The ivory-poaching scourge in Africa is the topic of Netflix’s original documentary The Ivory Game, which premieres November 4 day-and-date in select theaters and on streaming service. The docu comes on the heels of Netflix’s success with Virunga, which earned an Oscar nomination in the Feature Documentary category last year for its look at the fight to preserve the mountain gorilla population in the Congo. And like that docu, this one’s also executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and an awards-push is in the works here too.
In Ivory Game, directors Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson spend 16 months in China and Africa filming undercover to expose an illegal industry that pits man against nature, with the demand for elephant ivory (especially in Mainland China) not only threatening an entire species but exposing a more insidious crime: the poachers and black market forces would prefer the extinction of the African elephant because it would drive up prices on ivory and therefore demand. Says one front-line player in the pic: “What have we become if everything we value, everything we care about, we consume?”
That question catapults the docu’s look at the forces at play, with the filmmakers employing intelligence operatives, undercover activists, park rangers and tough-as-nails conservationists to infiltrate the trafficking world. From the first look at the trailer, the story that unfolds every bit as suspenseful and heart-pounding as anyMission: Impossible movie.
Red Bull’s Terra Mater Film Studios and Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions produced the pic in association with Malaika Pictures and DiCaprio’s Appian Way.