spirit of Slamdance Award, the latter of which is voted upon by filmmakers at the festival.
James Mwenda travels to Hong Kong for the first time on behalf of The Elephant Society. David Hambridge with ‘Kifaru’ joins him on the trip.
“Hong Kong is considered the world’s largest ivory market playing a major role in the slaughter of 30,000 African elephants annually, according to WWF. On January 1, 2018, Hong Kong voted to gradually phase out the trade of ivory, stopping completely in 2021. But for those on the ground in Africa, that is a long way away.
November 10th, 2018 | James Mwenda a rhino caretaker at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Daniel Ole Sambu, a Maasai tribesman from Big Life Foundation, Kenya both visited Hong Kong’s infamous ‘Hollywood Road’, where antique shops sell ivory goods.”
‘KIFARU’ Director, David Hambridge is with Producer, Andrew Harrison Brown as they film with rhino caretakers James Mwenda & Joseph ‘JoJo’ Wachira in Kenya, when James post’s a goodbye letter to Sudan on Facebook. The post goes viral overnight.
“James Mwenda, a conservationist who cared for the world's last male northern white rhino, shared a heartbreaking message on Facebook about Sudan's death.
As one of the dedicated rhino care givers at the Ol Pejeta conservancy, Mwenda said he had promised Sudan to be his voice and that he would raise awareness about the importance of conservation and the danger of extinction.”