Directed by: Toby Wosskow
Written by: #TobyWosskow
Capturing both the intimate struggles of South African families and the devastating global consequences of illegal Rhino hunting, short film Sides of a Horn from #filmmaker Toby Wosskow is an ambitious and startling feat. Executive produced by none other than Sir Richard Branson, this is pioneering short filmmaking.
Welile Nzuza and Sherldon Marema play two brothers at the forefront of the rhinoceros trouble. Respectively, one is a ranger trying to make ends meet by protecting the rhinos from the local poachers, the other is on the cusp of becoming a poacher in order to get the financial support he needs to support his family (his brother included). What transpires is an emotionally evoking story that does justice to the complexities of the dilemmas facing communities where both poverty and animal extinction are rife.
Had Sides of a Horn been a documentary film, the potency of the message could have been lost amongst the fist-shaking and the foot-stomping. By wrapping the political edge in a compelling narrative, the short film format amplifies the larger social themes and issues without feeling overtly preachy. We get drawn into this family's woes and attach ourselves to the heroics of the ranger Sumi whilst fearful of which ahem...side of the horn...his brother Sello will fall. And that's not to say the filmmaker tacked on a plot for the sake of calling the piece a drama.
The level of filmmaking here is phenomenal regardless of the weighty preservation topic.
Scenes are full of intrigue, such as a sequence of Sello walking through the night to the lair of the poachers. The sound of his feet crunching on the ground was almost terrifying. The passionate speech from Dumi's wife about wanting to teach her children about their dad who fought for what is right was also a fantastic sequence. The chemistry between Sherldon Marema and Welile Nzuza was excellent and allowed the short movie to make its point even clearer: there are two sides to illegal Rhino hunting and unless we address both the struggle will carry on.
There has been a spate of incredible filmmakers taking up the fight to tell the stories needed to be told in order to shine a light on the global issues surrounding the animals on our planet. Toby Wosskow marks himself as one of the best around with Sides of a Horn, a fully captivating and heartbreaking film that transcends the usual hot air of political point scoring and delves deeper into the human conflict going on.
Watch the official movie trailer below.