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Killing the Shepherd: Beyond the Film by Tom Opre

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Editorial Book Review:

"Killing the Shepherd: Beyond the Film" is a gripping and eye-opening account of filmmaker Tom Opre's extraordinary journey to capture the struggles and triumphs of a remote community in Zambia. Through his lens, Opre unveils the inspiring tale of a fearless woman chief who embarks on a courageous mission to save her people from the clutches of poverty and wildlife poaching.

Opre's dedication to this project is evident as he spent over three years meticulously documenting the lives of the people of Shikabeta and their indomitable leader. The narrative takes us back to a time when the Lower Luano Valley was plagued by starvation, and the land, once teeming with Africa's iconic wildlife, faced an unimaginable threat due to the ban on safari hunting.

With the ban in place, poaching gangs mercilessly decimated the wildlife, leaving the community bereft of hope and struggling to survive. However, it is the unwavering resolve and wisdom of the chief that shines through, as she realizes the need for a safari operator in her area. Enter Roland Norton, whose dreams of running a safari concession align perfectly with the chief's vision.

Opre masterfully takes readers on a journey through an unconventional business agreement, navigating the complexities, heartaches, and ultimately, the successes that lead to astounding results for both wildlife conservation and the community. The story is filled with moments that evoke emotions, leaving readers at the edge of their seats.

"Killing the Shepherd: Beyond the Film" delves deeper than any film ever could. Opre peels back the layers, offering a gritty and raw perspective that lays bare the realities faced by the people and the land they call home. The book serves as a transformative experience for readers, offering hope for the future of Africa's wildlife and, more importantly, the empowerment of rural communities throughout the continent.

Through Opre's vivid storytelling, the book not only highlights the crucial importance of protecting wildlife but also presents a blueprint that can empower other communities to claim their basic human rights. This is a tale of resilience, determination, and the unwavering spirit of those who dare to challenge the odds.

"Killing the Shepherd: Beyond the Film" is a profound and heart-rending narrative that serves as a clarion call to protect our natural heritage and uplift the lives of those who depend on it. Tom Opre's work transcends the boundaries of mere storytelling, leaving an indelible impact on the reader's mind and a renewed sense of responsibility for our shared planet.

About the Author Tom Opre A film director, cinematographer, television producer, wildlife conservationist, and human rights advocate, Tom Opre has made educating the public on wildlife conservation and stewardships issues his main priority. As the past president of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), he has worked to help other outdoor communicators and industry leaders understand and present a unified message regarding the top issues facing wildlife conservation today.

Since 1990, Opre has produced and/or directed national television commercial projects for Fortune 500 companies, feature films and episodic television including wildlife projects for Discovery Channel and PBS. In 2015, he wrapped a seven year prime-time run on NBC Sports producing the highest rated, award-winning, television show in the outdoor fieldsports genre, Eye of the Hunter. His latest project, Killing the Shepherd, is a documentary feature film telling the story of a rural indigenous community in Zambia and their struggle to survive, attempting to break the bonds of poverty by waging a war against wildlife poaching. The film was selected by 41 film festivals world-wide, winning 21 major awards including: best feature documentary; best indigenous film; best human rights film; and best humans & nature film. Opre’s vision is to give a voice to rural indigenous communities around the world and their relationships with wildlife.

Today, he serves on the non-profit boards of African Children’s Schools and Shepherds of Wildlife Society™. He is the founder of the Shepherds of Wildlife Society, a 501,(c)(3), a non-profit with a mission to educate the broader public about the critical importance of modern day wildlife conservation and habitat stewardship and how they are intertwined with the human rights of rural communities. Opre lives in the Flathead Valley of Montana with is wife Olivia; a travel specialists and wildlife advocate, and their children.


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