The elephant population of Garamba National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under constant threat from heavily armed and well-organised groups of poachers. The film department of National Geographic are hoping to raise awareness and funding to end their plight with the launch of a new virtual reality (VR) short film.
The Protectors: Walk in the Rangers Shoes will be premièring at the Tribeca Film Festival on 21st April. The short film was shot exclusively in VR and was directed by Academy Awards winner Kathryn Bigelow. The film follows the lives of the Garamba park rangers as they try and protect the elephants from ivory poachers.
“National Geographic has been protecting the planet for 129 years and inspiring others to do the same through text, photos, videos and, increasingly, VR,” said Rachel Webber, executive vice president of digital product for National Geographic. “The Protectors transports audiences to the heart of the ivory conflict, witnessing the battle between destruction and preservation firsthand.”
“The world’s park rangers are truly unsung heroes, serving as the last line of defense between endangered wildlife and extinction — for lions, rhinos, pangolins, etc., and, of course, elephants,” said director Kathryn Bigelow. “With the help of National Geographic and African Parks, The Protectors offers an opportunity to get to know the brave Rangers of Garamba National Park in the DRC, where poaching elephants for their ivory tusks is rampant. Their job is a deadly race against time, fraught with danger, and without them the elephants’ extinction is all but certain. Every day they put their lives at risk to protect our planet’s wildlife — but they cannot do it alone. Both the elephants and rangers need your help.”
Following the première of the film at Tribeca, The Protectors will then be made available on the Within VR content platform from 1st May and then on Facebook and YouTube from 8th May.
VRFocus will continue to bring you news of upcoming VR film projects.