Big-game hunting is a billion-dollar industry. Trophy, a new documentary that premiered to strong reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in January, investigates that business through both a global and individual lens, resulting in imagery — especially in its storyline involving a man’s quest to take down a lion — that’s sure to shock and upset some of its viewers. Yet as Yahoo Movies‘ exclusive debut of the upcoming film’s trailer (watch it above) makes clear, this is hardly just a horror movie; it’s also a canny inquiry into the best means of protecting Earth’s wild creatures.
That’s because Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau’s film is fixated on the intersection of commerce and conservation, which is epitomized by South African John Hume, who operates a farm where he breeds rhinos for the express purpose of cutting off their horns and selling them. To Hume, that practice is far more humane than the alternative — hunters callously slaughtering rhinos for their horns. More important, he argues that it’s a way to make sure that the animals don’t go extinct. As he says in the above clip, “Give me one animal that’s gone extinct while farmers were breeding it and making money out of it. There’s not one.”
It’s a contentious argument for a thorny issue, and one that Trophy digs into deeply, especially since such a mindset has also resulted in companies now earmarking various types of creatures for kill by hunters (who can literally select and purchase their targets from a Vegas showroom floor).
Earlier this year, Variety called Trophy “a complex nonfiction portrait of wildlife hunting and conservation that’s more interested in posing challenging questions than proffering easy answers… its ability to enrage, enlighten and confound in equal measure make it a non-fiction prize of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” The film arrives in theaters on Sept. 8, and you can see our exclusive trailer for it above, as well as its theatrical poster below.
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