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World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Living Oceans - Finalists Announced! from JHWFF CITES & UNDP
14 February 2019
Jackson Hole Wild, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the finalists of the World Wildlife Day 2019 Living Oceans Showcase, 3 weeks before World Wildlife Day (3 March). Final winners will be announced at U.N. Headquarters in New York at a high-level event on 1 March to celebrate World Wildlife Day 2019.
The ocean and “life below water” have sustained human civilization and development for millennia. Despite their importance for sustainable development, marine species are facing various threats and are in need of our immediate attention if we want to ensure that they can continue to fulfill that role during our lifetimes and for future generations. To emphasize the importance of this issue, Jackson Hole Wild, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP have come together once again to organize a film showcase for World Wildlife Day. This year, the theme “Life Below Water: For People and Planet” will spotlight threatened species, highlight the problems we are facing and the ideas we can use to tackle them.
The judges – professional filmmakers, marine biologists and stakeholders from around the world – chose the finalists from more than 235 entries in 6 categories:
People and Oceans
Ocean Issues and Solutions
The full list of finalists is indicated below. Both winners and finalist films will be subsequently showcased extensively to raise global awareness of the importance of marine species and the critical challenges they face at community screening events presented by partners throughout the world, including free educational screening events for students as well as for local communities around the world to take action to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “We are most grateful to all the filmmakers for submitting their wonderful works. By using the power of media, we can catalyze deeper understanding of the importance of life below water and the chances to ensure the sustainable use of marine species. CITES provides a safety net for our threatened marine life and it has a long history of regulating international trade in marine species to ensure that this trade does not threaten their survival. On this World Wildlife Day, let’s recognize the positive contributions that life below water makes to our everyday lives and – no matter who we are or where we are – make conscious decisions to ensure that it can continue to do so for generations to come.”
“We applaud the storytellers behind these visually beautiful and evocative films,” says Jackson Hole Wild Executive Director, Lisa Samford. “The power of media is certain to draw attention to the urgent threats facing the world’s ocean ecosystems and species and inspire action necessary to restore and protect them.”
World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Living Oceans Finalists are:
Alex Gregory - Emmy and Peabody award winning filmmaker Alex Gregory has died. He was 71 years old. He passed quietly at his home in Redondo Beach, CA on January 3, 2019. Cause of death was an apparent stroke in his sleep. Over the course of his long career Alex Gregory, was involved as executive producer, producer, associate producer, writer, and director of more than 200 hours of primetime television series’ and documentaries. Endowed with a sharp and ever questing mind, Alex made films on a broad range of subjects. Full Obituary.
Ralf Blasius - Our friend and colleague Ralf Blasius died unexpectedly on 9 January 2019 in Mainz. For many years, he played a crucial role in shaping ZDF's animal and nature programme as an editor and highly esteemed colleague and made successful documentaries such as "Armageddon" or "Tsunami - a wave moves the world" possible.
During this time he was a permanent emissary of the editorial staff at the MIP in Cannes, Jackson Hole or the Wildscreen Festival. He was a jury member at numerous international and German animal and nature film festivals. Full Obituary.
Join Wildeye's first course of 2019!
One of of our most popular wildlife film-making courses, the introductory weekend offers you your first insight into the world of wildlife film-making. From pre-production to delivery, we’ll guide you through the many stages of the process from your first idea, research, scripting, travel, filming, editing, delivering as well as importantly selling and distributing your completed film. More here...
Introduction to Wildlife Filmmaking ... Next dates are: 12th April - 14th April 2019
STROOP - journey into the rhino horn war … Members Susan Scott and Bonné de Bod on a mission to make a difference in the South African rhino poaching crisis. By Jason Peters via SDBFilms
27 January 2019
Two film-makers stop their lives to make a film about the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. Carving out six months for the project, the women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.
Two first-time film-makers explore the war for rhino horn. Initially setting out on a six-month project, the duo leave their jobs, sell their homes, even move in with their mothers while they quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.
In this roller-coaster ride between Africa and Asia, the women embed themselves on the front- lines of a species genocide where they are given exclusive access to the enforcement aspect of the fight. From rangers, pilots and K9 units patrolling the hardest hit national parks to elite police units raiding wildlife trafficking dens in major cities... they find themselves in some hair-raising situations.
They also take an uncomfortable look at the role that apartheid played in marginalizing indigenous people who have been excluded from their wildlife heritage but live side-by-side with ranger families while poaching syndicates operate in their villages. These bush frontier areas are also home to packed courtrooms where the surrounding community come out to support their local “Robin Hood”. Unprecedented access is given over the years to the state prosecutors working in these dingy courtrooms who must fight well-oiled and wealthy defense teams in a flawed justice system.
Survivors of rhino poaching, also challenge the system and come in two versions. Both are hard to spend time with, but this is done through the eyes of the saviours: the vets who choose not to euthanize but use groundbreaking techniques to give patients a second chance. Then there are those who have been orphaned after watching their mothers die at the hands of humans. And yet, they must accept the help of humans to live. One such human suffers a brutal attack when poachers return to the orphanage to kill the survivors.
At the demand site in Asia, the women venture deep undercover, filming in repressed, totalitarian regimes where every day means staying ahead of communist party monitors as well as enduring dangerous encounters with illegal wildlife dealers. On their return, they work with a Vietnamese researcher bravely trying to expose rhino horn sales inside African markets. Like the filmmakers in her hometown, she now takes great risks in their city to show that illegal trade is everywhere.
