Akashinga: The Brave Ones Trailer for James Cameron’s New Documentary
National Geographic has released the trailer for the documentary short Akashinga: The Brave Ones, directed by Maria Wilhelm — the executive director of the Avatar Alliance Foundation — and executive produced by James Cameron. The documentary tells the story of Akashinga, the all-female anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe that is revolutionizing the way animals are protected and communities are empowered. You can check out the trailer below!
According to Deadline, the short sheds light on the vigilante group which trains to face down poachers in order to save wildlife at a moment’s notice. Akashinga: The Brave Ones is set to have its world premiere at the EarthXFilm Festival, which will be held virtually April 22-27 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The documentary short is also an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival and will broadcast on National Geographic later this year in 171 countries and 43 languages.
With many of Africa’s key species, including elephants, reaching levels near extinction, Akashinga is a radical, new and highly effective weapon against poaching. The group was founded by Damien Mander, who serves as CEO of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation and Akashinga. The documentary shows how the team, drawn from the abused and marginalized, is revolutionizing the way animals are protected and communities are empowered — and its members’ own lives are being transformed. Mander’s innovative approach to conservation calls for community buy-in rather than a full-on armed assault against poachers. With the COVID-19 global pandemic, Akashinga is more crucial now than ever as resources are becoming scarce and wildlife becomes more vulnerable to poachers.
“The illegal trafficking of wildlife is one of the world’s largest criminal industries, linked to terrorism and, some evidence suggests, to the pandemic we’re struggling to stop,” said Mander. “Wildlife trafficking must be stopped at the source. This is the job of wildlife rangers like the Akashinga. They’re the first and last line of defense not just for nature, but also for humanity.”
“While we battle with an increasingly powerful viral enemy, the poaching wars rage on,” said Cameron. “The Akashinga are front-line warriors — fiercely committed to protecting Africa’s most vulnerable species and to securing a positive future for their communities. They fight to ensure nature wins.”
“At a time when we need to be brave, the proud and courageous women of Akashinga have lessons to teach us all — about the unique power of sisterhood, the importance of collaboration and the essential nature of community,” adds Wilhelm. “The question is whether we’re willing to learn the lessons they have to teach.”
Akashinga: The Brave Ones is produced by Kim Butts, Drew Pulley, and Wilhelm.