Two-time Oscar winner Swank endorses controversial doc
Count actress Hilary Swank among the admirers of Orlando von Einsiedel's documentary "Virunga." The double Academy Award-winner (Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby) tweeted she was "deeply moved" by the film, which focuses on threats to Congo's Virunga National Park, home to the last of the world's mountain gorillas.
Her carefully-worded statement, clocking in at 139 characters, praises those who risk their lives to protect the gorillas, while making only an implicit reference to the disturbing politics at play in Congo. Von Einsiedel pulls no punches in his film, blaming the British oil company SOCO International for pursuing oil exploration in the park at the expense of the gorillas' habitat. SOCO has denied wrongdoing alleged in the film. It says an internal company review found no evidence of misconduct; the company hired an outside firm to investigate its practices in Congo, but no findings have been released.
Virunga, which is now streaming on Netflix, earned an Oscar nomination earlier in the year (the trophy went to Laura Poitras' citizenfour). To judge from Twitter reaction, Swank is not the only viewer to be moved by Virunga.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.