Desire for rhino horn is made all the more complex by the journey the filmmakers take to the countryside where ownership... of land and rhinos, is viewed as a right. Desperate to trade legally the farmers sue the government but on the other side of all of this is an activist’s journey to fight legal trade. She also takes it to the courtrooms and then on to the streets with protest marches. Internationally a red line of trade has been set-up by nations tussling with each other and the filmmakers wade right into this no-go area, spending time with the elite power-brokers who can change, for better or worse, the plight of the planet’s last living rhinos.
Award wins to date:
San Francisco Green Film Festival - The Green Tenacity Award
Santa Cruz Film Festival - Spirit of Action Feature Film Award
San Pedro International Film Festival - Best Documentary Award
Glendale International Film Festival - Best Female Filmmaker Award
LA Femme International Film Festival - Special Focus Documentary Award
San Diego International Film Festival - Best Documentary Award
Mystic Film Festival - Best International Documentary Award
Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam - Newcomer Award
Berlin Courage Film Festival - Best Documentary Award and The Courage Award for Most Courageous Film
Susan and Bonné have been mindfull of different events around the world focussing on rhinos:
September is World Rhino Month while World Rhino Day is on September 22nd.
The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference (#endwildlifecrime) was held in London on the 11th and 12th October 2018
CoP CITES 18 will be held in Sri Lanka in May 2019. It is here that the world will vote to allow legal international trade in rhino horn. STROOP focuses on the battle between both sides to sway voters at the next CoP.
South Africa has had a decline in rhino poaching numbers over the past two years and in January next year, the stats for 2018 will be released and it is expected that they will be lower. This may be due to fewer rhinos though as the Kruger census results are also delayed.
China recently lifted their 1993 ban on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), stating that rhino horn would be used as medicine in state hospitals. This TCM usage features heavily in STROOP, and after a week of public outcry the Chinese government announced they would postpone the lifting of the ban.
STROOP focuses on the usage of libation cups in Asia and the history behind the antique cups for sale at many prestigious auction houses around the world. Bonhams auction house in Hong Kong have now halted sales of rhino horn libation cups after public outrage.
In making this film about the rhino poaching crisis, I initially thought it would be all about the rhinos, but it’s actually become about the people around the animal. Those whose lives have been irrevocably changed because of conditions brought about... not ecological management or natural events... but wholly due to anthropogenic activities. So while the animal, the rhino, is the basis for the story, the structure of the film is interwoven between us - the filmmakers as well as the key characters who help us understand the gravity of the situation and how rhino poaching is impacting human lives. Gaining access to characters was almost impossible at the beginning of the shoot, as many feared that the criminal syndicates would watch the film. So the challenge was to film the story without giving anything away in terms of security. We have managed to do this through gaining trust over time with the characters, and not cluttering the narrative with the “how” but rather telling “how it impacts”. The characters not only gave us access to national parks, courtrooms, farms, orphanages and undercover traders in Asia, they also let their walls down to show their own personal journey in the war.
I do think the fact that we were women helped immensely! We were trusted easily and many times in filming in sensitive locations with nervous characters, it was just myself behind camera and then Bonné with the character/s. Bonné is well known as a credible wildlife presenter/ journalist in South Africa, so the two of us were able to get the intimate moments we needed to tell this never before seen story.
I took a decision early on not to have drones, big cameras, elaborate equipment... as I wanted a tight, close and rough handheld feel to our journey with these characters and it somehow works. We’ve managed to achieve it. By working with small, unobtrusive cameras, we have been able to capture incredible scenes filled with raw emotion.
I was an editor for nearly two decades, so I know that any film is made in the cutting room. While we are cutting the film, we are focusing on two initial things: subtitling and pacing of emotion. Subtitling is key as there are six languages in the film and some of the major emotional moments are driven in a non-English language. So rather than subtitling at the end, we are subtitling in edit to allow the pacing of reading to inform the narrative which impacts the shot flow. Vectors are vital in this process. This time spent in edit, creates comfortable vector flow not only within the frame, which is hugely influenced by where the eyes are in reading a shot... which means of course, there has to be a flow between frames. So this inter and intra-frame balance is vital in delivering all the information given in a comfortable way. In very difficult, tough to witness moments, we, the audience will view the scene through the eyes of the character through stylized moving art that has been created by our art director. I felt it was vital, as it allows us in to these awful moments without turning away from the brutality of it.
Coming from a broadcast background, it was important that Bonné and I make this film without commercial influence. STROOP has been self-funded, crowd-funded and grants sourced, due to the highly politicized trade issue. We have been offered funding for the film from organizations on either side of the issue and we have refused funding from those organizations as we cannot have the film influenced in any way. It’s taken four long years, but I know we have the soul, the essence of the rhino story here.
Q&A with Bonné de Bod
South African's and others know you as an award-winning television presenter Bonné, but what is your story!?
We all wish to leave the space we occupy in a better place and although it’s trite perhaps to say we can make a difference... I guess for me it was the ability to take my passion and love for the natural world and share this with people on-screen. Television and film has a huge impact on the world and we can use that to make people all over the world understand and appreciate the beauty of nature. Without looking into the eyes of a rhino or an elephant through the stories we tell and the pictures we show, a lot of people will not know what we are talking about and just would not care. And I don’t know why there has been a split recently between conservation and nature... it’s simple, without conservation, nature fails.
