The Thin Green Line is a film produced, at his own expense, by Sean Willmore, who apparently sold his car and remortgaged his house to make the film. It’s being released as a grassroots movement, and for once it does seem as if “grassroots” and not astroturf is the appropriate description. Lordy!
Long story short: Park rangers do have to put up with a lot of shit sometimes, but in developing countries, they have the additional problem of people trying to kill them.
Sean Willmore, a Park Ranger from Warringine Park in Victoria, Australia sold his car and remortgaged his house 3 times to make this film. In 2003 he met his ranger colleagues from across the globe at an International Park Rangers Congress at Wilson’s Promontory National Park, near Melbourne. It was here that he developed his vision to document and bring to the wider community the real picture behind the postcards of international parks and reserves.
The selfless commitment of individuals who face the real prospect of death from poachers, wild creatures and other challenges. By filming rangers at work he wanted to open up a different way of looking at and communicating the wonders of our world and the daily threats to its very survival.
Sean spent most of 2004 filming the lives and stories of rangers on 6 continents and 19 countries. There were some incredible experiences: volcanoes, ascents by horseback in Chile and Argentina, a charging elephant in South Africa, drowning rivers in Costa Rica, Mountain Gorilla protection in volatile Virungas of Uganda, helicopter rescues in the Rockies, dangerous anti-poaching patrols and chases in South Africa, Galapagos, Uganda and India, and violent threats by rebel soldiers, antagonistic poaching communities, and protesting fisherman. Sean counts himself lucky to be alive.
These experiences set the tone for the life stories and challenges facing the professional Park Ranger.
Filming the journey inspired Sean to deepen his belief in the devoted men and women who sometimes give their lives for their devotion to nature, people and conservation. The “Rangers’ heart” helps them cope with corruption, poor re-sourcing, ignorance, politics and greed.
The film is being distributed by inviting people with contacts in the film industry to get a copy and host their own premiere, which is set for July 31.