THE BACKSTORY

With over 1,200 rhinos killed in a year, 2014 became the height of the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. It was also the year the legendary ranger trainer, Martin Mthembu, was lost in a tragic accident. Martin trained over 15,000 rangers during his life, and he was a mentor to many, including conservationist and filmmaker, Matt Lindenberg.

Matt studied at the Southern African Wildlife College and trained rangers with Martin for 6 years. When Martin passed, Matt wanted to do something to honor his legacy. He wanted to tell the story of his friends, the rangers, the unsung heroes of conservation.

Matt founded the Global Conservation Corps in 2015 and promptly made a promise to tell the rangers stories. Little did he know these stories would attract a small team of passionate filmmakers, and eight years later, grow into what is now the feature-length documentary, RHINO MAN.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Anton Mzimba

Anton Mzimba

He was the Head of Ranger Services at Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. He dedicated his life to the protection and conservation of South African wildlife. Anton is the main protagonist of the film, and he makes great sacrifices to himself and his family for the future of conservation.

Ruben de Kock

Ruben de Kock

He was the Divisional Operations Manager at the Southern African Wildlife College. Ruben, with his late business partner, Martin Mthembu, has trained thousands of rangers in his career. He has an undying passion for protecting wildlife. In the film he guides 41 candidates through a ranger selection.

Martin Mthembu

Martin Mthembu

He was the original RHINO MAN. Born in the highlands of the KwaZulu-Natal province, Martin came of age fighting as a soldier in the South African military. He then used his knowledge to train over 15,000 rangers around the world before his untimely death in 2014.

Ranger Candidate

Ranger Candidates

They come from the communities surrounding the reserves in search of work and a way to contribute to conservation. Many of them face tough living conditions back at home. They must make it through a rigorous 5 day selection to have a chance at becoming rangers.

Marianne de Kock

Marianne de Kock

She was the Programs Manager for AFRTS at the Southern African Wildlife College. She developed much of the training and ran ranger selections along with her husband Ruben, and business partner, Martin. She's seen throughout the film encouraging the young candidates to keep moving.

Dr. Johan Marais

Dr. Johan Marais

A renowned wildlife vet and the founder of Saving the Survivors. In the film, Dr. Marais shows us the horrors of rhino poaching survivors and the efforts to save them. Each animal that can be saved is worth saving, with the goal of releasing them in the wild so they can continue to procreate.

Peter Knights

Peter Knights

The founder of WildAid, which works to inspire change and curb the demand for illegal wildlife trade. Peter lends his expertise on the drivers behind the demand for rhino horn and where it's coming from. He has since founded Wild Africa Fund to raise awareness of poaching, habitat loss and human wildlife conflict.

Orlat Ndlovu

Orlat Ndlovu

He was 2nd in command at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and played a background role durning the filming of RHINO MAN. He has since taken the lead as the Head of Ranger Services. Orlat is an outstanding and decorated ranger and has become the top ranger advocate for bringing this film to the world.

Global Conservation Corps

RHINO MAN is a project of the Global Conservation Corps (GCC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is dedicated to conserving wildlife through education and bridging the gap between communities and conservation.

A call-to-action at the end of RHINO MAN will lead viewers to ways they can support the rangers and GCC’s Future Rangers Program. A program, which creates educational and economic opportunities in conservation for the youth of Africa and beyond.

Global Conservation Corps logo

Honor Him by Nayana

(Honor Him - acrylic on canvas by Nayana Rathmalgoda.)

HONORING ANTON

Anton Mzimba was the Head of Ranger Services at the Timbavati, Technical Advisor to GCC, and RHINO MAN's biggest champion. He dedicated every aspect of his life to the protection and conservation of South African wildlife.

On the evening of July 26th, 2022, as the film was coming to completion, Anton was brutally murdered at his home in front of his family. To say we were heartbroken is an understatement. Anton was not only the hero of our film, but a dear friend to everyone on the team.

He always knew the risks, but when asked he calmly voiced that the cause was worth it. Like so many other rangers, Anton paid the ultimate price for protecting our planet's future.

As devastating as this moment was, we wish to come together to honor Anton's legacy. Sign his petition for justice, support his children's education, and learn more by clicking the button below.

THE SOUNDTRACK

RHINO MAN features a completely Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, scored by Simón Wilson. Our title track "Who Will Step Up?" features Zulu lyrics and vocals by South African musical artists Sipho Mchunu and Mandisa Dlanga.

SIPHO MCHUNU is a Zulu musician best known for his partnership with Johnny Clegg in the band Juluka from the 1970s to the 1990s. Mchunu's Zulu compositions, vocals and guitar work brought traditional Zulu styles such as maskanda and mbaqanga to a wider crossover audience. His most recent album, Iselula, is available on Spotify.

MANDISA DLANGA is a South African vocalist from Lusikisiki, in the rural Transkei. She left her home to relocate to Johannesburg where she worked with and director, Gibson Kente. She met Johnny Clegg in studio in 1986 and recorded and toured with him as the longest serving member in Clegg's line-up.

A special thanks goes to Executive Producer Robert Bath and his music label FoundDigital Entertainment for producing the title track.