So yes, from a young age, I had a passion to bring nature’s wonders into living rooms, and hopefully change people’s perspective of the natural world. Nature is not separate from us, it is us. The dignity of a rhino is everywhere, in all things. All that society needs is a little reminder. As far as a pivotal event regarding rhinos, I mean we are all aware of the rhino poaching crisis and especially me as a wildlife television presenter on SABC for the past decade on the national broadcaster’s flagship environment program, 50/50. It was actually during one of these stories I did on the rhino poaching crisis, four years ago, when I realized that I needed to do something more.
We were filming a story in the Kruger National Park and we were taken to a double carcass. When we got the crime scene, the producer of the story told me to sit in between these two carcasses and deliver my lines to camera, a link, something that will link the viewers at home to the scene around me. At that moment I was confronted with so many emotions and questions... How can humanity be so unbelievably cruel? And how can we allow this? It was right there and then when I knew that I had to do something to slow the slaughter and the eradication of this beautiful, iconic animal. And that’s where the idea for a documentary feature film on the rhino poaching crisis was born. An independent film with no censorship or broadcast sensitivities, a publicly owned film where we can show all the aspects surrounding this very complex situation.
I believe the film has taken four years to make?
STROOP was initially a six month project, but I think when myself and the director of the film, Susan Scott, started filming we had no idea just how many layers the rhino situation really has. So, four years later, quitting our jobs with broadcasters, selling our homes, cashing in our investments and moving in with our mothers... well, it has certainly become that cliché... a passion project!
STROOP is an in-depth look at the world of rhino poaching and everything in between. From the battlegrounds in the Kruger National Park and Hluluwe iMfolozi in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the two hardest hit areas in South Africa, where we have been given unprecedented access to the rangers, forensic teams and crime scenes, to the dingy court rooms where we follow the work of three state prosecutors working against well-paid defence teams and a justice system that is slow at the best of times. We follow the police on busts and spend time with private rhino owners. We follow the journey of little orphans who have lost their mothers to poaching and the rehabilitators who try everything to get them back into the wild. We look at the controversial topic of legal trade in rhino horn and then we take the viewer straight to the dark underground backrooms of Vietnamese and Chinese smugglers and of course directly to the rhino horn users.
STROOP looks at the heart of the crisis and gives answers to the questions we all have. We are making this film so that no one can say they didn’t know. And I guess that’s why it took so long... we had to make sure we had covered it all. Susan always said, it doesn’t have to be in the film, but we have to know about it and understand the complexities... and then it can die on the cutting room floor. She is an editor after all, so she wants to have all the story intricacies at her fingertips before refining... but I did put my foot down when she wanted to film another aspect during our colour grade!
What has been the hardest thing?
I’ve had many ups and downs investigating this ‘world of greed’. The most difficult part is witnessing what we, as humans, are capable of. But I’m optimistic at heart. If I wasn’t I couldn’t continue. But having said that, it does get to one, I cannot hide that. I’ve attended the scenes of many murdered rhino, I’ve seen rhinos still alive with half hacked off faces...what unbelievable pain. It shocks you to your core to see that, to witness that, to hear that terrible sound of suffering. The cruelty is totally beyond anything I can think up. Pure evil and human greed. And I do sometimes wonder when, if ever, we will defeat it. But then I remember why I’m doing this, why I’m making this film. This is a creature of God. Such a beautiful creature... the second largest animal on land. We, as humans, have a moral responsibility to protect them, to protect all living species, it is simply the right thing to do. You step away from yourself, from the ego and selfishness that’s within us all...it’s not about us, it’s about them. And as soon as you do this, it becomes easier to deal with all the heartbreaking scenes we capture on camera.
Seeing a little orphan calf crying while standing next to his mother’s dead carcass, is probably the worst scene I’ve had to witness in this poaching war. My faith plays a big role in my life...it’s my rock, it’s what keeps me moving forward. And so many people won’t or don’t talk about their faith and I respect that but for me, I believe we are fighting spirits of darkness here. The poachers are using dark evil magic to go about their business. They have muti they put on their body so they think they go unnoticed by the anti-poaching units and rangers... they believe the rhinos can see them cutting off the horns so they cut their eyes out, they cut off tails and pieces of legs to make more muti. These poachers are calling on spirits of darkness to do their work, they kill, maim, break all sorts of laws, bribe, and let’s not forget they are quite prepared to kill humans as well as rhinos. The international criminal syndicates who the poachers report to are usually also involved in other massive criminal activities like human trafficking and arms smuggling. So these people are truly breaking our society for greed.
Your most memorable experience working with rhinos?
Without a doubt the dangerous undercover filming work we did in Asia. We knew that we couldn’t make a film about the rhino poaching crisis without capturing the demand for the very thing they are being slaughtered for... the horn, on camera. And I have to say that the massive demand for rhino horn really took me by surprise. Sure, we’ve all heard the Vietnamese and Chinese consume and acquire rhino horn but to actually see how it is used... and the mythical, powerful properties they give it... wow, quite something to see and film. The desire for rhino horn is huge and I met people who quite honestly told me that if they had the wealth to get it, they would. So all levels of wealth in South East Asia want rhino horn. Now of course filming in a communist country like Vietnam brings with it it’s own challenges as the communist party controls all forms of media. Vietnam is ranked 175th out of 180 countries with regards to freedom of information and is one of the biggest prisons for journalists and citizen bloggers in the world. So in order for us to capture the “illegal” side of things, well, we basically had to become illegal ourselves. Without giving too much away as I want you to watch STROOP when it’s released!... I think the fact that we came into the country as female tourists meant that we really did slip in undetected with all our filming gear. We saw and filmed rhino horn in all shapes and sizes. From off-cuts used in traditional medicine to jewelry worn as status symbols, to sitting in the home of a rhino horn user showing me how it’s done. I realized that in order to stop the demand in Asia, we have to stop the flow from the source site. It’s that simple. The demand will stop when there is no more source material and I just don’t want that to be when rhinos in the wild are extinct.
