The biennial Wildscreen Festival is set to open in Bristol, UK, on Sunday, Oct. 9 with the European premiere of The Ivory Game, Netflix’s latest original documentary thriller.
Executive produced by actor, producer and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, the film, which investigates the murderous ivory trade, will screen before an invited audience filled with the world’s most renowned wildlife filmmakers, onscreen talent and industry press. The screening will also feature a Q&A led by Netflix’s director of original documentary programming Adam Del Deo and Walter Koehler, CEO of Terra Mater Film Studios and producer.
The Ivory Game goes undercover into the dark and sinister underbelly of ivory tracking. The filmmakers, award-winning director Richard Kadkani and Academy Award-nominated director Kief Davidson filmed undercover for 16 months with a team of intelligence operatives, undercover activists, frontline rangers and conservationists. Terra Mater Film Studios (Red Bull’s cinema brand) produced the film alongside Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions. The film had its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sep. 10.
The Ivory Game is another in a recent slate of original unscripted-factual content from Netflix, which, most recently, has included Making a Murderer and Werner Herzog’s documentary Into the Inferno. The SVOD service is also working with documentarian Errol Morris on an original six-part docu-series, which will reportedly have an element of true crime.
During a Q&A sessions at the recent annual Royal Television Society Conference in London (Sept. 27), as originally reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that unscripted, factual content was a priority for Netflix moving forward.
“We are embarking on a lot of unscripted programming,” Sarandos told the conference crowd, adding that the streaming service has 20 original projects in various stages of production or pre-production.
Competition shows are a focus, he said, using Ultimate Beastmaster, executive produced by Sylvester Stallone, as an example. The first season of the series will include competitors from six countries on an obstacle course, with a version of the show for each country that will hone in on that country’s competitors.