British Actress Anna Friel stars in ‘Virunga’ a new short film directed by Stephen Poliakoff, being shown in ODEON cinemas across the UK from 11 October.
The three minute film takes us on a dramatic journey over snow-capped mountains and volcanoes before landing in lush tropical rainforest - home to an astonishing array of wildlife including gorillas and forest elephants.
Director Stephen Poliakoff, one of Britain’s best known dramatists, has used cutting edge techniques to capture the dramatic landscapes of the remote region of eastern Congo. Viewers will be amazed by the sheer beauty of the landscapes captured in their cinematic glory and learn how a global thirst for oil is putting its future at risk.
Anna accompanied by her eight-year old daughter Gracie, visited east Africa to see how oil exploration could impact upon the environment, local people, and species like the critically endangered mountain gorilla population, which live in the surrounding area. They also saw how people make a living from the natural environment through activities such as fishing and eco-tourism.
Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park, is home to around a quarter of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas and over 200 other species not found anywhere outside the region. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the park for food and water. However, oil exploration and possible spills could devastate this fragile ecosystem.
Straddling the equator in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Virunga borders Uganda, but travel to the park is currently prohibited due security issues. By visiting Uganda, Anna experienced similar environments and wildlife including mountain gorillas, elephants, hippos and lions in Virunga’s neighboring Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Anna Friel commented: “I was incredibly fortunate to experience the beauty of Uganda’s parks with my daughter Gracie, and I now feel even more of a responsibility to help preserve this area for future generations. If we fail to act now, the heritage of this ‘protected’ area and these extraordinary creatures could no longer exist by the time Gracie is my age. If oil exploration can threaten a place as beautiful and meaningful as Virunga, where’s next?”
WWF believes that oil exploration could bring a new and unacceptable level of risk for Virunga’s environment and communities. There is evidence that the park could develop economically without resorting to oil extraction. By visiting the region, Anna wants to raise awareness of the impact oil exploration could have.
Sign up now to protect Virunga National Park from oil exploration.
A full list of films which will feature Virunga can be found on the ODEON website.