Kathryn Bigelow’s VR
Documentary Short On Ivory
Poaching Set At Nat Geo Channel

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By Denise Petski

National Geographic Channel announced production of its first virtual reality documentary short film, The Protectors, co-created by Oscar-winning director Kathyrn Bigelow (Last Days, The Hurt Locker) and VR creator Imraan Ismail (The Displaced, Valen’s Reef). The project, according to Nat Geo, will expose the dangerous and grueling reality faced by rangers protecting African elephants from ivory poachers. The 12-minute VR film will be made in partnership with Here Be Dragons (formerly Vrse.works), and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.

Over 30,000 African elephants die each year at the hands of poachers, and despite the global outcry over the killings trafficking continues, says Nat Geo. The biggest key to saving these elephants from extinction are the rangers working on the ground within Africa’s national parks. “The virtual reality film will showcase a day in these rangers’ lives, giving users the chance to experience the dangers that confront them on a daily basis and to be in the presence of the majestic elephants they protect.”

“We want to bring exceptional content that is emblematic of National Geographic to viewers everywhere and are proud to collaborate with the talented Kathryn Bigelow and Imraan Ismail along with Here Be Dragons and Annapurna Pictures on our first foray into the doc short form space using VR technology. This film will take viewers to the front lines alongside Nat Geo storytellers in the hopes that we can change their perception on ivory through this powerful virtual experience,” said Tim Pastore, President of Original Programming and Production, National Geographic Channel.

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