Producers Aurelie Stratton and Emmanuel Castis scout for a location for the movie Sides Of A Horn.
DURBAN - Producers of a short film based on true events about rhino poaching starring a Pietermaritzburg actor have hopes of it being made into a feature film.

Shooting for Sides Of A Horn began this week in Pilanesberg, outside Sun City, and is expected to be completed towards the end of the year.

The 15-18-minute long will be entered into the Sundance Film Festival next year.

One of the producers, Aurelie Stratton, described researching for the film as mind-blowing, adding that interviews with some of the rangers who were passionate about wildlife often turned emotional.

“These guys are so passionate about this. I mean some of the guys are big physically but when we were talking to them about this issue some of them would cry,” she said.

She says the fight against rhino poaching is not about the person who pulls the trigger, but more about the funders.

“We tell a story of an industry more lucrative than cocaine, we tell the story because we need to preserve our wildlife”.

She said the film presented both sides of the issue and is about two brothers-in-law, one a ranger and one a poacher.

“People get upset with poachers but on the flip side, they are desperate people who need money.”.

In the film, one brother finds himself in a difficult position where his wife falls gravely ill and needs medication that is expensive. Out of desperation they resort to rhino poaching.

“The film will be in IsiZulu with subtitles to be entered into the film festival.

“We also hope to do a screening in the village where it was shot because it features a lot of the residents.”

She said the film is the brainchild of American director/writer Toby Wosskow who, while visiting South Africa on holiday, learnt how big a problem rhino poaching was.

Actress Ayanda Seoka says it is important to be as diverse an actor as possible.
Actress Ayanda Seoka says it is important to be as diverse an actor as possible.

The Independent On Saturday caught up with actor Ayanda Seoka who plays Thandi, wife of ranger Tumi.

“I’m getting older now and I’d like to take on roles and work that will uplift and teach people,” said Seoka who has worked on SABC 3’s soapie Isidingo.

She says she is very excited to be part of Sides Of A Horn because she has always been environmentally aware.

“When the last male northern white rhino died it really hit home, the fact that there won’t be any more.

“I’ve been doing research into rhino poaching and it’s a tricky situation for desperate people who are offered money to do it”.

Seoka, who recently finished shooting a Danish television series, Liberty, where she plays a prostitute, says this role is another that uplifts and teaches.

“It was my most difficult role as it involved nudity and sex, and it was also my most memorable one.

“Over time, you discover that a lot of the characters you get given to play are already inside you. I found this on set with my prostitute walk - I didn’t know I had that in me,” she said, laughing.

The series in February was featured at the Berlinale International Film Festival.

As a child, Seoka wanted to be an actor, and her uncle, retired Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka affectionately calling her his “TV baby”.

“I was always glued to the TV, watching SABC 1 YOTV presenters doing their thing with the biggest envy.”

While she studied drama at Carter High School, she went on to pursue her studies in accounting after matriculating.

“I wanted to be rich. I studied for two years, took a gap year and went back for one year again before dropping out. I wasn’t passionate about it.

“I could see myself in the flashy car but just didn’t see myself doing the actual accounting work.”

Seoka, who holds an honours degree in performance, screenwriting and television production from Wits University, encourages those wanting to make it in the industry to study.