The biggest reward?
I have met amazing people on my journey and I’ve spent days on end with the people at the front- lines. There are people who deeply care and have given up their life of safety and comfort to save our rhinos. I’ve been working closely with three female state prosecutors who spend their days putting criminals behind bars. I would look over my shoulder every single day if I was them, but they don’t... they are fearless and I am in such awe of that determination. Rangers and their dogs tracking poachers days on end, not knowing if they will survive the day and see their family again. Vets who are suffering from severe stress because of the trauma they see on a daily basis and from being in armed conflict zones, but when the alarm goes off first thing in the morning to help these animals, they don’t hesitate to get there. These are the true heroes in this crisis, and showing their work to the world in a film is my biggest reward.
You say complex, talk through some of these complexities.
Well, I always say that some call the rhino poaching a crisis, some call it a war, and others even... a campaign. I call it a genocide. The word is defined as the ‘intent to destroy, in whole or in part’. and this applies to the mass slaughter of our rhinos. And if we do call it a genocide, we the people, will take it more seriously.
I have seen just how complex the rhino issue is. It is a multi-layered problem starting with an ancient mind-set of millions of people hundreds of kilometres across the ocean, who believe that rhino horn can cure disease and uplift status. On the ground in South Africa it begins with poverty as many poachers come from poor communities surrounding our national parks. As Kruger National Park is home to the most rhinos in the world, obviously it has the most number of poachers targeting rhinos, with an estimated 15 gangs of poachers in the park every day. As it borders Mozambique we do get Mozambican citizens crossing our border and into our parks, which brings unique but difficult diplomatic issues between countries. Our rangers are arresting and shooting back at poachers who enter into our park, and for Mozambicans this is not even over human beings but animals.
So it’s a contentious issue and I think we aren’t even aware of the cross-border talks going on in the background. Scam artists ‘fundraising’ for rhino protection who are putting the money into their own pockets. Private rhino owners have also told me that bureaucratic sluggishness has crept to an all-time high which affects them when they want to dehorn their rhinos for safety measures.... as well as the practice of selling their dehorning permit information to poachers looking for an easy target. Corruption has infiltrated throughout the system. Rhino poaching like other wildlife crime is deeply-rooted yet an ever-changing crime that takes advantage of the set, secretive structures put in place.
Wildlife crime as a whole has transformed into one of the world’s largest transnational organized criminal activities, alongside trafficking in drugs, arms, and human beings. Criminal groups are using the same routes and techniques for wildlife trafficking as for smuggling other illicit commodities, exploiting gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
These are serious crimes, driven by demand, facilitated by corruption, and linked to organized crime and militias in many countries, as well as terrorist networks. In Asia I met with representatives from the US government who are fully aware of illegal wildlife trafficking and the terror groups it funds. You may have heard the saying, “there is no silver bullet” and it’s true. There is no one solution that will save the species from extinction. A multi-pronged, multi- disciplined and a multi-agency approach is needed from government’s side, including transnational collaboration and cooperation. And then as for the individual...when people are serious about something and they come together, movements happen. The greatest victories in history didn’t happen because of governments but because of the people. The people made it happen.
We are all on social media, it’s free and really does get noticed by the decision makers. In fact, we’ve had magistrates and judges refuse filming in their courtrooms, but when we mail them our request, we include our crowdfunding and social media comments from people all over the world who want to see this film, and we get permission to film. How powerful is that?!
The public’s support of rhinos carries weight where you’d least expect it. On Facebook share, like and comment on posts that are important to you and of interest to you. Twitter is also a great place to directly target policy makers. And if you’re not on social media, use old fashioned mail, seriously! Someone, anonymously of course, told me that the Chinese embassy in Pretoria was embarrassed by all the mails they received with finger and toe-nail clippings, so they sponsored the rhino security at the nearest zoo. So write those letters, attend marches, any marches in your area with posters of rhinos, talk about the issue so it gets noticed! If you feel strongly about saving our rhinos, let your voice be heard. Ultimately this will I think, make the difference.
We certainly hope that it does.
Bonné de Bod - Talent: Self and Producer
Bonné is well known as an award winning wildlife television presenter. She has been on South Africa’s popular wildlife and environment programme 50|50 for seven seasons and is also a special correspondent for SABC's Newsroom. In addition, her series 'Rhino Blog' is on DSTV's People's Weather where it is currently ranked the most popular show.
Bonné also co-produced STROOP, a documentary feature film on the rhino poaching crisis. Winner of an ATKV Mediaveertjie, Bonné has also been awarded the prestigious Kudu Award for Best Journalist, which she won in recognition of her passionate, balanced reporting on wildlife conservation issues as well as keeping the public updated and informed about environmental issues in South Africa.
Her in-depth knowledge on the rhino poaching crisis from four years filming on the ground and doing undercover work in Asia has led to Bonné facilitating discussions on illegal wildlife trafficking for the United Nations Environmental Programme as well as talks on radio,
at film festivals and wildlife symposiums.
