Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Mirra Bank, Director
NO FEAR NO FAVOR began with my concern about the alarming loss of species throughout our world, and my need to discover some working solutions to this problem that we have created. The stakes could not be higher. The 2019 UN Global Assessment reports that more than a million species are now threatened with extinction.
I drew on my strong relationships with environmental groups - in particular with The Nature Conservancy - to gain access to programs that sustain wildlife and habitats in southern Africa. Here, the many threats to the natural world include unregulated development; explosive population growth; severe drought due to climate change; unsustainable land use; neglect of sensitive ecosystems; the collusion of some government officials with international poaching cartels
The $20 Bn/year black market trade in trafficked wildlife is among the most visible problems Africa faces. While several documentaries have done a good job of investigating the illegal ivory trade, I sought out people who have joined the fight to disrupt that system close to home. I began by following the work of Zambia’s anti-poaching unit in the Kafue wilderness and moved on to spend time with veterinary and orphan elephant rescue programs. Working as a spare, two-person crew, using lightweight HDV cameras in areas that were mostly off the grid, we entered the world of women and men who live among, and work with, endangered African wildlife.
My goal was to answer the question: “What can reverse the dynamic, so that Poachers become Protectors -- so that wildlife is worth more alive than dead? As we filmed in Zambia, Namibia,and North Kenya the answer emerged through the stories of our key characters. Anety is a single mother who works as a wildlife police officer; Kingsley is a former poacher who now protects orphaned elephants; Kelvin is the father of three small children who teaches the value of wildlife to schoolchildren living near the Kafue wilderness; Patricia is a UK and USA-trained PhD. who returned to Zambia to help start community-led conservation in her home country.
Such local stakeholders - throughout the region - are natural partners in conservation. They
have the greatest interest in sustaining local ecosystems, and rightly should benefit from them. I knew that where African wilderness is unprotected, elephants, rhinos, pangolins, and many other species, face decimation. But the big discovery for me was that, along with reliable law enforcement, the most effective deterrent to wildlife crime is community engagement and benefit. Where natural areas are managed by Community Conservancies, wildlife rebounds. The profits of ecotourism - and other green enterprise - empower rural communities so that they become the enemies of poaching. And in each of the three countries where our film is set, Community Conservancies significantly expanded livelihoods - - particularly for women and girls.
No Fear No Favor took me on a hopeful journey. I was able to bring back a story that is virtually unknown in the US - and one that I was eager to tell - of how communities can reclaim their wilderness heritage for future generations. And of how essential wildlife is to human well-being.
Director, Producer, Cinematographer
Join us on Saturday, April 24 at 4pm PDT as we livestream a discussion with award-winning independent director and producer Mirra Bank to discuss her film, NO FEAR NO FAVOR. Viewers can ask questions via chat during this live broadcast. This free livestream does not include the viewing of the film. Watch the film, NO FEAR NO FAVOR HERE for $2.95 or purchase an Earth Day 2021 Pass and watch all four of our April films on-demand through April 30th in celebration of Earth Day 2021.