Award-winning filmmaker killed by giraffe in South Africa

NORTH WEST PROVINCE, South Africa — An award-winning South African filmmaker has died after an encounter with a giraffe while filming at a safari lodge.

Carlos Carvalho, 47, was killed when a bull giraffe head-butted him at the Glen Africa Country Lodge on Wednesday night, the Telegraph reported. Carvalho was flown from the location by helicopter to a hospital in Johannesburg, where he died of his injuries.

The production company, CallaCrew, announced Carvalho’s death in a post on Facebook.

“When Carlos was standing in front of the giraffe, the animal spread its legs, bent its neck and swung its head at Carlos,” Richard Brooker, whose family owns the lodge, told the Telegraph. The giraffe is an inhabitant of the area known to locals as Gerald.

“Gerald will remain at the lodge. He did nothing wrong,” Brooker added.

Drikus Van Der Merwe, a member of the film crew, was standing next to Carvalho when the giraffe struck.

“He started chasing the boom swinger who joined our unit,” Van Der Merwe said. “The giraffe followed him but we didn’t feel threatened because he just seemed to be inquisitive. We started shooting close-ups of its body and its feet. Then while Carlos was looking through the camera eyepiece, Gerald swung his neck and hit him against his head.

“It came out of nowhere and Carlos didn’t even see it coming. He wasn’t aware of the danger,” he added. “I could see he was unconscious. … I knew he had a severe head trauma. But I never thought he would die.”

Carvalho, a father of two, began working in the film industry in 1992. He won a Silver Lion at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003. In 2014, he won the Heskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography at the Woodstock Film Festival  Maverick Awards Gala for his work on “The Forgotten Kingdom.”