Netflix continues to make inroads into the feature film world by producing some excellent documentaries. They distributed Ave Duvernay’s The 13th, produced the Oscar nominated doc Virunga, and have now partnered with executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio for The Ivory Game. The first trailer for the film hit the web earlier today, and it’s a passionate, scary, and very moving preview.
The Ivory Game deals with the illegal ivory trade, from the poachers in Africa to the buyers, primarily in mainland China. The directors filmed undercover for sixteen months, talking with poachers, buyers, and those attempting to preserve and protect the African elephant, now in danger of extinction. The most disgusting part of all is that the poachers would actually prefer the elephant going extinct, thus driving up the price of ivory and continuing to line their pockets.
This first trailer for The Ivory Game ramps up the excitement of the film, with music and voiceovers and quick cuts that make it look more like a Hollywood espionage movie than a documentary. But there’s also something powerful in this trailer, in the images of African elephants playing and living together, juxtaposed against the evil that some men commit against them. Hopefully the film will present solutions to the poaching problem, and not simply make us all despair of protecting the world’s largest land mammal.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been quite a force in documentaries recently, acting as a producer on climate change doc Before the Flood, the preservation of the mountain gorilla in the Congo in Virunga, and now protecting the African elephant. While it’s easy to get a bit cynical about DiCaprio’s extremely public environmentalism, at least he’s using his wealth and considerable clout for good and bringing the world’s attention to problems that must be solved.
The Ivory Game will premiere on November 4 on Netflix and in select theaters.