This in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding, and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities.
Directors Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau (Narco Cultura) explore the complex heart of contemporary issues of animal conservation and commodification at a time when endangered African species such as elephants, rhinos and lions march ever closer to extinction. Trophy journeys across lush African forests and vast plains and into the world’s largest hunters’ convention in Las Vegas to meet breeders and hunters who passionately believe in animal conservation. A common mantra of these businesses—“if it pays, it stays”—sums up the controversial notion that if you assign monetary value to an animal, it is worth protecting.
As Africa’s most iconic animals continue to vanish in droves, can the controversial practices of hunting and breeding actually help the numbers thrive? Can assigning a value to an animal possibly help conserve it? What gives humans the right to own animals and to decide whether they live or die? And is there any real future for a “natural” world in our rapidly developing, capitalist global society? In Schwarz’s and Clusiau’s richly cinematic safari, anything is possible, and nothing is as you would expect.
Film Streams, Omaha, NE