SAVE THIS RHINO - Synopsis
Kevin Pietersen teams up with the outback wrangler Matt Wright, former cricketer Graeme Smith, and orphan rhino mum Petronel Nieuwoudt in SAVE THIS RHINO, airing in the lead up to the world cup of cricket.
Save This Rhino is no ordinary conservation documentary led by maverick AACTA winning filmmaker and producer Michael Lawrence (Bra Boys, Fighting Fear, Uncensored with Michael Ware, You and Me, Proximity) and directed by legendary award-winning filmmaker Taylor Steele.
Shot with the support of Cisco, Dimension Data and Land Rover South Africa, entirely on Canon equipment, Save This Rhino follows the desperate efforts in South Africa to save the critically endangered rhinoceros. 80% of the world’s rhinoceros, whose population is now hovering below 25,000 at the hands of poachers hunting for the highly sought-after rhino horn, live in and around South Africa.
Presently, three rhinos are killed every day and if this continues, the animal will be extinct by 2025. If the ban on illegal rhino horn trade is removed, it could be as rapid as a couple of years.
Save This Rhino is a thought-provoking and emotionally-charged documentary charting the struggles, obstacles, and wins of the courageous men and women who are determined to fight on the frontlines of this conservational war to prevent rhino extinction. Prepare to be inspired by their resilience, unwavering dedication, and bravery. An avid conservationist, Kevin Pietersen is deeply committed to saving the rhino and making a real difference in the lives of these majestic sensitive creatures, who until 100 years ago were roaming in their hundreds of thousands across the continent.
Kevin Pietersen is best known as a former English cricketer and captain of the English Cricket Team, but what he’s most passionate about is his family and wildlife conservation in South Africa.
Growing up with African wildlife, and having spent a lot of family vacations in Kruger National Park, it makes sense that he’s such a fierce advocate for wildlife conservation. While he participates in many conservation projects including his own organisation SORAI, he is eager to have as much of the world possible join him in the fight for rhinos, starting with fellow conservationist Matt Wright, the ‘Outback Wrangler’.
In Save This Rhino, Kevin Pietersen will guide Matt Wright through his homeland, introducing him and the audience to the many heroes who risk their lives to protect rhinos daily, and together they will search for solutions that can one day eliminate humans as a threat to rhinos for good.
Matt Wright is as ‘true blue’ an Aussie as you can get. He is willing to do whatever it takes to save an animal from being killed; any animal, anytime, anywhere, that’s his motto. Raised in the outback of South Australia, he grew up with all sorts of deadly animals at his doorstep. He is the ‘Outback Wrangler’.
Genuine compassion for wildlife and people is all that Matt’s about and it’s led him to Kevin Pietersen, Save This Rhino and the endangered rhinoceros in a fight alongside the heroes on the ground fighting to save them from extinction.
As a wildlife conservationist himself, among many other talents, he investigates the plight of the rhino and possible solutions for endangered wildlife in Kruger National Park in the hopes of one day stopping the illegal wildlife trade and saving the rhino species.
Graeme Smith is best known as a former cricketer (and captain at just 22 years old) for South Africa between 2003 and 2014. A major player in South African cricket, he was the youngest and longest-serving captain. He has been called “a mighty warrior, a leader of men and an exceptional part of our international cricket” by Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat, indicating that he is well loved on the field and amongst his colleagues, including Kevin Pietersen of the English team.
In Save This Rhino, Graeme joins Kevin and Matt to explore the plight of the rhino as his new off-field passion.
Petronel Nieuwoudt started her career in the Endangered Species Protection Unit (a specialised unit of the Police) where she held the rank of captain. In 1999 she left the police service and started The Game Capture School. With more than 20 years of experience in the care and conservation of wild animals, Petronel has now consolidated her efforts to develop a centre (Care for Wild - Rhino Sanctuary NPC) totally devoted to the care and rehabilitation of African wild animals –and is also only one of a few who are specialised in the hand rearing and care of orphaned and injured baby rhinos.
If ever there was to be a human face to Save This Rhino, Petronel is that face.
Arthur ‘The Brave’
The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child is one that we can relate to, except that in this case, the child is a rhino calf, orphaned by poaching.
Save This Rhino was written and produced with Arthur in mind. In the days since his rescue his blindfold has been removed and he has once again felt the warm African sunshine on his skin. He has been given the regal and brave name of Arthur, a name that suits his determination and spirit to survive. He still calls for his mother, it is a heart wrenching sound and one that he should never have to make. Her death will affect him emotionally long after his physical wounds have healed.
THIS. Film Studio
THIS. is a film & television production studio.
THIS. is passionate about the human spirit, real life stories (better than fiction) that leave behind a message. Ideas that create thought, start conversations and bring positive, lasting change. Being present now and enjoying a role in shaping the future.
Taylor Steele, Director
Taylor broke new ground at a young age with the release of the surf film Momentum. Over the next two decades he went on to direct and produce over forty best-selling films. Beyond traditional filmmaking, Taylor is currently diversifying his creative side by directing virtual reality films, augmented reality content, producing bands, directing art films for the Gagosian gallery / Biennale art festival, and shooting photography for Visionaire magazine. Taylor was named one of the top 100 creative people in 2014 Fast Company magazine.
Michael Lawrence, Creator, Lead Producer, Executive Producer, and Writer
Michael Lawrence had his first breakthrough role of executive producer/producer of Australia's most successful documentary film Bra Boys (2007) working with Russell Crowe. He followed with another character driven, multi AACTA award winning, feature documentary Fighting Fear (2011) collaborating with Joel Edgerton. A spin off TV series, The Crew (2013 - 2015) was commissioned by Fox Sports and The Nine Network and resulted in three (3) complete seasons with 36 episodes sold in over 35 countries. Lawrence has also created, executive produced & produced a number of story driven action sport documentaries including Missing (2013), You & Me (2016) and Proximity (2017).
In 2016 Lawrence collaborated with Peter Berg and his factual production company (Film 45), to EP the Factual TV series for National Geographic titled Uncensored with Michael Ware (2017), which aired in 170 countries in 30 languages. Lawrence is now a founder and part-owner of THIS. Film Studio working on Save This Rhino and a number of other factual film and TV properties.
Nicholas Cook, Producer and Executive Producer
As a graduate from the University of Technology with a degree in business, majoring in marketing and international marketing, Nicholas followed his passion for film and tv joining forces with Michael Lawrence (Lead Producer) over a decade ago. Working on countless projects together, his breakthrough role of executive producer/producer was via Australia's most successful documentary film Bra Boys (2007) narrated by Russell Crowe. He followed with another character driven, multi AACTA award winning feature documentary Fighting Fear (2011) collaborating with Joel Edgerton. A spin off TV series, The Crew (2013 - 2015) was commissioned by Fox Sports and The Nine Network and resulted in three (3) complete seasons of 36 episodes sold in over 35 countries.
Cook has also executive produced a number of story driven action sport documentaries including Missing (2013), You & Me (2016) and Proximity (2017). Cook is now a founder and part-owner of THIS. Film Studio working on Save This Rhino and a number of other factual film and TV properties.
Justine A. Rosenthal, Writer and Executive Producer
An expert in international affairs and terrorism, and the former head of Newsweek magazine’s global operations, Justine A. Rosenthal is now a multi-award-winning producer, writer, and showrunner. Her HBO documentary feature film, Only the Dead, was recently nominated for an Emmy in the Category of Outstanding Current Affairs Program. She went on to create and direct an eight-episode television series for National Geographic Channel chronicling the real-life experiences of embedded journalists. Working with such Hollywood visionaries as Peter Berg (Lone Survivor; Friday Night Lights) Rosenthal is currently in development on several scripted film and television projects for major international networks that stem directly from investigative journalism projects. Not only is Rosenthal a proven storyteller, she is also a highly-experienced media executive. She served as editorial director of the Newsweek/ Daily Beast Company and executive editor of the print magazine. Rosenthal was previously editor of the prestigious The National Interest foreign policy journal, has taught at Georgetown University, worked at the Brookings Institution as well as the Council on Foreign Relations, was special assistant to former–Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, and was the director of the Atlantic Monthly Foundation. A Luce Scholar and Lecturer, she spent considerable time in China teaching courses on international relations theory and post–Cold War security issues. Rosenthal received her B.A. from the University of Chicago and her PhD in Political Science from Columbia University, where she was awarded Einstein and Presidential Fellowships.
Anna Trichet-Laurier, Producer
Anna first started freelancing as a photographer and videographer in France. After studying “Cinema Aesthetic” in La Sorbonne, Paris, she moved down under where she quickly met Mick, Nick and Taylor at a short film festival. She developed her skills as a producer and editor on a number of sports and documentary projects with them, and she is now part of the THIS. Film Studio team.
Robin Matthews, Associate Producer and Location Producer
Robin first developed an interest in photography while on research expeditions to remote sub-Antarctic Islands in the 80’s. After completing a post graduate degree in Zoology he further developed his photographic interests as a game ranger and safari lodge manager in South Africa and Botswana in the 90’s. In 2000 he joined the film industry as a location scout on a part time basis while furthering his studies in a variety of other disciplines. Since then his expertise in the film business, specifically specialist productions and commercials, grew to include fixing, location management and unit management, primarily in the international production arena, specialising in wildlife and natural history work.
Jaimes Leggett, Executive Producer
A New Zealander, Jaimes was schooled in South Africa, and then lived in the UK for 11 years. His curious mind and creative background was lured to the M&C Saatchi Group. Here, he reconfigured the company to the confederation of ten businesses it is today. The gravitas of the M&C Saatchi Group can be credited to Jaimes’ commitment to growth and longevity. Each new business has allowed the Group to become a destination for clients and customers alike.
For Jaimes, it’s more than simply being the best. A believer in creativity and innovation having the power to change the world, Jaimes has a penchant for crafting big brand platforms and story-telling that impact culture. He was fundamental to the production of the highly acclaimed documentary The Endless Winter, as well as this two-part documentary series Save This Rhino.
Jaimes is passionate about industry change. He holds the position of Chairman for The Australian Communications Council, continuing the rejuvenation of their strategic plan.
Jeff Krug, Executive Producer Jeff joined M&C Saatchi in 2009. Jeff has a background in finance in both agency and corporate sectors, and extensive experience in Mergers and Acquisitions internationally. He spent over 2 decades in international roles with McCann Erickson where he rose to the position of Regional Chief Financial Officer of Asia Pacific and Vice Chairman of the South Pacific Region. In 2005 Jeff moved across to the corporate sector, joining ASX listed company Staging Connections Group Limited completing 18 acquisitions across 15 countries.
Jeff has shown tremendous support for Save This Rhino and the team at THIS. and has been fundamental to the show’s creation.
Justin Graham, Executive Producer Justin leads strategy across the M&C Saatchi Group. Since joining the agency he has been responsible for new business wins and has led major brand transformation projects for CommBank, Optus, Woolworths and Cricket Australia.
Prior to joining M&C Saatchi Justin was CSO at Droga5, and BBDO Global Planning Director in NY, where he led integrated strategy for Procter & Gamble and Diageo. Justin has previously worked on Fosters (VB and Crown) Google, HBO, Qantas and Johnnie Walker
Under Justin's leadership, M&C Saatchi Australia was named the Most Innovative Company in Australia & New Zealand in October 2017. The agency was also awarded Most Innovative Product for NRMA Fireblanket and Best Overall Innovation.
Thomaz Labanca, Director of Photography
Thomaz is an international cinematographer with a decade of experience in the film industry. Born in Brazil, he received his education at Sydney Film School, Australia, and has engaged in numerous productions as a cinematographer, camera operator and camera assistant. He has worked in every expression of film and moving image, including Fightworld (Netflix, 2018) and The Wolverine (Fox, 2013). His portfolio expands from a vast array of commercials to feature films. Currently, Thomaz is focusing in working and developing socially aware documentaries that aim to explore and understand the human perspective and what brings us together.
Tim Walsh, Lead Camera
Tim Walsh is an Australian based cinematographer/camera operator. He started his career as a camera assistant after graduating from Sydney Film School, working on commercials, TV series and films, most notably Mad Max and the Tasmanian mini series The Kettering Incident. Since becoming a camera operator his most recent works include the Mystery Road TV series, and the soon to be released films Top End Wedding and The True Story Of The Kelly Gang.
Sean Moloi, Sound Operator
Born in South Africa, Sean is a sound recordist and operator with many years experience across a wide range of film and TV projects, as well as advertising commercial projects. He has worked with the likes of BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and a various array of local and international production companies and crews.
Lucas Vasquez, Editor
Lucas has been editing TV commercials, short films, and longer-form feature documentaries and content for the past nine years and has worked closely with top production companies across Australia, New Zealand, America and Asia.r
Luke Howard, Composer Hailing from Melbourne, Luke Howard is an Australian Music Prize-nominated composer whose music has been described as “absolutely heavenly” (Mary Anne Hobbs, BBC Radio 6 Music) and “an ambient masterclass” (Musos’ Guide), but no words can fully capture the potency of his enthralling compositions. A pianist since childhood, Luke has scored films and performed with artists as diverse as Lior and Jeff Mills, capturing audiences with contemporary classical arrangements that curl and twist around the boundaries of different emotions.
Luke Howard is one of Australia’s foremost practitioners of contemporary classical music. Having already accomplished so much and with more on the horizon, he is set to captivate audiences worldwide with his latest music, ‘Open Heart Story’.
Sarah Hatzon, Lead Researcher and Production Co-ordinator
Sarah graduated from the University of Notre Dame, Sydney with a double degree in Film & Screen Production and Theatre Studies in 2016. Since then she has worked a number of different roles, grounding herself in the film industry as a documentary editor, but that has never stopped her from learning new skills. She continues to grow and thrive in any role thrown her way, building her experience even further as well as her relationships with other filmmakers and creatives alike. In 2018 she began working consistently in series development with production companies Spectrum Films, Paper Road and THIS. Film Studio, and leading into 2019 she maintains learning and working successfully in series development and post production out of THIS. Film Studio with award-winning producers Michael Lawrence, Nicholas Cook and Anna Trichet.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Filming any project takes a lot of planning, and sometimes those months of planning get thrown out the window by the first day on set. Save This Rhino was one of those projects where while some things went wrong (like losing your crew 3 days out!) others couldn’t have been more perfect.
While filming the documentary the crew was led by so many remarkable people with incredible stories. Between our talented crew, passionate hosts Kevin Pietersen and Matt Wright and the people fighting to save rhinos it’s hard not to be inspired to do more for the cause.
See cinematographers Tim Walsh and Thomaz Labanca chasing rhinos with massive camera kits and hanging out of trucks, watch former cricketer Graeme Smith’s reaction to being hunted by the K9 unit, hear the experience first hand from creator Michael Lawrence and director Taylor Steele.
Save This Rhino has been the most inspiring documentary for the cast and crew, and here you’ll see why.
DIRECTOR’S DIARIES WITH TAYLOR STEELE
Thanks to Canon Australia, the crew were able to capture the most beautiful imagery while filming in South Africa. Director Taylor Steele and cinematographers Tim Walsh and Thomaz Labanca took Canon equipment everywhere in the African bush, from hanging out of helicopters to crocodile infested rivers!
Take a look at the below Director’s Diaries with Taylor Steele to see how Save This Rhino’s stunning visuals came to be. Watch as he details the positives and challenges of filming safari with a massive lens, action shooting and filming at night.
DONATE TO THE CAUSE
With the worlds ever declining rhino population, the conservation of these amazing creatures has never been more important. That’s why the team behind Save This Rhino supports Care for Wild and their efforts to keep orphaned rhinos safe.
Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, the Nonprofit Rhino Rescue, Care, and Rehabilitation Centre work relentlessly to ensure these incredible animals remain on this earth for generations to come.
But they can’t do it without the support of people like you. To donate to this ever important cause, head over to the Care For Wild website via the link below to make your contribution.
About Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary
Located on a beautiful game reserve in the heartland of Mpumalanga, South Africa, where we’ve set up a treatment and care centre where we can tend to injured or orphaned animals until they are well enough to be rehabilitated into the wild.
Petronel Nieuwoudt, the founder of Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary NPC, is one of the few people worldwide who has specialised in the care of orphaned and injured rhinos, and her passion is truly inspiring.
Our mission is to save black and white rhinos from extinction. We are committed to rescue abandoned, injured, and orphaned rhinos and to rehabilitate them wherever possible. We enlist the help of veterinarians, nutritionists, ecologists, and other specialists, to ensure the successful rehabilitation and release of these animals.
SAVE THIS RHINO PREMIERE
April 9th 2019 | Photos from the red carpet at QT Hotel Sydney with Kevin Pietersen, Matt Wright, Graeme Smith and Petronel Nieuwoudt
Interviews from the red carpet at QT Hotel Sydney
April 11th 2019 | Photos from the Melbourne Premiere at QT Hotel Melbourne with Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Smith & Petronel Nieuwoudt
April 24th 2019 | Photos from the London Premiere at Ham Yard Hotel with Kevin Pietersen & Petronel Nieuwoudt
September 13th 2019 | Photos from the Los Angeles Premiere at The Paramount Theatre with Kevin Pietersen, Matt Wright & Petronel Nieuwoudt