South African film-maker, 47, killed after giraffe head-butts him during filming

Award-winning South African cinematographer Carlos Carvalho was head-butted by the giraffe at a safari lodge while shooting a feature film. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/AARON BANNISTER, CARLOS CARVALHO

Award-winning South African cinematographer Carlos Carvalho has died after he was hit by a giraffe during filming last Wednesday (May 2).

The 47-year-old film-maker, who was shooting a feature film, was head-butted by the giraffe at a safari lodge.

According to British media reports, the bull giraffe named Gerald swung his head at Mr Carvalho at the Glen Afric Country Lodge in North West province, South Africa.

The injury rendered Mr Carvalho unconscious and he was flown to a hospital in Johannesburg by helicopter, where he later died, reported the Telegraph on Saturday.

Mr Drikus Van Der Merwe, a member of the film crew, was standing next to Mr Carvalho when the giraffe started chasing the boom swinger - a member of the film crew who holds the microphone on a pole.

"The giraffe followed him but we didn't feel threatened because he just seemed to be inquisitive," Mr Van Der Merwe was quoted as saying in the Telegraph.

He added that the crew was shooting close-ups of the animal's body and feet, and that Mr Carvalho was looking through the camera eyepiece when the giraffe suddenly swung his neck and hit Mr Carvalho's head.

"It came out of nowhere and Carlos didn't even see it coming. He wasn't aware of the danger," he said.

Mr Van Der Merwe said he "never thought he (Mr Carlos) would die".

The owner of the safari lodge, Mr Richard Brooker, said the film-maker was standing in front of the giraffe when the animal spread his legs, bent his neck and swung his head at the man.

Mr Brooker added that the giraffe "did nothing wrong" and will remain at the lodge.

Mr Carvalho was the director of photography for the 2013 feature film The Forgotten Kingdom, which won the the Haskell Wexler Award for best cinematography at the Woodstock Film Festival.

His work in the film also won him an award at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2014.

According to the Telegraph, writer and director of The Forgotten Kingdom Andrew Mudge wrote on Facebook that he was "absolutely gutted" about Mr Carvalho's death.

He said the film-maker was "one of the kindest, most thoughtful and talented" people he had ever worked with.

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