World premiere for wildlife doccie

Sunset in the Wilderness director, Karin Slater, who was born in Empangeni.

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BY BILLY SUTER

AN EMPANGENI-BORN film-maker, Karin Slater, is at the helm of a new documentary, Sisters of the Wilnderness, that is to have its world premiere at the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in Cape Town and Johannesburg in June.

The film, about five young Zulu women whose lives change when they venture into the wilderness, is also scheduled for screenings at the Durban International Film Festival and at the Nature, Environment, Wildlife Filmmakers (NEWF) Congress in Durban in July, and at the Mzansi Women’s Film Festival in Johannesburg in August.

Directed by award-wining Slater, the film is set in the iMfolozi wilderness in South Africa –  in the oldest game park in Africa, the iconic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park, where the white rhino was saved from extinction,

Sisters of the Wilderness tells of five young Zulu women venturing into the wilderness for the first time on a journey of self-discovery, reminding them that we are all intimately linked to nature,” says a spokesman.

“The film follows the women as they walk in big game country and camp under the stars, surrounded by wild animals. Exposed to the elements and carrying on their backs all they need for the journey, they face emotional and physical challenges, and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.

One of the five “sisters”, Nokuphila Cele and  Wilderness guide Bongimpilo Zondi, take a break from walking in the iMfolozi wilderness.

“We want to ‘transfer’ the audience to an ancient place where no barriers separate human and nature,” says producer Ronit Shapiro, of One Nature Films, whose experience in the iMfolozi wilderness and a meeting with South Africa’s legendary conservationist, the late Dr Ian Player, inspired her to make this film.

“A journey into wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation and build leadership.”

Director Slater says, “I was born in Empangeni and spent my early years, close to the iMfolozi wilderness. I have a deep love for, and connection to, this area. I know what the wilderness has done for me over the years.”

Sisters of the Wilderness serves as a foundation for an outreach programme that will use multiple platforms to re-connect global audiences with nature, according to a press release.

The film also explores the plight of this wilderness area threatened by an open-cast coal mine on its border, as well as the severe poaching that is decimating the rhino population here.

Shapiro has engaged London-based, Evolutionary Films, as the film’s international sales agency.

Screenings at Encounters in Cape Town are on June 2, 6 and 7, and in Johannesburg on June 10.  Full details can be found on this link: http://www.encounters.co.za/film/sisters-of-the-wilderness/

For more information go to http://www.sistersofthewilderness.com/

For Durban International Film Festivalsee www.durbanfilmfest.co.za

For the film’s trailer visit:  https://vimeo.com/254099298


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