The social impact documentary film ‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ [Video] starts principal photography this May in the iMfolozi wilderness, in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s oldest game reserve. It tells the story of five young underprivileged women on a life-changing wilderness journey.
‘Sisters of the Wilderness’, which started shooting in 2016 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, takes a fresh and unusual look at human and Nature interconnectedness and the power of wilderness to empower young people and develop a new type of leadership based on compassion and respect.
The passion project of London based, Ronit Shapiro, Founder of One Nature Films, will tell the story of a group of young women from disadvantaged background who aspire to elevate themselves beyond challenging life conditions and become a force for good in their communities. They embark on a life-changing journey, within and without, into the wilderness of Zululand where they experience true wild Nature for the first time.
“A journey into wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation. It can enhance personal growth and leadership development; and it is also a soulful experience that has the capacity to heal…” says project’s creator and producer Ronit Shapiro who experienced it herself on a wilderness trail few years ago.
The women will walk and sleep in big game country, totally surrounded by free roaming wild animals such as elephants, rhinos and lions. Exposed to the elements, and carrying on their back all they need for the journey, they will have to cope with emotional and physical challenges, and learn the practical skills of survival in the wilderness.
Women’s empowerment and leadership development; and the value of wilderness to our wellbeing are observed through the individual and collective stories of the women and their guides.
The film’s location, the iMfolozi Wilderness in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is home to one of the biggest rhino population in Africa. “I chose this location to highlight the plight of the rhino whose numbers keep plummeting due to the illegal hunting for its highly-value horn; and the threat to this unique wilderness area and the surrounding rural communities from intensive mining.
This is a place which has so much potential to enrich us but at the same time it is greatly vulnerable and threatened by man’s greed and his forces of destruction.”
The project which has a long term social impact vision aims to re-connect audiences with Nature in the light of the growing disconnection between man and Nature; and the deteriorating state of the planet. The global impact plan includes the development of a multi-platform immersive audience engagement experience which will combine an interactive website, app, virtual reality and a multi-media art installation.
Whilst locally in South Africa, Ronit is working closely with schools and organisations that work in areas related to the wellness of people and the environment to develop interactive community engagements and screenings. In addition, each one of the young women will have a twelve months mentorship and leadership development program beyond the film with the goal of creating a positive ripple effect which will benefit their families and communities. This is Mrs Shapiro’s debut documentary after a career change she embarked on few years ago. “I bring to the project many years of marketing and project management experience; and my deep passion for the wellness of people and the environment. There is a wonderful committed team working with me on the project and we all have faith in this timely and important story.”
Ronit has recently launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise money to cover the costs of the social impact elements of the project and to build relationships with potential audiences. “We are delighted to collaborate in this campaign with many like-minded organisations and businesses who work across a wide range of environmental, community upliftment and women empowerment projects. We are honoured to have amongst our collaborators: The Bateleurs, The Mantis Collection, Thula Thula Game Reserve, The Wilderness Leadership School, Zuza Trading, Africa Ignite, In the Company of Horses, Royal Gypsy, Fezufunda and Planet Afryca .” “By supporting our Indiegogo campaign one can make a real difference to young women’s lives and help us revive Nature in people’s imagination.”
For additional information about ‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ please follow this link: INDIGOGO
Contact: Ronit Shapiro, Producer – ‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ / Founder – One Nature Films on tel: +44 (0)7971 196446
About One Nature Films:
One Nature Films is a social impact film production company based in London, UK, founded by Ronit Shapiro in 2011. Our vision is to create engaging high quality films that inspire, connect and make a difference. We believe in the power of film to make social and environmental impact. One Nature Films has a deep-rooted passion for the environment, the natural world and human society. Our name ‘One Nature’ reflects our belief in the oneness of humanity and the interconnectedness of all things. We strive to be ethical and socially responsible. One Nature, beyond film-making, is a social enterprise focused on the wellness or people and the environment. Our aim is to bring about social impact in any project we develop.
About Ronit Shapiro:
Ronit’s career spans more than twenty years in marketing, communications, event production and project management. Ronit headed global marketing and branding projects in both public and private organisations and had her own event and marketing consultancy which focused on initiatives relating to the wellbeing of people and the environment. In 2011 Ronit founded One Nature Films with a vision to create high quality social impact films. She is a self-taught filmmaker and gained experience as an independent producer, executive producer, researcher, screenwriter and director whilst working on the adaption of the book ‘Zulu Wilderness: Shadow and Soul’ by Dr. Ian Player into a narrative feature film. The ‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ documentary and social impact project is a natural progression from ‘Zulu Wilderness’ and carries similar themes and messages. It is also set in the same location. Ronit conceived the project and drives it forward.
Wilderness Leadership School
The Wilderness Leadership School was the first non profit organisation in Africa dedicated to providing a pure wilderness experience for people of all backgrounds, races and nationalities. Steeped in a rich environmental history, The Wilderness Leadership School was founded in 1957 by the legendary Dr Ian Player who, together with his friend and mentor Maqgubu Ntombela, recognised the necessity for people to connect with the environment. Today The Wilderness Leadership School continues to provide an educational experience to thousands of South African youth and overseas visitors.