‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ Launches Outreach and Audience Engagement Programme
Saturday, 22 September, in Celebration of World Rhino Day & South Africa’s Heritage Month
Sisters of the Wilderness, the social impact feature-length documentary, which recently won best South African Feature Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival and qualifies for an Oscar consideration, is the foundation for an outreach and audience engagement programme that will use multiple communication platforms to raise awareness, inspire, communicate and engage audiences worldwide.
The outreach programme launches on World Rhino Day (22 September) at Nondumiso and Shiyikosi Schools near the Northern part of Hluhluwe where the film is set, with another screenings in Somkhele at the Isolesizwe Film Festival, organised by well-known conservationist Sheila Berry, schedule for Heritage Day on 24 September. These screenings are followed by screenings in the midlands communities that are home to the main characters in the film, with the first being shown at the Midlands Community College on 25 September.
The film, which follows the healing and transformation journey of five young Zulu women in the wilderness, is set in South Africa’s iconic and highly important natural and cultural heritage gem, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, in KwaZulu-Natal. It highlights the threat to this valuable wilderness and its wildlife – the rhino, elephant and other species.
“We chose to launch our impact programme on South Africa’s Heritage Month and World Rhino Day because these two occasions are closely related to the themes in the film and to the project social impact goals,” says project Creator and Producer, Ronit Shapiro of One Nature Films.
“It is very important for us to start the programme in the communities bordering the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park since one of our key impact goals is to help in the efforts to save the iMfolozi Wilderness from the threat of illegal hunting and unsustainable mining,” adds Ronit.
“We believe that communities can play a major role in the efforts to protect South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage, and we hope that through the film and a facilitated discussion after the screening, young people and community members will be empowered to get involved and find solution to issues affecting them and wild nature in their surroundings.”
Each screening will be facilitated by local community members who have many years of experience in education, community engagement and are actively working in areas related to the themes in the film: women empowerment and wilderness conservation.
“We worked closely with these facilitators during the film production and provided them with specific materials for the facilitation sessions. They bring to the audience engagement a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from their day to day work as educationalists, wilderness / nature guides, and cultural advocates,” explains Shapiro.
The screenings will be followed up by an interactive discussion about the themes that the film highlights. The audience will also be asked to fill out feedback questionnaires to help with the impact evaluation.
In addition to the screenings in KwaZulu-Natal, the film is also joining the ‘Ignite Your Rights’ outreach tour, organised by the non-for-profit Sunshine Cinema, which uses free solar-powered interactive impact screenings to stimulate young people’s engagement. The tour starts in South Africa in October and then continues on to communities in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
“We are in conversations with several other organisations in South Africa that work with young people, and we are looking forward to enhance our outreach through collaborations with like-minded organisations. We are also actively looking for funding and sponsors to support our expanding programme. Anyone interested can contact us if they wish to get involved,” says Shapiro.
The film continues its film festival screenings in South Africa at the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival, the Jozi film festival and the Mzansi Women Film Festival.
Screening Dates / Times:
Jozi Film Festival www.jozifilmfestival.com
Sunday 30 September, 2pm, Olive Tree Theatre
Sunday 30 September, 8pm, Bioscope Independent Cinema
Cape Town International Film Market and Festival filmfestival.capetown
Wednesday 10 October, 2pm, SK Nouveau 5
Saturday 13 October, 6pm, Nu Metro 4
Mzansi Women Film Festival October 26 – 28 screening times TBC