Southern Arts Federation's Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers
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Comment >>Interview with the Associate Producer10/27/09
Sunday, Nov 8, 2009 3:00 PM
“Milking the Rhino” tells a nuanced tale of human-wildlife coexistence in post-colonial Africa. The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Namibia's Himba—two of Earth's oldest cattle cultures—are in the midst of upheaval. Emerging from a century of "white man conservation," which turned their lands into game reserves and fueled resentment towards wildlife, Himba and Maasai communities are now vying for a piece of the wildlife-tourism pie. Community-based conservation, which tries to balance the needs of wildlife and people, has been touted by environmentalists as "win-win." The reality, however, is more complex. "We never used to benefit from these animals," a Maasai host of a community eco-lodge explains. "Now we milk them like cattle!" His neighbor disagrees: "A rhino means nothing to me! I can't kill it for meat like a cow." And when drought decimates the grass shared by livestock and wildlife, the community's commitment to conservation is sorely tested.
David E. Simpson has crafted award-winning films for 25 years. As a producer, director and editor he plies his trade in the belief that a well-told story can move viewers’ hearts and minds regarding crucial, human issues. David co-produced and directed “When Billy Broke His Head,” a documentary about disability culture that won the Sundance Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award, along with major prizes at dozens of other festivals. He recently co-produced and edited “Forgiving Dr. Mengele,” about an Auschwitz survivor’s controversial campaign of forgiveness, which won the 2006 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for documentaries. David directed “Refrigerator Mothers,” about a generation of mothers who raised autistic children under the shadow of professionally-promoted mother-blame. The film won top honors at the Florida, Indiana, and Sedona film festivals and aired on the PBS series P.O.V. David also produced and directed “Halsted Street, USA,” a multi-award-winning snapshot of America through the prism of one multicultural street. His experimental narrative, “Dante's Dream,” a re-working of Dante’s cosmology, earned five 1st place festival awards.
The award-winning “Milking the Rhino” has been featured in numerous festivals, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Globians Doc Fest Berlin, Boston International Film Festival, among many others. “Milking the Rhino” was honored with awards for Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival and San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, as well as the Silver Lei at Honolulu International Film Festival.
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of the Southern Arts Federation, a not-for-profit regional arts organization making a positive difference in the arts throughout the South since 1975. Southern Arts Federation is supported by funding and programming partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts and the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Special support for Southern Circuit is provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For more information on the Southern Arts Federation and its programs visit www.southarts.org.