Susan Scott - Director, Producer, Cinematographer and Editor
Susan Scott is a film-maker in Johannesburg, South Africa where she produces stories on wildlife
issues for various broadcasters around the world. Prior to her directing work, she was a film editor for 17-years cutting for some of the best wildlife filmmakers on the planet.
Susan studied in the United States graduating from Baylor University with a degree in
Telecommunications. She won an editing apprenticeship in Washington DC with Tony Black
A.C.E. where she went on to edit with him for several years before heading back home to South
Awarded the prestigious acronym from the editors guild of South Africa, Susan has gone on to
win several awards for her work, among them 3 SAFTAs, a Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
award as well as winning at the SAB Environmentalist of the Year for her writing and photography.
She directed her first documentary feature film, STROOP - journey into the rhino horn war.
Runtime: 133 minutes
Languages: English as well as Afrikaans, Chinese, Shangaan, Vietnamese and Zulu with English subtitles.
Director: Susan Scott, SDBFilms. email@example.com +27 82 400 5525
Wildlife-film.com review: STROOP is a powerful film, expertly and beautifully put together. Bonné and Susan have created an holistic film that is so engaging and emotive, undoubtably because of their personal investment in the film, meaning it will undoubtably resonate with all who watch it, wherever they watch it. Out of respect for these courageous film-makers and their subjects, we think that everyone should watch the film and if they do it will surely help put an end to the poaching of rhino for their horns.
ECOSTREAMZ - the new streaming service for the ethically minded viewer, one year on. By Jason Peters via ECOSTREAMZ
1 February 2019
ECOSTREAMZ launched in February 2018 as a new digital streaming platform, similar to Netflix and Hulu, whose solitary goal is to provide easy access to important films and media dealing with environmental, social justice and wildlife conservation issues. In this day, when so much is happening at breakneck speed, it is now more critical than ever to be well informed. ECOSTREAMZ’ mission is to become THE media clearinghouse for the activist community to learn from, grow and come away being able to make a positive difference in this world.
One year on and the platform is going from strength to strength.
When it comes to environmental and human rights-themed factual content, ECOSTREAMZ is the quintessential source, if not at the forefront, catering to the wildlife conservationist, the environmentalist, the activist. An all-access streaming facilitator for must-watch documentaries to learn, grow, and contribute to our global sustenance.
ECOSTREAMZ is committed to keeping its viewers well fed by streaming content that covers wide-reaching topical subjects from activism, biodiversity, climate change and the environment, to social justice and human rights. It’s all there for any streaming subscriber who cares; the typical ECOSTREAMZ audience.
According to ECOSTREAMZ Founder and CEO, James Branchflower, “While we are living in a time with more available content, it comes however with more clutter and confusion than ever. Viewers seeking a subscriber-friendly, go-to source on a specific issue can now easily find important awareness raising documentaries of choice via our innovative streaming platform.”
ECOSTREAMZ sets new standard. As the proud host of critically acclaimed films, ECOSTREAMZ features stories that matter, touch the spirit, and make a difference. The top- ranked streaming provider is recognized as a one-stop clearinghouse offering must-see eco- social digital programming and other media. All part of its mission to awaken humanity with awe, wonder, and an innate potential to do more.
A prime example of doing more, and sharing in the ECOSTREAMZ vision, is Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace – who joined the streamer’s Advisory Board last Summer.
Subscribe. Learn. Act. ECOSTREAMZ’ groundbreaking wave of documentary storytelling further expands its playing field with distinguished streaming partners – some of the most renowned documentary and independent film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Subscribers can enjoy and benefit from many award-winning films shortly following their initial festival run. Some currently featured films enjoying high demand on ECOSTEAMZ include: “Blood Lions,” “God in Shackles,” “Tainted Love,” “Ofir: A Wildlife Crime Documentary,” and “Silencing the Thunder,” among a whole line-up of other must-watch highly praised films.
Participating partners further include: Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Animal Rights Film Festival, International Wildlife Film Festival, DC Environmental Film Festival, The Borneo Project, International Primate Protection League, and the Freeland Foundation, among others.
ECOSTREAMZ is a staunch advocate providing filmmakers the means to get their projects out to the public. “These passionate auteurs have important messages to convey, whether inspirational or cautionary, about our world,” states Branchflower. “We are there to help promote and distribute their films to the widest possible audience.”
Partnerships – We’re not just a collection of movies. If you browse our site, you will notice we are aligning ourselves with organizations all over the globe covering a wide variety of issues. Through these partnerships, we provide organizations a wider audience by hosting their videos on our platform which can ultimately translate into more donors for the non-profit. Additionally, we promote our partners in newsletters and all appropriate press material. Organizations even have the opportunity to receive quarterly royalties based upon viewership of their videos during the prior period, see below. Some of our current partners include: International Primate Protection League, Ape Alliance, Gorilla Foundation, ALERT, CAPE (Center for Animal Protection and Education), SYRCL (South Yuba River Citizen’s League), the Borneo Project, In Defense of Animals, WildAid and most recently IISD (the environmental reporting service for the United Nations).
Revenue Share – We give back. In fact, we give back more than most streaming services….80% of net revenue goes directly back to the filmmakers and/or organizations through a quarterly revenue share of films and media viewed during that period. Most streaming services only offer royalty percentages of between 25% and 50% net.
Member discounts – We offer our partner’s members discounts on subscriptions to ECOSTREAMZ. Anywhere from 25% to 50% off the already low monthly subscription rate of $3.99.
