M&C Saatchi Group’s film and television production studio THIS. has unveiled its first major project, a two-part documentary series in partnership with National Geographic, Cisco Systems, Dimension Data, Canon Australia and Land Rover South Africa.
Hosted by cricket legend Kevin Pietersen and outback wrangler Matt Wright with conservationist and Canon Australia photographer Julia Wheeler, the documentary series will follow efforts to save the critically endangered rhinoceros, whose population is now hovering below 25,000 at the hands of poachers hunting for the highly sought-after rhino horn. Presently, three rhinos are killed every day and if this continues, the animal will be extinct by 2025.
An avid conservationist, Pietersen is eager to share this story with the world. “I’m deeply committed to saving the rhino and by highlighting its plight and the work being done to stop poachers, we can make a real difference in the lives of these majestic creatures,” said Pietersen.
The real stars of the documentary are two orphaned rhinos, Summer and Arthur. Orphaned after losing their mother to poachers earlier this year, these two calves represent the dire circumstances affecting their species.
Former South African cricket captain and fellow rhino conservationist Graeme Smith will join the team on the ground. Shot entirely on Canon equipment in South Africa, the documentary will showcase efforts being taken to save the rhinos, including those using innovative, world-class technology. Cisco Systems, Inc. and their partner companies, including Dimension Data, are driving these efforts.
Ruba Borno, chief of staff to the CEO at Cisco, stated, “At Cisco, we believe technology is key to solving some of the world’s greatest problems; our vision is to eradicate poaching through continued innovation in technology to conserve endangered species. We are excited to be a part of this documentary to share how Cisco is working with conservation and technology partners, like Dimension Data, to save rhinos from extinction. We hope this documentary will give people hope and inspire them to participate in these critical efforts for our planet.”
The goal of these groundbreaking solutions is to pave the way for a brighter future. Doc Watson, group executive, Cisco Alliance: Dimension Data, said, “Connected Conservation is a proactive solution that tracks the movement of people and leaves the animals unharmed. We have created a safe haven for rhinos to roam freely, without human interference. In our first year of operation, the solution reduced poaching by 96% in the pilot reserve.”
The two-part series will air in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and South Africa in the lead-up to the World Cup of Cricket in 2019.
THIS. Film Studio’s Taylor Steele, who will be directing the documentary, said: “We can’t wait to get back to Kruger National Park and start shooting this important documentary which has only been made possible with the support of our partners.”
Michael Lawrence, THIS. Film Studio’s co-founder, said, “While this project has an incredibly important goal--to help save the rhino--from a creative perspective, it demonstrates the changing intersection of brands, storytelling and distribution highlighting how brands can align with causes in a genuine way.”
Filming will commence in October 2018 in South Africa.