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Killing the Shepherd™

A hard-hitting, perspective-changing story of the positive relationship between animals and indigenous communities from the point of view of the Soli people of Zambia.

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T. A. Opre’s hard-hitting, revealing but also, at times, deeply worrying documentary Killing the Shepherd is a major and effective step towards providing the other side of the story – the side of the people and communities most directly affected by living with spectacular but also dangerous and destructive wildlife.

-Africa Sustainable Conservation News

It’s a must-see for anyone interested in wildlife conservation.

-Prof. Adam Hart, University of Gloucestershire, BBC Presenter

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The Story

 A remote community in Africa, led by a woman chief, attempts to break the stranglehold of absolute poverty by waging a war on wildlife poaching. For decades illegal wildlife poaching by both subsistence and bush meat gangs has led to the government declaring this community’s homeland “depleted” of wildlife. 


The chief finds help in the form of a safari operator. They collaborate to bring stability to the community in the face of threats from disease, food instability, and rampant alcoholism that hamper access to basic necessities like health care and education. Dark forces including South African land speculators, criminal poaching gangs, and her own people conspire against the chief. Even elements from the outside modern world work against her.

Will the chief and her community achieve success?

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  • Golden Gate International Film Festival - Best Documentary Feature

  • Docs Without Borders Film Festival - Best of Festival Social Issues

  • ScopiusFest - Best Feature Director

  • European Cinematography Awards 

  • Depth of Field International Film Festival - Award Winner Cinematography

  • Something Wicked FilmFest - Best Feature Documentary & Best Editing Feature Documentary

  • Hollywood International Diversity Film Festival - Culture Perspective Award

  • Golden State Film Festival (CA) - Grand Prize Best Feature Documentary

  • Terres Travel Film Festival  (Spain) - Preservation of the Planet Award

  • African Film Festival - Best Cinematography 

  • Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (NYC) - Best Humans & Nature Documentary 

  • WorldFest - Houston International Film Festival - Platinum Remi Award -Best Documentary Feature

  • Golden Gate (CA) International Film Festival - Best Feature Documentary

  • Impact Doc Awards (Virtual) - Award of Excellence - Cinematography & Feature Documentary 

  • Västerås International Film Festival (Sweden) - Best Feature Documentary

  • Cannes World Film Festival - Best Indigenous Film & Best Cinematography

  • Royal Society of Television & Motion Picture Awards - Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Toronto Independent Film Festival - Best Human Rights Film

  • Wallachia International Film Festival (Bucharest) -  Best Cinematography

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