Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau‘s Trophy, a Sundance ’17 doc, exposes the ethical aspects of professional big game hunting (i.e., guys who take millionaires into the bush so they can bag a rhino or a lion) vs. the ongoing uphill battle to conserve wildlife. Yes, Virginia, there are thousands of rich assholes who get a thrill out of drilling African wildlife with hot lead and then posing with their carcasses. L.A. Times celebrity assessor Amy Kaufman tweeted yesterday that Trophy “could be the next film out of @sundancefest to spark the kind of anger and debate that The Cove and Blackfish did.” Anger, sure, but who would argue with any sincerity that it’s cool to murder animals for the manly joy of it? The early-to-mid 20th Century culture that shrugged when Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway shot animals is no more. In today’s context the African hunting exploits of Donald Trump’s sons are nothing short of disgusting.
Boilerplate: “Endangered African species like elephants, rhinos, and lions march closer to extinction each year. Their devastating decline is fueled by a global desire to consume and collect these majestic animals. Trophy investigates the powerhouse businesses of big game hunting, breeding, and wildlife conservation. Through the eyes of impassioned individuals who drive these industries, filmmakers Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau grapple with the complex consequences of imposing economic value on animals. What are the ethical implications of treating animals as commodities? Do breeding, farming, and hunting offer some of the few remaining options to conserve these species before it’s too late?”