‘The Green Oscars’ they call it. Which scares me a little bit. What should I wear to the awards ceremony in October? Suggestions by email please. And no, it won’t be anything with an open back. Maybe I’ll wear a rhino costume.
It’s been 4 months since I wrapped up and threw my short film ‘We Are Rhino’ into the viscous ether to be judged, snarled at and commented upon as though it were a slab of meat down the Asda fridge bits. Since then, apart from moving to Singapore to produce a very un-rhino-ey TV show (which I’ll finish up on soon and fly home from), I’ve entered the film into so many international film festivals and competitions that I suspect some of them weren’t even film competitions or festivals. I’m expecting emails telling me it’s the new Miss Burkina Faso or it’s won at Foxy Bingo or that it’s entitled to a free run of business cards from VistaPrint.
Such was my filmic sluttishness, that I have actually walked off wearing a load of laurels (which, I discovered, are just little awardy graphics, and not head-pieces that I actually get to wear – distraught). Here’s the boast-down:
- WINNER – ‘Short Documentary Award of Merit’ – Accolade Competition 2013.
- NOMINEE – UK Film Festival ‘Best Short Documentary’ 2013.
- Official Selection – Wild and Scenic Film Festival 2014
- Official Selection – Monarch Film Festival 2013
- Official Selection – Animal Film Festival 2014
AND there’s still around 20 festivals yet to be announced. If it wins nothing else, I’ll still be happy (although I will start bitterly adding up all the entrance fees, pulling a really grubby old face and muttering the word ‘cheat’ here and there…in fact, just watch an interview with David Moyes…that). Of course, I shall update with further glorious victories, probably using similar rhetoric to that pumped out of North Korea (although if I lose I will not – I repeat – I will not execute my uncle..I may twist his belly fats, but no execution here, no siree).
Meantime…by all means visit the film website www.wearerhinofilm.com for more info…or to even watch the thing into your eyeballs.
After months and months and months (plus months and some months) of editing, worrying, editing and shouting at myself, I have finished my short film, ‘We Are Rhino’. It’s a not-for-profit effort, and I really want people to know what’s going on in Southern Africa. Rhinos are getting slaughtered at a ludicrous, unsustainable rate…simple to satisfy a puzzlingly growing demand for Asian traditional medicines. Please do click the link and share it. You can also visit the film’s website www.wearerhinofilm.com for more info…share that too, why not?
I’m going in, chaps. Yup, in just two days I will again be in that Africa…this time with a different mission. My new film is called ‘We Are Rhino‘ (working title – someone else has suggested ‘Horn Free’, but I think that might just appear to make light of a really properly grim subject, what do you think?).
It’s all about rhino poaching in South Africa. Except this isn’t just another journey into the bush finding carcasses and going on scary night patrols with poaching guards that you can put exciting and/or oppressive music under; this film is all about three very different people, each of whom have very different ideas as to how to stop the poaching. I think it’s high time people understood what’s really going on, because it’s not just all about poor and desperate men stalking through the night with rifles and axes. It’s a whole lot more complicated than that – from Vietnam to Africa, from politics to criminal syndicates (the last two might actually be the same thing).
I am armed with a Panasonic AF101, many lenses, an ‘Interrotron‘, various GoPros, a pen knife (so back off, my friend), Marmite, some portable urinals (true) and a trusty hired Kia Piccanto – into which two of us will wedge and sweat in for a month. I plan to wash only once. I will eat mainly rusks.
Kruger, Waterberg, Pilansberg, Hoedspruit, malaria, here we come. We are Rhino.
Yebo! It may be a year and a half since I drenched my translucent British frame in macho khaki and began speaking with twangs of hyena. But only recently did the series of Bushwise Diaries become complete….due largely to a hard drive apocalypse, some sort of nuclear power surge in Toronto that made an obliterated binary nonsense my Western Digital drive, and stabbed me in the wallet with £700 worth of wealth raping data retrieval fees. I feel like I’ve been burgled in code, ransacked in HTML, slapped right in the Quicktime.
