A virtual reality documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow will debut at next year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Protectors: Walk In The Ranger’s Shoes was co-directed by VR creator Imraan Ismail and is backed by National Geographic Channel, which announced the project this past summer.
The eight-minute short chronicles a day in the life of a ranger in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is managed by African Parks and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its rangers are increasingly forced to contend with aggressive poachers intent on slaughtering the park’s large population of elephants to harvest their ivory tusks.
Following its premiere in Tribeca’s VR program, the doc will be released in 2017 by National Geographic Channel. Patrick Milling-Smith and Chris Milk’s VR shop Here Be Dragons and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures are also on board.
“We must stop the senseless slaughter of these magnificent and sentient creatures, if not us then who?” Bigelow said in a statement. “Eliminating the market side of the ivory trade may take generations to be fully effective and extinction will not wait. This film shows the park rangers of Garamba National Park, in the DRC, they are the last line of defense in a desperate war with poachers to stop the ivory trade at its source.”
Bigelow became the first woman to win a directing Oscar for her 2009 Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker. She has since helmed the narrative drama Zero Dark Thirty and Last Days, a 2014 short film about the illegal ivory trade.
Organizers of the 16th annual festival have also announced that singer/actor/filmmaker Barbra Streisand and director Alejandro González Iñárritu will participate in on-stage conversations as part of the Tribeca Talks program.
Additional programming will be announced in 2017.
Deadlines to submit work are coming up this month and next. Filmmakers have until Nov. 23 to submit feature films, TV/episodic work and new online work, while Dec. 14 is the late deadline for world premiere feature films and TV/episodic work.
The deadline to submit short films and VR/experiential projects is Dec. 2. Submissions for Tribeca X entries for branded storytelling are open through Jan. 13, with a late deadline of Feb. 15.
The Tribeca Film Festival takes place from April 19 to 30 in New York City.