Northern white rhino film ‘Kifaru’ creating a buzz beyond filmmaker’s “wildest dreams”

Already winner of 14 awards at ten film festivals, the feature-length documentary about two rhino caregivers at Ol Pejeta has gained more traction that even its creators imagined it would.

KIFARU follows the lives of Joseph Thuita (Jojo) and James Mwenda; two members of Ol Pejeta’s rhino caretaker unit — a small group of rangers that protect and care for Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in the world. Spanning over the course of Jojo and James’ first four years on the job, KIFARU allows viewers to intimately experience the joys and pitfalls of wildlife conservation firsthand through the eyes of these Kenyan rhino caretakers who witness extinction happening in real-time.

Film creators Andrew Brown and David Hambridge have been touring the feature-length film, and invited James and JoJo along for the ride during April and May. While in San Diego, the caregivers were able to visit the female southern white rhino at San Diego Zoo who is currently carrying the IVF embryos of northern white progeny.

A recent e-mail to Ol Pejeta’s Managing Director, Richard Vigne, sums up the recent film tour story:

“I must say, even in my biggest dreams, I couldn't imagine how powerful our film is when audiences see it. The response has been remarkable and James and JoJo have become quite the ambassadors for Ol Pejeta, the northern whites and conservation as a whole,” says Andrew.

“We've currently shown the film to over 6,800 viewers, have won nine awards at Academy Qualifying festivals and are beginning to get the attention of the biggest distributors. Every festival we have gone to, we're up against a lineup of Netflix, HBO, Nat Geo, Disney & Amazon documentaries and we are winning much more often than not. I've been told by five separate individuals/families that they've booked airline flights to Kenya since they saw the film. Beyond that, I can't tell you how many times people have told us that visiting Ol Pejeta is now on their bucket list.”