St. John Film presents another award-winning “On Screen / In Person”* film, the thought-provoking, 85-minute documentary “Milking the Rhino,” directed by David E. Simpson, who will be at the screening. The screening will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, at the St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay.
Examining Africa’s deepening conflict between humans and animals in an ever-shrinking world, “Milking the Rhino” is the first major documentary to explore wildlife conservation from the perspective of the people who live with the wild animals. Shot in some of the world’s most magnificent locales, the film offers complex, intimate portraits of rural Africans at the forefront of community-based conservation: a revolution that is turning poachers into preservationists and local people into the stewards of their land. With memorable characters and spectacular locations, this film tells intimate, hopeful and heartbreaking stories of people from Kenya and Namibia.
The film captures the struggle of ecology vs. economics when rural Africans set aside traditional ways of grazing their cattle and killing animals to create nature preserves. The now successful restoration of rhino, lion and elephant populations has prompted visionary local natives to establish comfortable, upscale eco-lodges that bring tourists and foster a new local business: tourism. As one lodge host contends “we never used to benefit from these wild animals but now we milk them like cattle.” None the less his neighbor disagrees: “A rhino means nothing to me! I can’t kill it for meat like a cow.” The series of fascinating exchanges between friends and foes of the new business model illustrates the complexities of cultural change among people everywhere.
There will be a post film discussion with director David Simpson on hand to provide personal insights into the filming process and to lead a discussion on eco-tourism and community-based conservation, topics of great relevance to St. Johnians.
For more information about upcoming films, St. John Film Society or to become a Film Society member visit: http://www.stjohnfilm.com.
*On Screen/In Person is made possible by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program and the Virgin Island Council of the Arts. St. John Community Foundation is their fiscal sponsor.