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We are South African filmmakers currently making the critically acclaimed feature documentary, STROOP. 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.
What is STROOP?
This is a tell-all film on the rhino poaching crisis, which the world needs to see.
This is an independently funded documentary feature film about the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. Our television and film industry says that no-one wants to watch a film explaining and exposing all aspects of the tender subject.
We disagree and we hope to prove that support through public funding.
Who is making STROOP?
Well-known wildlife television presenter Bonné de Bod and filmmaker Susan Scott are the filmmakers
Susan has been making documentary films for nearly twenty years. She has worked with some of the best wildlife and documentary filmmakers on the planet, and has gone on to win a Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival award for Best Editing, three SAFTAs as well as a SANParks Kudu award.
Bonné has been presenting wildlife stories on South African television for nearly a decade. She is one of 50|50's field presenters and is also a special correspondent for SABC's Newsroom. Bonné has just been awarded the prestigious Kudu Award for Best Journalist in South Africa, which she won in recognition of her passionate, balanced reporting on wildlife conservation issues as well as keeping the public updated and informed about environmental issues in South Africa.
Why do we need YOUR money?
We have self-funded a lot of the film, but we need to finish some filming as well as editing the film. 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, for you to decide what issue you will stand by and what you would like to do to help.
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 purchasing a "perk" on the right for as little as R150. Pre-purchasing a digital download of the film helps us finish the film 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 slow eradication of our rhinos in the wild. This has to be documented for the future.
"My best memories are of my grandparents taking me and my two siblings on trips to the Kruger National Park in South Africa… it became my most favourite place on earth and needless to say, it still is! Besides the fact that I was introduced to all the big and small critters, it was the very famous “animal sounds” tape being played in the car that really stuck with me. My passion and love for the natural world was born then… and it has become a part of who I am.
I’ve been part of the longest running wildlife and
environmental television programme in South Africa,
SABC's “50|50”. And for the past four years, we've been telling
stories that matter. But it was the stories about the gentle giant…
the rhino… and the brutality and horror they face on a daily basis
that carved out a permanent place in my heart.
It was difficult to investigate fraudulent rhino fundraisers and see
these massive animals being dehorned to save their lives.
But it was on the ground with the forensics team
in the Kruger National Park, looking at two dead rhino carcasses,
that the crisis really got to me.
I had to sit between the carcasses and deliver lines to camera
but I felt like a broken person. Question after question confronted me.
How can people do this?
How can humanity be so unbelievably cruel?
How can greed suck out the life of these beautiful creatures?
In that moment I knew that a braver decision needed to be taken.
Like all Afrikaners, I have a deep sense of love for my land…
I can't just stand by and watch. I need to do something. I have to do something. It’s as simple as that.
I have met incredible individuals and organizations on my journey so far, doing outstanding work... I’ve spent time on the battle grounds with the anti-poaching units who put their lives in danger every dayand I’ve had a little baby rhino orphan looking deeply into my eyes for comfort after his mother was killed by poachers.
I can’t help but feel that we are spending precious time arguing about the “right” way to save the rhino. But are we? Are we actually saving it?
This is not just another rhino film. This is my quest for the truth. I will dig deep, that’s my promise to you."
"I have been lucky enough to work in the wildlife television industry for nearly two decades. I’ve mostly worked on predator films for National Geographic, Animal Planet as well as for European and Asian broadcasters. The past three years I’ve been filming stories for SABC’s long running wildlife program, 50|50.
I know there are a lot of rhino films, books, documentaries and tv-series out there, so I assumed most of the information was there... available for the public... and plenty of it. And while it is... I found that it was the unique human stories... the gals and guys directly involved in the situation - well, those stories weren’t making it out to the public. Their perspective and passion interested me.
I’ve also been lucky to work with 50|50’s presenter, Bonné de Bod who made it clear from the beginning that rhinos are her passion. She’s done some groundbreaking stories for the public broadcaster and featured some of them on her radio program, but she wanted to do more and I could understand that, having also been so close to the crisis.
A compelling moment was when I found myself trying
not to throw-up from the stench when I was filming
Bonné reporting from TWO rhino carcasses being
examined in Kruger... desperately sad.
I also battled to keep the camera steady and in focus
while capturing hectic moments with Bonné and the
field rangers out patrolling close to the Mozambican
border in both Kruger and iMfolozi game reserves...
gruelling work but important to show.
But it was when I was trying to film Bonné when she was surrounded by some rather large rhino orphans that the crisis came home to me. There were four babies and one of them kept nudging its little horn into the side of my leg while I was crouching down to get the low shot of the other babies with Bonné. This little gal would not leave me alone... and eventually she pushed her warm body into my side while jamming her horn up onto my leg.
I gave up filming, pulled the camera down, shrugged at Bonné who was also experiencing this and started rubbing under this gal's chin. I don’t like touching wild animals... especially those that will return to the wild, but she clearly wanted that connection. Her skin was surprisingly soft and I kept losing my balance while she headbutted me for more rubbing and patting! Then the sound came. A high pitched long squeal... sounding just like a helium balloon. Seriously! But the strangeness and sadness of it, resonated deeply within me. It struck a chord which I can’t quite put into words, even today. And that’s when I knew... yes, I’m lucky to be in situations like this, filming wildlife and telling stories to an appreciative South African audience who has a deep love for their wildlife... but this... this has to be shared. Felt. So that we know the hopelessness of the situation for these little ones. It’s all very well to have saved them. But for what future? AND more importantly... what can be done. We need to know... all of us so we can never say that we had no idea this was happening."
As filmmakers, we’re not involved in government decisions or national park bureaucracies, and we can’t stop the poachers from walking in to kill and steal... but we can have an impact and show what’s not being shown... show the human stories of those on the ground battling daily to save our rhinos... we can witness and document those deep challenging and moving moments from another species wanting to live. That must be allowed to live without exploitation. And that’s why we’re making this film. To show South Africans... the WORLD the moments that aren’t shared on television. And more importantly, as a barometer for what our nation is doing in this crisis. What is government doing? Why are there three deaths a day in one of the most pristine and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries on the planet? Will trading in rhino horn work? Why can’t our rangers shoot to kill? Why are there nearly 400 rhino fund-raising organizations? What exactly is rhino horn used for? All these questions and more need to be answered, and answered without fear of censorship.
We wrote this nearly two years ago...
On our very first fundraising campaign and we can safely say that money paid for us to get there... to answer all of the questions and more below:
"Many of us speculate about what Asians use the horn for... aphrodisiac, cancer cure, tonic, status symbol...
we hope to go straight to the demand... to Vietnam and Hong Kong to find out where rhino horn is being sold and what exactly it is used for. Many NGOs and non-profit organizations are targeting the destination of the horn...
Susan and Bonné will look at what is really going on there." -- JULY 2014
With your help we can tell this story, the FULL story of the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa.
Please consider donating. And if you can't, please share our need with your friends and family.
This is an important story that needs to be told, help us tell it.
Unbelievable never seen before footage
Which the public have the right to see. Thanks to the public we have been filming for two years with no government or broadcaster funding... this film is self-funded with help from the public through donations, crowd-funding as well as some corporate sponsorship*.
It is vital that the film stays neutral and independent in a very politcally charged landscape like the rhino issue. Most broadcasters and traditional film distribution outlets would politically and socially censor the difficult subject at hand, which is why we need your help to keep the film paid for by you for you.
A glimpse of some of our film footage below: