Rhino poach­ing on the big screen

CityPress - - News - AVANTIKA SEETH avantika.seeth@city­press.co.za

Ac­claimed film maker Dar­rell Roodt and ac­tor Tariku Bo­gale have joined forces to cre­ate a fic­tional film based on real events – the poach­ing of rhi­nos and the sub­se­quent il­le­gal trade in their horns.

Blood­line: Now or Never is ex­pected to be one of South Africa’s best lo­cally pro­duced in­de­pen­dent thrillers.

On Fri­day, City Press was in­vited to the set near Diep­sloot in Jo­han­nes­burg as the team was wrap­ping up the pro­duc­tion process.

The film ex­plores the lives of four peo­ple who are af­fected in dif­fer­ent ways by the slaugh­ter of rhino in South Africa and the il­licit trade in rhino horn.

Gabriel (Bo­gale) and his wife, Lo­gan (Erin Ross), are a young cou­ple who have ded­i­cated their lives to con­serv­ing rhino. Af­ter Lo­gan is killed in the cross­fire dur­ing a fight with poach­ers, Gabriel is dis­traught and de­cides to avenge his wife and take on the poach­ers.

“There are three rhi­nos that are shot and killed every day in the coun­try, which means that the ex­tent of poach­ing that takes place is un­con­tain­able,” said Bo­gale (37), who also co-wrote and pro­duced the film.

“It’s im­por­tant to get the mes­sage across about rhino poach­ing be­cause it hap­pens on such a large scale. That is why I de­cided to in­volve my­self in a movie that would have a wide au­di­ence ap­peal,” Bo­gale said.

But who ex­actly is this charis­matic new face we are about to see on our big screens? Bo­gale told us that he grew up in Ethiopia with 13 sib­lings.

Ed­u­ca­tion was im­por­tant to him so, af­ter putting him­self through school, he fur­thered his stud­ies in South Africa and Switzer­land.

He is a busi­ness­man and has es­tab­lished com­pa­nies in Africa, Eu­rope and the US, across the travel and tourism, re­tail, prop­erty, fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy sec­tors.

Roodt, how­ever, is a sea­soned di­rec­tor and is best known for his film Sara­fina, which came out in 1992 and stars Whoopi Gold­berg and Leleti Khu­malo. He sees Bo­gale as a nat­u­ral ac­tor. “Tariku’s a won­der­ful man. For what­ever rea­son, he came our way and it’s been beau­ti­ful. He’s never done this be­fore, and it’s been a great chal­lenge shap­ing him in a way that’s truly fas­ci­nat­ing.

“I re­ally be­lieve that af­ter this film, peo­ple will say, ‘Wow! Who is that?’ about him. He’s a re­ally in­ter­est­ing guy and very dif­fer­ent,” Roodt said.

He said Bo­gale brought a unique screen pres­ence to the movie.

As a black African en­ter­ing the movie in­dus­try, Bo­gale val­ues the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing African her­itage. Los An­ge­les is where Bo­gale calls home for at least six months of the year, and he has been iden­ti­fied by movie in­dus­try folk as po­ten­tially the next James Bond.

“I’ve been in dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries and the act­ing part is some­thing I’ve never cov­ered. When I was in LA, peo­ple saw me as a black James Bond, and that is the di­rec­tion that I would like to head into,” he said.

“We are gun­ning for this film to be shown at the Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val and at Cannes. We feel it is big enough to do well at the Os­cars.”

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