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The Edge of Existence - Documentary Review (Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2021)

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Published July 14th 2021
Human-wildlife conflict; Global issue reaching crisis levels
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Images - Melb Documentary Film Fest 2021

Screening at the 6th Melbourne Documentary Film Festival that runs for the whole month of July 2021 online and in real life (IRL) at Cinema Nova as part of Documentary Month, you'll find The Edge of Existence amongst the very best documentaries on offer.

With so many to choose from, be sure to visit the website to get your tickets for both Online (1-31 July 2021) and IRL In-Cinema (21-31 July 2021) selections. All documentaries are geo-blocked to Australia and once a doco is unlocked you have 48 hours to complete your viewing (after you press play).


The Edge of Existence aims to tell the story of key characters on the ground in the Serengeti who face daily challenges as they struggle to coexist with Africa's wildlife. You will see the catastrophic effect on the environment and on communities that live alongside wild animals daily, through the eyes of the community and conservationists, and hear their point of view on this topic.

A documentary by Black Bean and directed by James Suter and Charlie Luckock, it follows The Grumeti Fund navigating through the challenges of human-wildlife conflict and committed to finding solutions that enable people and wildlife to peacefully co-exist sustainably. You'll hear first-hand accounts from Grant Burden - Head of Special Projects at Grumeti; Gotera Gamba - Head of Operations for Law Enforcement at Grumeti; Frida Mollel - Community Outreach Program Manager at Grumeti and Dr Kristen Denninger-Snyder - Head Scientist, Research and Innovation for the Serengeti Ecosystem (RISE).

Filmed entirely on location in Tanzania, you can be a part of the solution to protect human lives and wildlife by purchasing a meter or more of fence; the most recent solution to be implemented. It effectively separates human areas and wild spaces without impacting on the natural movement patterns of wildlife. The most successful method to date. It will allow people and wildlife to live safely and free from danger. Your help will change lives for the better. Donate or send them a message.

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Director of Photography - Oli Caldow

From the onset, you see the loss and sorrow at a human level as well as the joy and expanse of nature and wildlife, unfenced. With a growth in population and wildlife, there's a huge competition for space and resources between the two. Humans are just trying to survive and thrive as are the wildlife. When farms are completely flattened and the population is starving, conserving the animals is not in the forefront of priorities for the community. They already live a meagre life by any standard and starvation prompts them to take the law into their own hands. On the other hand, with easy pickings of food at such close proximity, the wildlife begins to encroach on human livelihoods. With an understanding from both sides of the argument, it is indeed an insurmountable task and near on impossible for the conservationists to keep a balance for co-existence.

With the health of the planet deteriorating rapidly and almost 50% of our natural ecosystems lost; this will only increase over the next 30 years with an estimated global population growth of 2 billion people. Conservation is important to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet, but how do you get it across successfully to a community that is starving and struggling. Human-wildlife conflict poses a serious threat to the success of conservation.


It is surreal and unbelievable how close in proximity humans and wildlife are, with no fencing between them. Yet, there are farmers that have lived on their land for over 30 years this way. Where can they go with no money to go anywhere? It's a merry-go-round of problem-solving and there has to be a better solution without the same issues perpetuating. You really see both sides of the coin and cannot possibly envy the hard work required to keep things running smooth on the ground. The work implemented there is admirable, considering all the issues that have to be navigated, including a threat to both human and wildlife.

The biggest joy of this amazing, must-see documentary, is the cinematography. It is simply beyond magnificent! It holds the breath of every beat of your heart in the palm of its hand with its beauty - the beauty of our universe, planet earth. However, it also exposes the need and greed of human nature and the will to survive in an ever-growing population. An insight of what the future may hold if we don't start working together on the ground to preserve our natural resources.

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Why? The Edge of Existence Documentary Review - Melb Dcoumentary Film Festival 2021
When: Documentary Month - Film Fest on till 31 July 2021
Where: Australia
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