NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARY FILMS ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF FIRST-EVER VIRTUAL REALITY SHORT FROM ACADEMY AWARD WINNER KATHRYN BIGELOW AND TWO-TIME EMMY NOMINEE IMRAAN ISMAIL

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARY FILMS ANNOUNCES
RELEASE OF FIRST-EVER VIRTUAL REALITY SHORT FROM
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER KATHRYN BIGELOW AND
TWO-TIME EMMY NOMINEE IMRAAN ISMAIL

Filmed Deep in the Congo, The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes Immerses Viewers in the Dangerous Reality of Those Who Risk Their Lives to Protect Elephants From Poachers

Produced by HERE BE DRAGONS, The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Arcade starting April 21,
followed by a May 1 release on Within

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 19, 2017) – Garamba National Park. In 1980, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site, unmatched in its biodiversity. Today, it’s ground zero in the fight to save the largest population of elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rangers are the last line of defense in a race against extinction at the hands of poachers slaughtering elephants for their ivory tusks.

National Geographic Documentary Films takes viewers to the front lines of Garamba alongside the rangers who face constant danger and even death while protecting elephants from heavily militarized and incentivized poachers. Shot entirely in virtual reality and directed by Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) with two-time Emmy nominee and VR creator Imraan Ismail, The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes will premiere at Tribeca Immersive’s Virtual Arcade beginning April 21. Following its Tribeca run, the film will be released exclusively on Within, the premiere distributor of VR content, on May 1 and on YouTube and Facebook360 starting May 8. For more information, visit natgeotvpressroom.com.

“National Geographic has been protecting the planet for 129 years and inspiring others to do the same through text, photos, videos and, increasingly, VR,” said Rachel Webber, executive vice president of digital product for National Geographic. “The Protectors transports audiences to the heart of the ivory conflict, witnessing the battle between destruction and preservation firsthand.”

“The world’s park rangers are truly unsung heroes, serving as the last line of defense between endangered wildlife and extinction — for lions, rhinos, pangolins, etc., and, of course, elephants,” said director Kathryn Bigelow.

“With the help of National Geographic and African Parks, The Protectors offers an opportunity to get to know the brave Rangers of Garamba National Park in the DRC, where poaching elephants for their ivory tusks is rampant. Their job is a deadly race against time, fraught with danger, and without them the elephants’ extinction is all but certain. Every day they put their lives at risk to protect our planet’s wildlife — but they cannot do it alone. Both the elephants and rangers need your help.”

Garamba National Park has been managed by African Parks, a conservation nonprofit organization in collaboration with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, since 2005. To learn more about supporting Garamba’s rangers visit www.african-parks.org, where 100 percent of the funding goes directly to manage the parks and support the rangers.

“The Protectors is a very important film that not only shines a light on the rangers, creating empathy for those who risk their lives day in and day out,” said Andrea Heydlauff, chief marketing officer of African Parks, “it provides people with a call to action to join the fight in securing a future for Africa’s elephants. It’s conservation media at its best.”

The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes is produced for National Geographic by HERE BE DRAGONS, along with Annapurna Pictures and African Parks. For HERE BE DRAGONS, executive producers are Annie Hanlon, Patrick Milling-Smith, Samantha Storr, Matthew Budman, Sammy Scher and Priya Swaminathan. For National Geographic Channel, Matt Renner is vice president, production and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.

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