‘The Ivory Game’ wins Beijing International Film Festival
‘The Ivory Game’, an outstanding feature documentary about the illegal ivory trade, was just honoured as ‘Best International Feature Documentary’ by China’s Beijing International Film Festival. The film was produced by Viennese production company Terra Mater Factual Studios.
Beijing/Vienna. The world’s primary player in the global illegal ivory trade, China, has made a profound decision: to honour ‘The Ivory Game’ with the prize for ‘Best International Feature Documentary’ at the 2017 Beijing International Film Festival. ‘The Ivory Game’ traces the brutal machinations behind the multi-million dollar illegal trade in ivory, going undercover to expose the web of criminals from poachers to businessmen involved in the slaughter, export and processing of the tusks of the endangered African elephant.
It is an impressive success for the whole production team of Viennese company Terra Mater Factual Studios both from a filmmaking and a political perspective. Already, shortly after the film’s global release, China announced the official ban of ivory trade by the end of 2017.
The Chinese jury members were unanimous in their decision to honour ‘The Ivory Game’ with the ‘Best International Feature Documentary’ award; citing the production’s “dramatic composition, editing, camera and the positive impact which the film is bound to have on its viewers”, as strong foundations for their choice. And the competition was strong. The film was up against some of the most outstanding documentaries from 2016 including Life Animated, Gleeson and Fire At Sea.
In the festival’s advance, a very successful screening at Beijing’s National Library took place; followed by multiple well-attended screenings in the city’s cinemas as well as a special screening at the American Embassy.
‘The Ivory Game’’s directors, Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson, were in Beijing to accept the award and to comment on its significance. “‘The Ivory Game’ taking top prize is a huge statement by the Chinese government, which is now aggressively moving forward to implement the ban of the ivory trade across the country” – “We couldn’t be prouder as China now has really shown they want to be part of the solution.”
In Vienna, Walter Köhler, CEO of Terra Mater Factual Studios and producer of the film expressed his deep appreciation. “Not only has China embraced our film and has made it available in its cinemas, it has even gone one step further and honoured it with the award for ‘Best International Feature Documentary’”. He went on to say that “this is a message to the world that films like ‘The Ivory Game’ can have their reach and impact and that important causes like saving a species are really worth fighting for.”
Since its double premiere at the 2016 Telluride Film Festival and 2016 Toronto Film Festival, ‘The Ivory Game’ has already garnered a series of accolades and awards:
- it was shortlisted for the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ category at the 2017 Academy Awards
- winner of the Golden Panda Award (“Best of Festival”) and Theatrical Award at Bristol’s Wildscreen Festival 2016, the biggest nature film festival taking place every two years in the UK (Bristol, UK)
- Cinema for Peace International Green Award 2017, handed out by the Cinema for Peace Foundation honouring films and documentaries which cast an eye on injustices and social issues in society, politics or environment (Berlin, Germany)
- Game-Changer Award 2017, handed out by the American wildlife conservation organisation Tusk USA (New York, USA)
- Genesis Award 2017 for ‘Best Outstanding Documentary Film’, handed out by The Humane Society of the United States, recognising excellent works in TV, print, film and other special categories for raising awareness of animal protection issues
‘The Ivory Game’ was shot in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam. It is a production of Terra Mater Film Studios with Vulcan Productions, a company of Microsoft-Co-Founder Paul Allen, and in association with Malaika Pictures and Appian Way, the production company of Leonardo DiCaprio. Allen and DiCaprio act as Executive Producers for ‘The Ivory Game’.
Award-winning director Richard Ladkani and Academy Award–nominated director Kief Davidson filmed undercover for 16 months. With a crack team of intelligence operatives, undercover activists, passionate frontline rangers and tough-as-nails conservationists, they infiltrated the corrupt global network of ivory trafficking.
Global distribution rights have been exclusively obtained by Netflix. ‘The Ivory Game’ is available in 190 countries in 19 languages.