In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers - including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a carer of orphan gorillas and a Belgian conservationist - protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war in May 2012, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they've worked so hard to protect.
With his documentaries spanning Africa, Asia, America and the Arctic, winning numerous awards, screening at the world’s top film festivals and encompassing everything from a skateboard school in Kabul to the tracking and arrest of pirates in West Africa, you could genuinely say that Orlando’s filmography thus far is down right impressive. Praised by critics for his fearless filmmaking and strong sense of the people and places he covers, Orlando's eye for striking shots, combined with his compelling global investigations into social issues, have ensured that he is unequivocally an original and talented filmmaker on the rise. VIRUNGA is Orlando's first feature.
Joanna is a director/producer, and founder of Violet Films / Ultra Violet Consultancy, currently the only company in the UK combining social impact strategy and film production. Ultra Violet is an ethical consultancy specialising in bespoke outreach campaigns and maximising the social change potential for film and media projects. Joanna has extensive experience in documentary film having directed and produced documentaries covering social justice and politics and has recently worked on some of the world’s most impactful feature documentaries including No Fire Zone and The House I Live In.
DOP Franklin Dow began his career at the age of 18, working as a camera trainee for his father. Alongside his studies at the Art Institute at Bournemouth he continued to help out at the family business in London, as well as assisting and camera operating for a series of small channels. In 2005 he graduated with a first class honours in Cinematography, also winning two Kodak Student Commercial Awards. He has since built up a uniquely broad portfolio of work from Drama and Verite Documentary to Commercials and Fashion. Franklin's work has screened at numerous festivals, including Sundance, LFF, SXSW and Camerimage, collecting various awards along the way including Best Cinematography.
Masahiro has over 25 years experience in film and television; a close collaborator with Danny Boyle, he has edited some of his most highly praised films, Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach. In addition he has edited recent features, The Duchess and Bel Ami as well as the award-winning Hi-Lo Country and the feature doc We Are Together (Thina Simunye).
Patrick Jonsson is a film composer/music engineer and a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 2013 Patrick scored his first two dramatic feature films, including Bends, directed by Flora Lau, which had its premiere as part of the official selection for 'Un Certain Regard' at the Cannes International Film Festival where the music was praised in Variety: "Sparse dialogue and haunting music lend an alienating effect; other craft contributions are also excellent." Patrick recently received a nomination for 'Best Original Film Score' for Bends at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.He has also composed music for numerous short films, documentaries and commercials, including the award-winning short film Skateistan: to Live and Skate Kabul which was an official selection at Sundance and SXSW.Additionally he assisted composers on a number of feature films such as Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, My Week With Marilyn, Brave, Gambit, and The Imposter. Virunga The Movie is Patrick’s first feature documentary score.
Mr. Buffett manages the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private charitable foundation. He oversees a 1,500-acre family farm in central Illinois and farms in Nebraska with his son. He oversees three foundation-operated research farms: 1,400 acres in Arizona, 4,400 acres in Illinois, and 9,200 acres in South Africa.
Mr. Buffett currently serves on the Corporate Boards of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., an investment holding company; The Coca Cola Company, the world’s largest beverage company, Lindsay Corporation, a world-wide leader in the manufacturing of agricultural irrigation products; and Sloan Implement, a privately owned distributor of John Deere agricultural equipment in North America. Mr. Buffett has served on the boards of Archer Daniels Midland, a leading world food processor; Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world; ConAgra Foods, one of North America’s largest food service manufacturers and retail food suppliers and Agro Tech Foods, a publicly traded food manufacturing company in India.
In 1997, Mr. Buffett became a member of the Commission on Presidential Debates; he received the Aztec Eagle Award from the President of Mexico in 2000, the highest honor bestowed on a foreign citizen by the Government of Mexico; In 2002, he was recognized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture as one of the most distinguished individuals in agriculture; In 2005, he received the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award; In 2007, he was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Programme; In 2011, Mr. Buffett was awarded the World Ecology Award and the George McGovern Leadership Award; In 2012, he was awarded the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service to Humanity Award, the Columbia University Global Leadership Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Pennsylvania State University, the Leader in Agriculture Award from Agriculture Future of America, and the Special Service Award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development; and in 2013, he received the Chairman’s Award from National Geographic Society and the International Quality of Life Award from Auburn University. He was recognized by CIMMYT in 2014 for his contributions to agriculture. He has traveled to 130 countries and authored eight books on conservation, wildlife, and the human condition.
Jon Drever is a prolific filmmaker and founder and owner of Grain Media. He has directed hundreds of hours of content across multiple platforms. He cut his teeth in the action sports world, making skateboard films for fun before co-founding the multi-award winning production company Grain Media in 2006.
Predominantly a commercials Director, Jon has directed work for some of the world’s biggest brands including Nike, New Balance and Nestle. His commercials are slick, but they all have a human touch and softness to them.
Jon's first feature as director, SuperBob is currently in post-production and has been in his life for over three years. This project started as a short - written and directed by Jon and was made in a couple of days with one of his oldest friends, Brett Goldstein, and received great critical acclaim.
Maxyne oversee's BRITDOCs film slate. She has Executive Produced Academy Award nominees, The Square and Hell and Back Again, along with other titles including the evocative The Possibilities are Endless, Afghan Star, Town of Runners and the crowd pleaser Ping Pong. She also oversaw the Puma development awards which spawned such wonders as Teenage, Crash Reel and Dragonslayer.
Jess has Executive Produced some of BRITDOCs strongest films including Dirty Wars, Who is Dayani Cristal?, We Are Together and The End of the Line. Previously, Jess was a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 TV in the UK for 5 years.
Really, it’s that simple. Tweet, post, blog, pin, whatever about the film and the issues at its heart. The further we can spread the word about what SOCO International are doing in eastern Congo the better chance we have to stop them. Here are all our handles and hashtags to help you:
Please sign up to our website with your email address so that we can keep you updated on new developments related to the issues at stake or things you can do to help protect Virunga National Park.
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The Virunga National Park needs continued support and funding. We would ask anyone who has been moved by the issues in the film or who wants to help support the brave rangers of Virunga in their vital work to visit the park’s own website and donate directly to them:
Whether you have a lot of money or just a little, you may be surprised to know some of that may be invested into SOCO International. Check your investment portfolios and assets but also your pension funds. Many of them will tie into SOCO probably without you even knowing. You can write to the company and ask them if they intend to really stay away from Virunga forever and what they will be doing to safeguard the park for the future.