Susan Scott - 2017 Rhino film calendar still available - STROOP By Jason Peters
1 January 2017
Between finishing filming and editing what promises to be the definitive film on the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa, the award winning STROOP filmmakers, Bonné de Bod and Susan Scott announced their 2017 STROOP calendar in December last year and they still have stock available.
We sat down with STROOP's director to find out more about the calendar and of course when the film will be released!
The calendar looks great with images from the crisis throughout but thankfully none of them are graphic, and it looks like each month is themed. Why did you feel you had to go to this effort to put a calendar out there?
Yes, good question! Well, our film is publicly funded. And because of that, both Bonné and I feel all the time that the public needs to be part of the film's progress every step of the way. Which is why we have such a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we connect with those that the film belongs to... the public. Obviously when we're filming a bust or an arrest with the rangers in Kruger or we're with the state prosecutors in court, we can't live tweet about that! The absolute last thing we want to do is jeopardize a case or an arrest. But the calendars seemed like a great way to give back to the public... our partner on the printing, Burblepix really came to the party and they lowered the price dramatically so that we could get it out there for a really good price of R199 within South Africa or $19 on international orders… oh and two or more orders are couriered for free on all South African orders. You can't beat that price and the quality is exceptional!
Indeed, some spectacular images, are they all from the film?
Every image is from the filming of STROOP. And while we have filmed some absolutely heartbreaking scenes, I think the biggest thing that has surprised me while filming STROOP for the past two years has been the human element. Wow, we have some amazing people out there doing incredible things. And to be able to document that and show that in a positive way has been a priviledge. And I think we both felt that we had to put out a calendar where its owner through the year is reminded of the terrible plight of our rhinos, but not through graphic images of death, blood and horrendous pain but through seeing the work being done on the ground. The vets are saving so many lives doing groundbreaking treatments and surgeries and that has to be seen, let alone what the rangers, state prosecutors, investigating officers, pilots, rhino owners, activists and so many others are doing. So this is a calendar of hope.
When is the film going to be done and why is it taking so long!?
We are hoping for release mid-2017 and I cannot tell you how frustrating it has been feeling this huge pressure not only from everyone expecting so much from STROOP but of course we feel the pressure to get the film done because of the ongoing death of rhinos. We feel that, we really do... But, there actually have been quite a few documentary films and countless in-depth news reports about the crisis and they largely go unnoticed. Why is that? And a large majority of those working on the ground have told us that it is because a majority of them bounce in for a few days and aren't able to grapple the huge dynamics of the issue. We certainly didn't understand that and we thought we'd film for a few months and be able to document the crisis. Heck no! We had no idea what we were getting into and if we're battling to figure out the issue and get to the bottom of all the backstories, how can we expect the public who owns this film to understand these complexities if we don't unpack it wholly for them. As Bonné always says, "we have one chance to get this right, only one chance and everyone is expecting so much from this film... we have to get it right for the rhinos."
So, a huge aspect of that is the cost. Obviously the longer it has taken us the more it has cost us. As you know, we have sold our houses, moved in with our mothers (!) and poured our investments into STROOP... we could not ask the public to believe in us if we didn't do so first. So an ongoing funding option for us has been pre-ordering digital downloads of the film which is a great idea because instead of buying the film after it is made, one buys the film BEFORE it is made, thereby helping the filmmakers make the film. And while that has been great, we really felt the calendars were a great way to give back and actually some members of the public gave us the idea by asking for some of the images from our social media posts from the field to be put in to a book or a calendar.
About the Calendars:
The beautiful high resolution images inside this calendar are all from the filming of STROOP. From the killing fields of Kruger and iMfolozi where the rangers work tirelessly to protect our rhinos, to the farms and private reserves of the owners, to the orphan carers working around the clock to save traumatized baby calves, to the vets, scientists and researchers darting and dehorning and operating on rhinos out in the wild, to the courtrooms where the battleground changes to try to successfully convict poachers and syndicate leaders… these are images from the film before the film is released. All the important environment and wildlife days are in the calendar, as well as the full moon nights so that we are reminded of the huge effort underway during those times to protect our rhinos. Without waiting for the film, this gives a clear indication of what is happening out "there" for our rhinos. Plus, the proceeds of this calendar will go to finishing the film and keeping it independent for the public to say that this is their film, because no-one can say they didn't know.
What is STROOP? STROOP is an independent documentary feature film on the rhino poaching crisis, which the world needs to see.
The filming over two-and-a-half years has been publicly funded and now the film is in edit and finishing up last interviews before its release in 2017. The word STROOP in Afrikaans means poached but also stripped bare… one ploughs the corn fields stripping them bare. So stripping the rhino, its being, its essence from what makes it a rhino. The film is in Afrikaans, Shangaan, Vietnamese, Chinese and English. It will have english subtitles throughout.
The film is being made by well-known wildlife television presenter Bonné de Bod and filmmaker Susan Scott. Bonné has been presenting wildlife stories on South African television for nearly a decade while Susan has been making National Geographic and Discovery/Animal Planet documentary films for nearly twenty years with some of the best wildlife and documentary filmmakers on the planet. The duo have won numerous awards for their work, ranging from multiple SAFTAs and Kudu awards, to wildlife film festival awards, an ATKV Media Veertjie, and most recently the prestigious SANParks Best Journalist Award for Bonné and two SAB Environmental Media Awards for Susan's writing and photography documenting STROOP.
Why the STROOP filmmakers need YOUR help? STROOP's filmmakers, Bonné and Susan have self-funded a lot of the film, and received generous donations from the public to shoot the film for two-and-a-half years now. Many distributors and broadcasters have expressed interest in the film, but once the film is sold to the "industry" it loses its independent nature and may have to be cut down or have scenes cut out for government interests or to appease advertising clients. It is vital that the film be made entirely without corporate control to ensure that the true story of what is happening on the ground is seen. The only way to do this is to ask the public to pre-buy copies of the film, donate towards the film or buy products such as this calendar from the shoots of STROOP.
By making you, the public, pay for the film, we avoid having to work for a broadcaster and their mandates… which means no censorship from television executives over a controversial film like this. Bonné is not picking sides in the story she will tell… she will ask the questions that any ordinary South African would. The filmmakers are bringing the information from the battleground straight to you.
It is wonderful that you share this campaign via social media, but the biggest impact you can have is to help make this film and prove that sometimes, hard hitting films are supported by the public.
Consider pledging your support by buying a calendar from the filming of the film for as little as R199. Purchasing this 2017 calendar of the film helps us finish STROOP and ensures you get to see this all important film.
We will look back at this time and wonder if this was the turning point and what was being done to stop the eradication of our rhinos in the wild. This has to be documented for the future and to help us understand NOW what HAS to be done.
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