Singular Focus – Our only concern is making the world a better place. We are accomplishing this by presenting the most diverse collection of issue-related content anywhere. For that reason, our platform contains films both short and long and from all parts of the world. Some have received awards and some may be well known. But most you will never see anyplace else but on our site. This is due to the fact that we do not acquire films based on their popularity, but rather, on what they can offer the world in terms of a change message.
If you are interested in having ECOSTREAMZ host your films or if you wish to become a sponsoring organization, please contact Founder and CEO, James Branchflower, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Mustill's Humpback Whales - A Detective Story By Jason Peters
31 January 2019
Wildlife film-maker Tom Mustill was almost killed by a Humpback Whale while kayaking in California. Now he turns detective to try to find the whale and discover what it was doing.
On the 12th of September 2015 in Monterey Bay California, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and his friend Charlotte Kinloch as they paddled a sea kayak. Incredibly, both survived the incident. This near-death experience haunted documen- tary maker Tom, and left him wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them.
To find the answer, in 2018 Tom returned to California to investigate. He meets those who’ve survived similar hair-raising encounters, and the experts who know the whales best – and what he discovers raises far bigger questions - not just about what happened that day but also about our relationship with whales and their future alongside us.
In 2015, Tom Mustill was kayaking in Monterey Bay with his friend Charlotte Kinloch when a 30-ton Humpback Whale leapt out of the water and landed on top of them, dragging them underwater.
They somehow survived. Their near-death experience was filmed by a tourist and the video went viral, making headlines across the world.
The story might have ended there, but Tom is a wildlife film-maker - his job is to film science and animal stories – and he became obsessed with trying to figure out what happened to him. Now Tom returns to California on a detective mission to figure out who the whale was, and why it almost ended his life.
The film takes place in Monterey Bay, California. This is one of the global epicentres of whale-watching and whale research. The coast used to be a centre for whaling activities, but now whale populations have been increasing.
Running through Monterey Bay is a huge underwater canyon, on the scale of the Grand Can- yon - this canyon runs right to the shore. Here, there is an enormous and rich food chain, from algae to sharks to enormous schools of fish and jellyfish to sea otters to whales. The bay is so rich in marine life it is known as the Blue Serengeti.
But humans use these waters too, container ships drive across it, fishermen fish in it and tourists are drawn in their tens of thousands. Sometimes the lives of the whales and the humans collide. But the opportunity to see whales in such reliable numbers has meant sci- entists have been making extraordinary discoveries about the whales here too.
Tom is a 35 year-old wildlife and science filmmaker. He specialises in telling stories about where humans and the natural world meet. He’s worked with David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and wildlife heroes across the world.
His films have won over 20 awards and they include other BBC Natural World programmes such as smash-hit Kangaroo Dundee, The Bat Man of Mexico and Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants which was nominated for an EMMY.
Before then he directed the special episodes among others of the genre-busting BAFTA, RTS and Broadcast-award winning series Inside Nature’s Giants.
We asked Tom a couple of questions:
In your bio it says that you "specialise in telling stories about where humans and the natural world meet” … How important to you is the human element in natural history story-telling?
The human element is the most important for me in natural history story-telling. Without it how can we feel part of the same world, and feel connected to nature rather than just spectators of it? As well as showing the world as it is - a tangle of humans and other living things - I think it's very important to show humans who have an intimate connection to it themselves. By telling stories about nature that follow people I hope that I can connect wider and more diverse audiences to these stories and animals. And I think that these stories can be moving and powerful wildlife films, without having to anthropomorphise or make soap operas of animals lives.
So far it’s been kangaroos, bats and giraffes … very different species conservation stories, with equally different humans. How will you go about finding your next filming subject … Does it usually start with the animal, as surely it did with the whale, or can it start with the human?
With all of these stories it started with the human. Natural Worlds are an hour long, sometimes it's not enough to just have an animal people are excited to watch - you also need an engaging and sympathetic character, and you need to follow them while something unusual and challenging is happening. When I met Brolga (Kangaroo Dundee), Rodrigo (The Bat Man) and Julian (Giraffes: Africa's Gentle Giants) in each case I thought 'fantastic! the elements are there'. It's also really important to get on well with the people you decide to pitch films about - you're going to be spending a lot of time together. I've learnt a great deal from the humans in all these films, as well as from being around the marvellous animals. With the whale film it was definitely different - the whale chose me! But again, the story hinged on people. With this film rather than having a single protagonist I wanted to try and make a film about a community - like Robert Altman often did in his feature films, and I wanted to link them together with the whales they so love.
The theme is Climate Change. Yes, it’s a vast, unwieldy topic that already has everyone rolling their eyes, so we are challenging you to produce a short (less than three minutes), humorous video that will be seen on YouTube and at the DC Environmental Film Festival on March 21st. Help engage audiences in climate change! The contest is open to anyone worldwide who has a flair for producing videos.
There are four categories: K-8, High School, College/University, and Nonstudent.
$2,000 in prizes! DEADLINE: February 20th
This year, we have two guest finalist judges: comedian Bethany Hall who is currently a comedian-in-residence at the AU/SOC Center for Media and Social Impact, and her husband Keith Haskal, a producer of Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”.
To see previous winners, go to the Center for Environmental Filmmaking website: www.environmentalfilm.org (Special Programs).
Speed-Pitching Your Video Production Project:
Sunday, February 17, 2019: 1:30 – 3:00 PM & 3:30 – 5:00 PM
Here is your chance to present your science story ideas--one-on-one--to some of the most sought-after production executives from around the globe, including National Geographic, Science Channel, CuriosityStream, Blue Ant Media, NOVA/WGBH, HHMI/Tangled Bank Studios, Science Sandbox/Simons Foundation, as well a few seasoned indie producers.
