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KIFARU (The name for RHINO in Swahili)
by Karen Pecota

Award-winning filmmaker and Emmy® nominated cinematographer, David Hambridge gives the film audience an experience they will never forget in his latest documentary KIFARU. His goal for this narrative is to humanize what extinction feels like. Hambridge says, "I believe viewers will finally get to 'feel' extinction for the first time - and hopefully the last."

The northern white rhino population in Kenya is nearing extinction. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy chooses to do something about this crisis with their rhino care-taking program. Hambridge along with his filming team, Andrew Harrison Brown, and Jesse Paddock showcase an incredible story about protecting "Sudan", the last northern white rhino male. In addition to protecting Sudan they are trying help scientists save the species through using his sperm and DNA.

What makes this journey so fascinating is that while the the story had been given a wide-range of international presence, Hambridge's team was the only group granted exclusive access to the story. They were the only crew allowed to film the personal lives of Sudan's caretakers. Their cameras were the only ones to film Sudan's life and death during the last part of his life.

The efforts of the scientists gain world wide coverage but part of the untold story that Hambridge captures is the relationship between Sudan and his three amazing caretakers. Hambridge follows their journey with Sudan for four years and is honored to have been allowed exclusive access to their story. Hambridge explains, "Ol Pejeta Conservancy saw how passionately and carefully we were attempting to tell their an attempt to not have it be a newsworthy headline."  He adds, "I wanted to stick with these Kenyan men through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and not only be a friend but a vessel for their narrative to be heard." He concludes, "This is a human story because it effects humans for generations to come. Their story can only be done by taking a real-time journey alongside of them because it's how they find purpose through fighting against what seems to be the inevitable."

Two young ranger recruits, James and Joseph (JoJo), join Ol Pejeta Conservancy's rhino caretaker unit. They are mentored by a seasoned ranger, Jacob, with an unusual style for caring of these animals. The younger not only watch and learn but they join the conversation with Jacob to understand their job. Their interaction gives one an understanding of their dedication, love and the impact of the harsh realities of their job.

Hambridge's goal is two fold: 1) to reach a wider audience who is not overwhelmed with issues of conservation but have an open heart to yet another cause to help save a dying native species that has a purpose for living on this earth; 2) to offer a local voice to a global conservation. In the past, local Kenyans have observed conservation being a 'white and western' initiative. This idea has fostered due to a passion from the caucasian Europe and North American leaders who have been instrumental in African conservation. Hambridge felt it necessary to have a Kenyan face and voice for this global initiative so that the next generations of East African children will have Kenyan role models who grew up and continue to live in their own communities.

Since The Slamdance Film Festival 2019 and the two awards given to this film:  Winner of Grand Prize Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature and Winner of Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature...this remarkable project has not only been deemed worthy by the media to showcase but countless of 2019 film festival audiences and juries have given their thumbs up to fantastic filmmaking and the fine-art of storytelling. See below some of the kudos' given:


Winner, Audience Award for Best Feature

Winner, Environmental Competition


Audience Award for Top Twenty

Audience Award, Animal Magnetism


Winner, Moving Mountains Prize


Winner, Special Jury Award for Best Feature Film


Winner, Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary

Winner, Special Jury Prize for Best Feature Documentary


Winner, Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary


Winner, Best Conservation Film


Winner, Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary


Winner, Jen Bryceland Award (Best Social and Environmental Documentary)


Winner, Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography