South African feature documentary Stroop - Journey into the Rhino Horn War has won the coveted Best Documentary award at the prestigious San Diego International Film Festival this weekend.
Mudbound producer Kyle Tekiela presented the award to filmmakers Bonne de Bod and Susan Scott saying, "documentaries tell stories that bring big issues to light and the jury felt this was one of the biggest of them all, that poignantly conveys the struggle the world's rhinos are having to remain alive for the next decade."
The weekend was a winning one for the filmmakers as they also scooped an additional two awards from the LA-based Glendale International Film Festival where they picked up the Best Female Filmmakers award.
And - also in LA - from the city's premiere film festival, LA Femme, which supports women producers from around the world, De Bod and Scott were awarded the Special Documentary of Focus Award.
Stroop producer and presenter de Bod says: "Winning these awards has opened up new opportunities to get the film seen around the globe.
"Film festival directors and distributors are contacting us directly because of the buzz around the documentary and to get something this hard-hitting and shocking in front of as many audiences as possible is of course vital for everyone who is concerned about the ongoing slaughter of our dwindling rhino population."
Adds director Scott: "I do find it incredible and ironic that the state of California is recognising the film in such a huge way, because many times during filming, we were told to put Americans in the film to give relevance for the international audience. But this has connected with Americans precisely because it's about ordinary South Africans doing extraordinary things for our planet.
"I'm so glad we stuck with keeping the story about our heroes on the ground. These awards recognise their work."
In addition to the slew of awards the film has won, Stroop has been invited to screen at no less than 15 official film festivals, and this number is growing daily as it receives worldwide attention and acclamation.
The documentary tells the shocking and touching story of the ongoing poaching of rhino and the trade in its coveted horn.