What is Episode 53 all about?
What was the last film that moved you? A movie that was so well produced that it shook you to your very core? Think deeply about the film for a moment – what elements did the producer add that took the experience to a new level? Even if you can’t pinpoint the producer’s secret sauce, how excited would you be if he or she had a personal revolution and decided to use their skills to tell a conservation story through video? Without hesitation, you’d be one of the first in line to watch it and share with everyone you know.
This thought experiment leads us to ask, what makes an impactful conservation film that isn’t full of propaganda or completely misses the point? Well, everyone, I’m excited to inform you that I had the opportunity to ask these questions and so much more with today’s guest.
In this episode, I’m chatting with Tom (TA) Opre, award-winning filmmaker and producer. Growing up in Michigan, Tom spent his childhood exploring the outdoors. His father, a well-known outdoor writer and former filmmaker himself, inspired Tom to pursue film in college. After he graduated, his father connected him with a film friend in Florida, and Tom’s career was launched. He went on to form his own production company and produced many commercial films, mostly in outdoor sports and recreation. At a fateful event in 2016, a Zambian man approached Tom and asked him to record an incredible story unfolding in his country. A chieftainess, whose people were dying from starvation, approached the man, Roland Norton, asking him to please bring opportunity to their community. For the next three years, Tom recorded the community’s recovery, including all the triumphs, struggles, and conspiracies. He named the film Killing the Shepherd, which just completed the film festival circuit and was released online a couple of weeks ago.
Tom and I dive deep into the full story without any spoilers, I promise. If you’re not a supporter of hunting, I still highly recommend that you listen to the full episode to hear how the Soli people saw hunting tourism as a solution to their plight. Tom also parallels their story with hunting conservation in the US. It was a thought-provoking conversation and I hope you will take a few moments to ponder on it, too.
Killing the Shepherd is currently available to watch at https://www.shepherdsofwildlife.org/ until January 15th, 2022, and will be viewable through streaming platforms afterward. I’ll be sure to update you all on which platforms once they’re locked in.
Alright, everyone. Here is my conversation with Kara.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Links & Resources
Watch Killing the Shepherd
Shepherds of Wildlife Society
Phone: +1 406-890-4505
Donate to Shepherds of Wildlife
You can reach Tom by messaging him through Instagram via the link above.
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