Contact Lisa@jhfestival.org if you are interested in fielding pitches from the scientists, journalists and research organizations in attendance.
UN World Wildlife Day Showcase:
Preliminary judging is underway with more than 60 judges screening and evaluating 225+ film entries.
Finalists will be announced in the first week of February, with winners announced during the World Wildlife Day Celebration at UN Headquarters in New York on March 1. Films will be showcased globally in free screening events with local partners--please contact Melanie@JHFestival.org for more details!
To mark our tenth anniversary and help raise awareness about our coast; its incredible biodiversity and the threats it is facing we have expanded the Coast and Marine category to include British and Irish Coastlines within four separate categories and prizes for; Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.
The film is based on the idea of showing how wildlife can thrive in the most unlikely corners of the UK, specifically industrial areas. I grew up in North Yorkshire only a stones throw from Teesside, one of the UK's largest industrial complexes. Teesside is unique in its volume of "waste-ground" and abandoned areas between the large factories, the closure of steel & chemical works is a loss to local people but a gain for the areas wildlife. More here ...
Highlights of all the Winning and Commended films of 2018:
David Attenborough and HRH The Duke of Cambridge in conversation
Watch the full conversation between Sir David Attenborough and HRH The Duke of Cambridge at WEF19 in Davos, Switzerland. Speaking about the upcoming series, Our Planet, the urgent environmental challenges we face and the need for global business and political leaders to get behind a new, global deal for nature.
In 2019, we call on our international community to STAND UP FOR SCIENCE!
At a time when fake news is on the rise, high quality scientific reporting has never been more essential. Join the conversation and demonstrate your commitment to clear, unbiased, independent and innovative science storytelling.
DOCUMENTARY NEEDS EUROPE!
This year’s focus on Germany, one the main hubs for European documentary production, in association with German Films, will surely foster new partnerships with German talents, broadcasters, digital players and facilitate international co-productions across Europe.
Sunny Side of the Doc continues to refine and reshape marketplace opportunities for both specialist factual content and digital mediation. It provides a unique platform for discovering new stories and exploring innovative narrative experiences that inspire audiences.
Register and submit a doucmentary project by April 19 to get a chance to pitch to the world's leading decision makers, buyers and commissioners from major broadcasters and digital platforms. www.sunnysideofthedoc.com/call-for-projects
From 11 to 14 July 2019, Ludwigsburg will play host to the 18th International NaturVision Film Festival, one of the prime events for the industry. With our international film competition, each year we showcase the latest films around nature, wildlife and the environment, honouring the best among them with prestigious awards. Over the four days of the festival, we offer filmmakers, directors and production companies a professional platform for presenting their films to both industry visitors and a wider public. Come and be a part of it!
We welcome films that were completed after 1 January 2018. These can now be submitted for the following film categories: Competition categories
Please register your films via our website: Film registration. The closing date for entries is 25 February 2019.
This year is that we are waiving the submission fee for the category "NaturVision Newcomer Award" (on production of a training certificate).
Our Short Film Award – supported by Audi’s environmental foundation Audi Stiftung für Umwelt GmbH – is back for the second year running, this time with the theme "Recycle, not ruin – Nature leads the way". The category invites films that deal with the concept of "cradle to cradle". Potential topics range from recycling, upcycling, the sharing economy and forward-thinking product development, right through to C2C in architecture and urban planning. Of course we also welcome animated films, wild visions and fun ideas! The award is open to both professional and amateur filmmakers over 18 years of age with films up to 30 minutes long. Films submitted for the Short Film category can also have a completion date before 1 January 2018. The award carries a prize of €5,000!
IWFF LABS is open and accepting applications till February 15th
IWFF was founded to showcase ethical wildlife media and to foster a sense of community around wildlife filmmaking. We aim to facilitate dialogue between scientists, filmmakers and the general public. IWFF LABS is for filmmakers and scientists to advance ideas, tools and working methods that will address pressing environmental, wildlife and conservation issues through media.
Ideal IWFF LABS applicants may be but are not limited to:
Scientists, researchers, and managers working in the natural sciences, especially with a focus on ecology, biology, wildlife science, or conservation, who have an interest in using visual media to expand their science communication skills. Filmmaking students or emerging filmmakers, journalists or other media makers interested in deepening their science communication skills and advancing their wildlife filmmaking careers.
Prior filmmaking experience is not required but some experience with visual media is a plus.
IWFF LABS 2019 begins FRIDAY, APRIL 12 and culminates in the LABS films screening at the IWFF Awards Ceremony on FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2019. Fellows must be available for the entire range of dates.
IWFF LABS will accept 16 Fellows into this highly competitive program.
IWFF LABS is tuition-free, lodging and two meals a day are provided. Additional food and travel costs will be the responsibility of the Fellow.
During this week-long intensive workshop, IWFF LABS Program Leader Colin Ruggiero facilitates lectures, discussions and hands-on workshops that will feature professional wildlife filmmakers who act as mentors in their areas of expertise (production, editing, pitching, etc.). Colin Ruggiero’s multi-faceted experience as a teacher and a filmmaker ensures that LABS students will walk away with new-found knowledge, skills, and confidence as science communicators and visual storytellers. Mentoring from a diverse group of professional filmmakers, as well as the LABS program’s close integration with the festival, gives fellows the opportunity to cultivate long-term relationships within the industry.
