category Humans vs. Nature


English, French, Swahili


Romanian, English




The setting of the story is the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of Congo and one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. The park is home to many of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. The discovery of oil beneath Lake Edward is followed by the arrival of British petroleum company SOCO International, although drilling in the park is illegal. That unleashes multiple forces with conflicting agendas relative to the fate of the park: from SOCO’s contractors, some of whom are former mercenaries, to poachers, who kill elephants and gorillas, to rebel military forces, who want a slice from any mining profits, and to the heroic rangers determined to protect the gorillas. Von Einsiedel’s remarkable documentary flows like an action thriller while having the urgency and intensity of an activist piece, albeit a sui generis one. It draws attention to the circle of political and economic volatility that is gradually narrowing around the park, which adds to Congo’s brutal history of violence and colonialism. And yet, the world polarized between gorillas and oil from Virunga is just one critical example from a wider pool of injustices that happen today in other places where vulnerable societies exist in resource-rich environments.

The documentary has been "adopted" by WWF Romania.


2015 - Academy Awards, USA, Nomination for Best Documentary

2015 - Independent Spirit Awards, USA, Nomination for Best Documentary

2015 - BAFTA Awards, UK, Nomination for Best Documentary

2015 - Cinema Eye Honors Awards, USA, Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

2015 - Director’s Guild of America Awards, USA, Nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary

2015 - Producer’s Guild of America Awards, USA, Nominated for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures

2014 - Hamptons International Film Festival, USA, Award for Social Justice and Voice of the Voiceless Award

2014 - CPH:DOX, Denmark, F:ACT Award Honorable Mention

2014 - Camden International Film Festival, USA, Best Documentary Feature

2014 - DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Canada, Best Feature Documentary

2014 - Cinemambiente, Italy, Best International Documentary and Student Jury Award

2014 - Filmambiente, Brazil, People's Choice Award andSpecial Jury Prize

2014 - GreenFilmFest, Argentina, Audience Award

2014 - Abu Dhabi Film Festival, United Arab Emirates, Black Pearl Award

2014 - Hot Docs, Canada, Emerging International Filmmaker Award

2014 - Tribeca Film Festival, USA