Directed by: #FlorianSchott
Baxu and the Giants depicts a story of how rhino poaching triggers social change in rural Namibia. This story is presented to its audience through the eyes of a 9 year old girl, Baxu (Camilla Jo-Ann Daries,) and how her discoveries of such activities lead to change through compassion and empathy for the wildlife surrounding her. As well as this, compassion and empathy is shown by her brother (Wafeeq Narimab,) with Baxu on the receiving end, upon seeing her hurt by the killings taking place for profit. This short film is beyond powerful and will distinctly motivate all viewers to take part in the steps to worldwide change in regards to types of wildlife crime, like rhino poaching.
From the first moment my eyes landed on the film’s opening scene, I was so excited to see a young, strong, female lead. Even without much information of the character at the beginning, it is already clear that Baxu holds a compelling and potent stance within the story. Camilla Jo-Ann Daries possesses immense acting talent throughout and has the ability to portray the core of her character with only her head held high and determination in her voice. Daries’ overall approach to the character is natural and lively which truly brings the film to life, but also fits perfectly with the acting presented by Wafeeq Narimab as Baxu’s brother. The sibling relationship onscreen is beautiful, bringing joy and a sense of a lasting bond to the story and plays a huge part in the plot too. If it wasn’t for both emotionally engaged performances, the impact of how change was eventually brought to the community may not have been as striking.
The cinematography, by Kit Hoffmann, is a wonderful aspect of this short. It is also an important aspect as, because of the brilliant cinematography, many details through the lens can be witnessed and pieced together as the plot moves forward. Details of food, homes and landscapes all add engaging elements to the story.
Following on from this, the camera is moved in specific ways to highlight certain features of the film – it follows character expressions and movements as if audience members are mirroring the movements of the centred person. I thought this was a subtle but absolutely astonishing touch to the scenes; it provides the short with a personal grasp on viewers, ultimately compelling them to take a leap and learn more about the horrors of poaching after feeling deeply connected with the characters in this way.
Aiding the beauty of the camerawork and further cinematography, the colouring of this short film really stands out. The film is essentially split in two; some scenes take place within a normal reality and some take place within the mind of Baxu – her dreams, visions. In some films, a feature like this can easily become confusing if not introduced appropriately. But, thanks to the skill of colourists Willem Maritz and Kit Hoffmann, the differences between these two types of scenes can be easily spotted. The difference in colouring to specify what perspective the audience is watching from, adds even more to the personal atmosphere being acutely created throughout. Having the knowledge, as a viewer, that you are sitting within the mind of Baxu consumes you with the same emotions, abilities and responsibilities as the character.
“And sometimes it just takes one person to make a difference.”
Baxu and the Giants is simply magnificent. An incredibly impactful short film, spreading awareness on how wildlife crime corrupts our way of life and providing a source of motivation for more of the population to make a change for the better. No matter what age you are or what kind of life you currently live, you are able to make a difference in whatever you are passionate about. If you pour your heart into the cause and let your voice be known, you can make a change.
* Be the generation that ends rhino poaching: visit baxuandthegiants.com