During the week, fellows also create a ready-to-launch, polished mini-documentary with a local conservation organization or scientific research team. The films will premiere at the IWFF Awards Ceremony. In past years, IWFF LABS films have been selected for the National Geographic Short Film Showcase and won awards at film festivals across the world.
IWFF 2019 LABS Mentors include out-of-the box storytellers and thinkers and will be announced shortly. Past Mentors have included representatives from BBC (Neil Nightingale), NATURE, bioGraphic, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New West Studios, and Grizzly Creek Films.
27th Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital ... March 14 - 24, 2019
On Thursday, March 14, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital returns for another eleven days of screenings throughout the D.C. metro area. Screenings will take place at over 25 venues, including Smithsonian museums, E Street Cinema, Carnegie Institution for Science and more!
In addition, we are proud to announce that National Geographic --- a longtime supporter of the Festival --- will be a 2019 presenting sponsor and will serve as the Main Stage this year.
Together, we will bring you films and important voices on today's most pressing environmental issues. We hope you will join us.
Tickets for select programs at National Geographic go on sale MONDAY through our website.
Tickets to all other programs will be available to make reservations for or to purchase in the coming weeks. A full list of 2019 sponsors will also soon be available. Visit: dceff.org
Despite Borneo being home to up to 21 different primate species, there is one that stands head, nose and shoulders above the rest... the famous proboscis monkey. Alex joins primatologist Maz on a mission to spot the world's weirdest looking monkey.
In the second part of our journey to Bahia de los Ángeles, we will discover more about the ecology and distribution on the whale shark, as well as the impact this noble giant has had on the local population. Meet experts in the field, from scientist Dr. Abraham Vazquez, to tourist service providers and park rangers. To watch the first part of our documentary, click here: youtu.be/QTuR8vyWlcM
As Durrell Wildlife head into their 60th anniversary year feeling optimistic and excited for what 2019 will bring, they share with us their new animated film, 'Conservation Works', a new animation narrated by Alexander Armstrong...
Best job ever? Dunedin film crew gets to spend its days filming orangutans
Cameraman Alex Hubert got his first job in New Zealand thanks to his ability to climb high and perch on precarious ledges and branches.
It's a skill that's served him well.
The former news shooter moved to the South Island just over 20 years ago, from England. By the sound of it, his move was going to bring a quieter life. Instead, he's been sent on assignments to live among orangutans for months at a time. Hubert is part of a small team of filmmakers from Natural History New Zealand who have made it their mission to tell the stories of Indonesia's orphaned orangutans.
Hannah is an accomplished zoologist, digital wizard and wildlife filmmaker with a love for creative natural history storytelling. She currently presents for BBC Earth Unplugged and has recently produced and presented this two-part series entitled WildCities:
Introducing Veganuary's latest ambassador: Chris Packham!
Veganuary says "We are both elated and proud to announce Chris Packham as our latest ambassador!"
There was much excitement to be had when we received the news that renowned wildlife campaigner, photographer, presenter, writer and conservationist Chris Packham would be adopting a vegan diet for January! Chris’s incredible career working alongside wildlife from a young age, together with his remarkable broadcasting skills and passionate conservation work, both charitable and professional, make Chris well suited to his ambassador role for Veganuary.
Chris also became Compassion in World Farming's patron last month: ciwf.org.uk/news/2019/01/chris-packham-joins-teamcompassion Philip Lymbery said: For the love of all nature ... On the day the highly respected naturalist and broadcaster, Chris Packham has been announced as the latest patron to join Compassion in World Farming, here’s an article based on my meeting with Chris last Autumn. The Big Table podcast arising from the meeting can also be downloaded here.
There are lots of reasons people go vegan; sometimes they don't like meat or killing animals, others do it for health reasons but more and more are ditching meat because of climate change.
Veganism has become really popular in recent years. Veganuary - where people go vegan for a month - is now an annual event while plenty of people are getting angry about it - particularly vegan sausage rolls.
What's certain is that veganism is now a mainstream diet and is here to stay. But the amount of meat we eat globally is going up, which is having an increasing impact on the environment.
So do we all need to go vegan and will it actually help prevent climate change?
Luke Dell – a fully licensed, insured and CAA approved drone pilot based in West Midlands, UK.
Luke has a passion for all things natural, wildlife, landscapes and travel. He says "My number one goal is to see my name or company name in the credits of a Wildlife film."
Andrew Strong – an aspiring wildlife filmmaker who recently graduated with a Film Production degree, skilled in all aspects of production but will throw himself at any challenge or role with great enthusiasm... Looking for any opportunity to get involved in wildlife and film!
Since the late 1990s Wildlife-film.com has been the leading source of information for the wildlife filmmaking industry worldwide. For over eighteen years the site has been Google's number one ranking site for 'wildlife film' and related searches. Our site is viewed in over 185 countries. Our newsletter, Wildlife Film News, is read every month by thousands of people involved in wildlife filmmaking - from broadcasters and producers, to cameramen - we encourage readers to submit their news. We also serve as an online resource for industry professionals and services. Find producers, editors, presenters and more in our Freelancer section, and find out about festivals, training and conservation in Organisations. We encourage amateur and professional freelancers to join our network and welcome all wildlife-film related organisations to join our team.
Disclaimer: Wildlife-film.com publishes information and opinions as a service to its members and visitors/readers.
The producer does not recommend or endorse any particular method, institution, product, treatment, or theory.
Opinions expressed on Wildlife-film.com are not necessarily those of the producer.
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