But let’s not be bitter. Here it is…this link takes you to the whole damned series, 1 through 7, from lions to tortoises to elephants to fork tailed drongos…
…and with every birth, there must be a death. In this case, a rotten stinking death with hooves, horns and the half-chewed facial expression of a celebrity being papped with a prostitute. Really, those lions and hyenas must be more hungry than I’ve ever been – even on a rancid cider hangover that demands carbohydrates on a global scale – to be able to swallow down the miserable rankness of a corpse that’s been sitting in the sun for a few days. But then, I guess it’s a bit more honest than the fast food chains who roll it up in a patty and put it in a bun. So, !WARNING!, if you enjoy the lips and a*seholes that constitute a Big M*c, then you’ll enjoy this, because it has similar fare. You may even salivate onto your nice new frock. Me? It proper puts me off my beetroot. Ladythings and gentlemonks, I welcome you to Episode 4…
As London spews rain like a thug on Stella, things in the bush begin to heat up. It was hard work out there, you know. IT WAS! Don’t you dare roll your eyes like that. Did you have to wash up for 16 people? Did you have to get up at 4am to check the oil? Were you trapped in a big forest with a ridiculous man? (inside joke). Did you have to drive around looking at lions and hyenas and impala and bushbuck and steenbok and…oh…yeah…I see your point. Sorry. Anyway, watch the video and we’ll have this argument at a later date. By the way…you’re welcome. Jeesh, we’re not getting along, are we. (Have I just had an argument with you or myself?)
Lions and lions and lions, honestly, I’m not
lion (lying). The South African winter continues to make me wear a beany hat that makes me look like I work on the bins rather than staring professionally at warthogs. So, episode 2 is here, and as I sit here in the living room with the cat peering over at me in a manner I had previously perceived as being loving devotion (but now realise it’s him sizing me up for a particularly gruesome kill), London starts seeming a million miles away from adventures in the bush. Pull up a chair, or a beanbag, or – stop being pedantic – anything you can flipping sit on (jeeesh), and enjoy my bush. (childish guffaw).
Ladies and gentlecats, I bring you, Bushwise Diaries – episode 2…
So that’s another adventure completed. Sob, kersnuffle, sob. Getting used to being in London after living in the middle of the South African bush for 6 months is a little bit like learning to love beetroot all over again…a long and arduous path, and a little bit vinegary. But while I toil over not having rotten old hyenas in my life any more, and missing the musky honk of a warthog, and sitting indoors just hoping that a spider the size of my head with nuclear venom will scuttle from under the cat…please do enjoy the first episode of my new web-series…’Bushwise Diaries‘ (10 x 5 mins for GVI/Bushwise).
I’ve been living in the South African Lowveld bush savannah whatever-you-call-it for over two months now, and I invite you, suckers and muckers, to please just give me a call should you find yourself requiring clarification on the differences between lion and hyena poo. I’m your man. I’m your go-to scatman.
Have I adapted to life in the middle of nowhere? Yeahbo. Now, I properly fancy myself as a Lidl Steve Irwin. A Bear Grylls for the foppishly inclined. A Chris Packham with R’s. I am to wildlife what Kim Wilde was to the kids of America. I am to nature what Terry Christian was to 1990s pop culture. (The Terry Christian thing doesn’t quite work, does it.)
My previous scrapes with nature went barely further than the incident featuring me being chased by the orangutan in Sumatra (see earlier: https://www.spenceraustin.com/?p=122#content). But now I know where a pangolin has been walking, how dwarf mongooseseses anally drag on each other and I could wax lyrical about how many stomachs a great big stinking wildebeest has. I can refer to a rhino in that silly Latin language what they use for the animals. These are things I didn’t expect to know. I also didn’t expect to be able to drive a great big 10-seater Land Rover over the most unfeasible of pathways with almost the aplomb of a George Michael ride home. I didn’t expect I’d be able to tell the difference between over 40 different birds just from their calls. Tweet as a nut. I’ve had impala poo in my mouth. IN MY MOUTH. I’ve been woken up almost every night by lions roaring (and by an American with the snoring capacity of an aardvark with a tricky sinus complication). Talking of elephants, they visit the farmhouse I live in quite regularly – specifically to break things. Frogs live with us. Warthogs stare at me. And I stare at them back.
Having exchanged the city for the African wilderness; Starbucks for bushbucks, I have further awakened my capacity to genuinely regard animals as humans with cute tendencies. I have also become more scared of elephants than I thought was possible. They are mental, big, and much cleverer than me. I am utterly outclassed by them. I feel humiliated just being near one.
I have developed a particular fondness for the fork-tailed drongo…a bird with a chip Microsoft would be proud of. This thing will take on anything at any point. It is one feisty MF. Bring it on. I have thus decided that when I finally embark upon my much-anticipated hip-hop career, my street moniker will be Fork Tailed Drongo. Or FTD. Big up.
I have seen lions eating wildebeest, hyenas eating wildebeest bones (therewith a clue on the poo question) and then vultures clearing up the rest. I have seen things on an ordinary day at the office that no office in the world can offer. Right now, sitting in my bedroom, I can see a giraffe. That isn’t a lie.
My web-series about this Really Wild Show-inspired nonsense will be hitting the interweb at some point. I will re-post. At some point. But for now, this is the FTD signing off. Waddup.