Press release by STROOP
Acclaimed South African documentary film, STROOP – Journey into the Rhino Horn War, continues to win awards, this time standing side-by-side with Steven Spielberg, Natalie Portman and Ellen DeGeneres at the Genesis Awards in the USA. This brings their total to 20 awards since the film’s world premiere in September 2018.
In Los Angeles, the film received yet another international award – the Genesis Award in the Outstanding Brigitte Bardot International Documentary Feature Film category. The Genesis Awards have been given since 1988 in the United States and recognise excellent work in media with a special focus on outstanding reporting of animal protection issues.
The winners in only 15 categories included Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic World (for tackling wildlife trafficking), Natalie Portman’s vegan film Eating Animals, Ellen DeGeneres for her television show that always highlights gorilla protection issues, well as iconic American institutions like The New York Times, 60-Minutes and Sesame Street.
The Humane Society of The United States, who present the Genesis Awards, stated that STROOP won the Brigitte Bardot Documentary Feature for its sweeping examination of the complex web of corruption and cultural traditions fuelling rhino slaughter.
Just recently the film won the Backsberg Encounters Audience Award for Best South African Film at the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival. The award is the festival’s top nod at Africa’s most prestigious documentary film festival.
STROOP’s director, Susan Scott, was visibly moved by the 20th award for the acclaimed independent film: “It’s incredible to get this recognition at home, especially when we keep getting told by mainstream media that South Africans have what’s called ‘rhino fatigue’. It’s just not possible when we have full houses like we had when we did our cinema release a few months back and now a sellout success for all our screenings at Encounters in both Cape Town and Joburg.”
Fellow filmmaker and presenter on the film, Bonné de Bod, added: “Not only were the screenings at Cinema Nouveau and the Labia sold out, the audience engagement here at Encounters was intense with much discussion about possible solutions and the way forward for our rhinos. Many Capetonians and Joburgers came up to us afterwards to say how massive an impact the film actually had on them, as they got to see the poaching crisis through the eyes of our South African heroes fighting this war.”
According to the filmmakers, this most recent award is quite special for them. “I’ve been coming to Encounters since the early 2000s and I’ve seen jaw-dropping and deeply inspiring films here that the festival team have done a wonderful job in curating to bring home for us to see and the audience award is the biggest award one can get for a documentary filmmaker,” says Scott.
“This is really special,” adds de Bod, “because it’s the audience who vote for the best film of the festival and you can’t get a better critique of your film than that.”
RE-RELEASE SCREENING IN SOUTH AFRICA
In other news, due to the popular demand and the recent Encounters win, the film will be returning to the big screen for a limited re-release in South Africa.
Joburg’s independent theatre, The Bioscope, will be holding special screenings of the film every evening during the last week of July, starting on Friday 26th. The premier will include a Q&A session with the filmmakers. This will be the first time STROOP will screen at Joburg’s iconic cinema. The film was first released at Nu Metro cinemas around the country, and has gone on to screen at Ster Kinekor’s Cinema Nouveau as well as landmark independent cinemas like White River’s Casterbridge and Cape Town’s Labia.
Since its world premiere at the San Francisco Green Film Festival in September last year, STROOP has been officially selected for 28 film festivals, winning 20 awards. The film has received wide recognition for its achievements in South African national newspapers, television, radio and magazines, and has released across South Africa in cinemas. STROOP has been picked up by the London-based Journeyman Pictures for international distribution and filmmakers are in talks with local broadcasters and hope to have an announcement soon.