David Simpson takes Milking the Rhino on tour

Throughout April, Kartemquin's David E. Simpson will take his film Milking the Rhino across the Mid-Atlantic Region on the On Screen/In Person tour.

In a recent podcast interview, David noted how before being alerted to the subject matter by co-producer Jeannie Magill, he had a self-professedly "fixed, somewhat superficial" notion of conservation. In making the film David learned how new efforts had begun to move away from older models of animal protection into recognizing the complexities of native popuations cohabiting (and often competing with) wildlife in regions like sub-Saharan Africa. He was drawn to understanding the everyday problems of local conservation efforts as well as the innovative solutions that have tried to address them. For the rural tribes in Kenya and Namibia that David and his crew followed, wild animals often brought about life and death conflicts, and these and other challenges—including a major drought in Kenya at the time of filming—were often painful to observe as a documentarian.

David also discussed the challenges of filming in remote locations. Driving up to the northwest corner of Namibia involved three and a half days of slow driving that felt like the days of the stagegoach. He was arrested in Zimbabwe for filming out of a taxi, and one of his crew members went into a diabetic coma.

Social issues are his pride, ranging from work on disability issues to understanding how communites deal with radical changes to their lifestyles and cultures. While he tinkered with Super 8 and 16 mm film as early as middle and high school, David came to documentary only after getting an MFA in film. He has worked as an editor in between his own projects, including most recently for Steve James' upcoming Head Games. 

His upcoming projects including another examination of community-based conservation in Australia, as well as the development of blindness culture.

Check out David discussing his work and interests—including his favorite films of all time!—on the podcast.

Screenings of Milking the Rhino on its On Screen/In Person tour:

Host Site: St. John Film Society
Location:St. John, USVI
Screening Date: Tuesday 4/3/2012

Host Site: ArtsWEGO at State University of New York-Oswego
Location: Oswego, NY
Screening Date: Tuesday 4/17/2012

Host Site: CityFest/Theater N at Nemours
Location: Wilmington, DE
Screening Date: Thursday 4/18/2012

Host Site: Cumberland County College
Location: Vineland, NJ
Screening Date: Saturday 4/21/2012

Host Site: Chrysler Museum of Art
Location: Norfolk, VA
Screening Date: Wednesday 4/25/2012

Host Site: Riverviews Artspace
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Screening Date: Friday 4/27/2012

Host Site: Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia
Location: Charleston, WV
Screening Date: Saturday 4/28/2012