THE TEAM

John Jurko II

John Jurko II

Director / Producer / Cinematographer

John Jurko II has overseen the completion of RHINO MAN since 2018. After receiving a BA in Film Production and Philosophy, he lived in LA, where he worked in the camera department of many indie films. He then moved to Atlanta, where he was drawn to RHINO MAN for its story and potential as a social impact project. He created and hosts The Rhino Man Podcast to further build awareness of the importance of rangers, the rhino poaching crisis, and our need to connect local communities to protected areas.

Matt Lindenberg

Matt Lindenberg

Director / Producer

Matt Lindenberg is the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Conservation Corps (GCC). He is South African born and has spent years working with and training rangers at the Southern African Wildlife College. Matt has his Masters in Conservation Biology from Grand Valley State University. He started RHINO MAN as a way to honor his late mentor Martin Mthembu, and to bring awareness and support to the rangers. Matt is also a spectacular and sought after public speaker.

Daniel Roberts

Daniel Roberts

Director

Daniel is the founder and CEO of Friendly Human and VidLoft. He builds bombproof brands by living at the intersection of strategy, content, and technology. He's known for his ability to tell stories that help brands relate to customers while also creating a company culture that is extremely sought after. Daniel has interviewed thousands of people in his life, from WWII vets who stormed Normandy and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to a former U.S. President.

Justin Walker

Justin Walker

Producer

Justin is the Board Treasurer for the Global Conservation Corps. He was the COO for Friendly Human from 2014-2021, where he built the processes that grew the production company to one of the best in Atlanta. He has worked with major brands including Home Depot, Coca Cola, Mail Chimp, ABM and many more. Justin also founded Water Projects International, which brings clean water to as many people as possible.

Sabine Carion

Sabine Carion

Co-Producer

After a Master’s Degree in History, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques diplôma. She worked for the Chairman at France Télévisions, and created the Observatory of Foreign Televisions, and the dubbing department while a buyer of foreign programs. She now freelances for la Sabotière, as a writer and an artistic director, while acting as the editor in charge of the Feature films column in the journal « Defense » (IHEDN). She is also a race horse breeder for SARL Carion EMM.

Andrew Ackerman

Andrew Ackerman

Co-Producer

Andrew is a documentary film Director, Cinematographer, and Producer. Hew was a Director of Photography for the Sundance Audience Award-Winning film and Netflix Original Documentary, CHASING CORAL. He has directed two Somm TV Original Documentaries and has worked on documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic.

Kate Vannelli

Kate Vannelli

Impact Producer

Kate is a member of GCC’s Board of Advisors and previous Program Director for the Future Rangers Conservation Education Program. She is dedicated to creating a world where people and wildlife coexist in a mutually beneficial relationship. One of her recent achievements is the development of an app to monitor and evaluate the Future Rangers education program. She is now the Leader of the Living with Big Cats Initiative at WWF.

Mbhoni Mzamani

Mbhoni Mzamani

Impact Coordinator

Mbhoni studied environmental science before taking part in the Field Ranger Scholarship Program where he not only passed the course with flying colors, he discovered the world of GCC. He joined the GCC team in 2020 and is working on a very special project to promote all the various jobs available in conservation to the people living in the communities around the protected areas.

Nick Smith

Nick Smith

Cinematographer

Nick has shot all over the world for awesome clients and nonprofits. He's an experienced DP working in Atlanta, Ga. His views on photography align with his philosophy on life; be in the moment, treat people with respect, and create something unique .

Jacob Ross

Jacob Ross

Editor

Jacob is a commercial and documentary film Editor and Cinematographer. Jacob lived in Jerusalem, Israel for five years while working on the award winning feature documentary Beneath The Helmet as well as work with National Geographic. Jacob moved back to Atlanta to work as the Senior Editor at Raider Films, a commercial production company, whose clients consist of Porsche, Morgan Stanley, Patagonia, Coca Cola and other brands.

Cristian Troncoso

Cristian Troncoso

Editor

Cristian is a commercial, independent, and documentary film editor and cinematographer with 18 years of diverse experience. He has served as the Director of Photography and Editor for different productions in Chile, Spain, and the United States. Cristian is born and raised in Santiago, Chile. Today, he is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Simón Wilson

Simón Wilson

Composer

Simón is an award winning Los Angeles based musician and composer. Most recently he scored NBC’s Celebrity Escape Room, written additional music for Disney’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, and holds the Best Music award at LA’s 48 Hour Film Festival for four years running. After assisting and studying under Theodore Shapiro and receiving credit on major studio productions (Trolls World Tour, Bombshell), he has focused his efforts more recently on documentaries.

Myra Lugwiri

Myra Lugwiri

Social Media & Marketing

Myra is a computer student at the African Leadership University, Rwanda. She is our current Social Media and Marketing intern. Myra is passionate about technology and the way technology can be implemented to help wildlife conservation efforts. She is currently exploring the impact social media has in supporting conservation efforts.

A Film By

Global Conservation Corps

Produced By

Friendly Human

Finishing and Color

Company 3

Executive Producers

Lee Godown
Sam Konigsberg
Josh Lumsden
Robert Bath
Joe Mari
David Fein
Peter Eastwood

 

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Timbavati Private Nature ReserveSouthern African Wildlife CollegeThin Green LineTanglewood FoundationUnited for WildlifeManchesterCF Financial Intelligence

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