Award-winning documentary feature from conflict photographer Kate Brooks, The Last Animals, will come to VOD platforms from November 5.
Kate Brooks turns her lens from the war zones she’s used to covering to the systematic killing of African elephants and rhinos that’s occurring on a tragically industrial scale. Her award-winning film features a number of extraordinary people who have devoted their lives to protect these animals from poachers and criminal cartels.
From the front lines in Africa to going behind the scenes at the markets of Asia and the US, Brooks’ film is an intense look at the international community’s response to this growing crisis and the attempts to genetically rescue the Northern White rhinoceros. In March, following the death of a Northern White rhino named Sudan, there were just two females left on the planet.
Proudly receiving the Impact Award at Wildscreen Festival 2018 when up against such esteemed nominees as Blue Planet II, The Last Animals, which also received the Disruptor’s Innovator Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, portrays a powerful story that’s too easily dismissed, one that needs to be seen and heard to influence consumer behaviour and government policy.
Acknowledged for its potential to unsettle the status quo, the film has also been honoured for celebrating the lives of those rangers and military personnel who were killed by poachers during the making of the film. But the problem continues because despite international trade bans, laundered ivory and rhino horn are still openly sold in both legal and unregulated markets.
The film depicts some of the scientists using cutting-edge tech to track the criminal syndicates responsible for moving and selling these products and the pioneering methods to save an entire species. Conservation Biologist Dr. Samuel Wasser said, “Part of the film portrays the work my lab is doing to help combat this illegal trade, sampling DNA from large ivory seizures made worldwide to determine the origin of the major elephant poaching hotspots across Africa.”
Wasser is widely acknowledged as the leading mind in DNA extraction methods from ivory to identify slaughter locations and track criminal movement. He praised the work of Kate Brooks, adding that “her experience as a photojournalist in Afghanistan and Middle East clearly makes this film a one of a kind that brings tears to your eyes every time you see it.”
Kate Brooks says: “Filming this documentary was at times both devastating and inspiring. Over the course of three years, I travelled to places I never imagined I would go and saw things I could not have dreamed.
“I discovered a web of international criminal activity and a network of the most devoted people I have ever met – scientists, activists and conservationists working around the clock to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction. The rangers who risk their lives every day to preserve the beauty and life that remain are the planet’s unsung heroes.”
The Last Animals will be available on all major VOD platforms in the UK from 5th November 2018.