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Jonny Keeling named BBCS Natural History Unit head
BBC Studios Productions has tapped Jonny Keeling as head of the Natural History Unit.
He takes over from outgoing head Julian Hector, who leaves after a five-year stint that saw the Bristol-based production house produce shows including Blue Planet II, Dynasties and the forthcoming The Green Planet for the BBC as well as its first original commissions for international broadcasters.
Reporting to Tom McDonald, BBC Studios’ MD of factual, Keeling assumes the role in December, and will be responsible for all of the NHU’s creative and commercial activity.
He is tasked with further developing the NHU’s presence in North America via NHU LA, and will play a leading role in the unit’s move to its new Bristol premises.
Keeling’s credits as producer, series producer and executive producer include such landmark series as Planet Earth, Planet Earth II and Seven Worlds, One Planet.
As former head of NHU Children’s, he executive produced Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and Deadly Pole to Pole and developed and delivered projects across a wide range of genres including animation, comedy and drama.
The NHU’s recent commissions include Frozen Planet II and Chris & Megs’ Wild Summer, both for the BBC, as well as Apple’s The Year Earth Changed, National Geographic’s Ocean Xplorers, Endangered for Discovery and The Americas for NBCU.
McDonald said in a statement: “Jonny is one of the best blue chip Natural History executives in the industry – and has a depth of experience not just in landmark programming but in a huge variety of tones and forms. As well as being passionate about the quality of the NHU’s programming, he’s a brilliant leader: ambitious and inspiring, and I cannot wait to work with him to continue the NHU’s incredible growth.
Keeling added: “My ambition is simple – to produce high-quality content that’s original, ambitious and compelling and to ensure that the NHU remains the most respected maker of wildlife programming in the world.”
The 2021 Jackson Wild Summit to be Live-streamed ... Now an exclusively virtual event to be held from Monday-Thursday, Sept 27-30 2021
It is with heavy hearts that we share with you that this year’s Jackson Wild Summit will be shifting to virtual, due to the resurgence of COVID-19, with sessions from the Center stage live-streamed to a virtual audience. This action is being taken in the interests of your safety and well-being and that of our staff, volunteers and the entire global Jackson Wild community. But, there is still much to talk about—and so much to do as we accelerate new perspectives and new storytelling strategies to engage new audiences to connect with our planet and each other as we engage a broader and more inclusive global audience than ever before.
Knowing that no one has the stamina and time for more than a few hours of online convening, we will present a tight and incredible lineup of compelling live sessions and networking events for three hours Monday Sept 27-Wednesday, Sept 29 culminating in the Jackson Wild Awards Celebration on Thursday, Sept 30.
Sessions will be hosted live and in-person from the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts stage with a limited number of Fellows, Mentors, Speakers, Staff, Volunteers and VIPs in attendance. All other Summit registrants will attend virtually. Of course, everyone will have full access to the amazing finalist films, as well a collection of dynamic on-demand sessions!
We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience if you have made travel or lodging plans, and now have to undo them. If you end up having any nonrefundable fees that put you in any sort of hardship, please email email@example.com we can work with you to see what we can help cover.
If you are interested in being a live audience member for those sessions we will be streaming live from the Center for the Arts stage, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pass options & prices:
VIRTUAL SUMMIT PASS: $120 ... for a 20% discount to the Summit use this code: Virtual20
Your full virtual pass will give you access to on-demand sessions and films, as well as all live streamed and online programming during the 2021 Jackson Wild Summit. In addition, you will receive access to the Virtual Delegate Lounge throughout the week of the Summit.
We have been blessed by your patience, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It's been a long five years, but time we truly think will have been worth the wait. At the start of this project, we could not have fathomed it would have taken this long with countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to get us to the finish line. But we are there!
We are so excited to finally announce that we are launching our advertising campaign before the film's release this September!
We would also love to announce that we have the incredibly talented Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet narrating the film. Having her voice will make this Cinematic Feature Documentary truly global, and certainly help spread the message of our Planet's climate crisis. Kate has been an immense help on the film and really got behind it and us, and in doing so has become an Executive Producer. We have also been working closely with James Wilks, Joseph Pace, and Susan Vitka, the Producers from The Game Changers Feature Documentary. They have also come on board as Executive Producers.
We've had one very large driving force to keep our team dedicated to keeping us moving forwards, and that is the reality of the vast devastation animal agriculture is having upon our Planet, and we knew 'the time we have on this planet, is ticking.'
We've had quite the adventure making this film and many a tale to tell, from being shot at by cattle farmers in the US…. to being chased out of the depths of the rainforest by Paramilitary.
We are hosting our World Premiere on the 8th of September at the famous Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square. We'd love to have you all there, but sadly with Covid, we've been given a very limited number of seats and having to prioritise these for cast, crew and press.
Our timing couldn't be more perfect with the release of this film, after this year's ever-increasing events of natural disasters, Covid and COP 26 in November. So any help with you all getting behind this project for Planet Earth, we will be truly grateful for.
For thousands of years the Dayak people of the island of Borneo have cultivated their land based on their traditional beliefs. They have developed cultivation techniques, such as rotating from one field to another, leaving some fields for years to regain their fertility, and when the time comes, clearing by burning them so they can be cultivated again.
But now the situation has changed. Dayak farmers are being arrested for performing this cultural tradition, citing that they cause forest fires and haze pollution, whilst big corporations that have been suspects in these cases continue business as usual.
albert has it's 10th birthday this August, and they've got plenty to shout about by way of celebration..
albert began life at the BBC and was officially launched at the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2011. Initially just a carbon calculator, it's now grown into an international project with several initiatives that focus on the positive environmental impact the TV and Film industry can have on and off screen.
"We wouldn't be where we are today without you folks, who are reading this email and who make up our wonderful community. Whether you've recently joined or are one of the old guard, here's to continuing to save our planet."
New Wildscreen Event Announcement: Communicating COP26
Wildscreen are producing a one-day hybrid event in November interpreting the key messages of COP26 and providing a toolkit for storytellers to communicate climate science.
The advisory Committee is formed of experts in their field representing IUCN, Studio Silverback, FF:W, Whitley Fund for Nature, If Not Us Then Who?, WWF UK, Sea Change Project and Re:Wild.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker Craig Foster will open the event and subsequent panels will feature Ray Dhirani, Head of Sustainable Finance at WWF, and Colin Butfield, Executive Director at Studio Silverback.
Early Bird tickets will be available until 31 Aug. Concession Passes are also available and an Online Pass will be available from 1 Sept.
New six-part series Chris & Meg’s Wild Summer announced by BBC Studios Natural History Unit
"Megs and I have always been up for an adventure, some great wildlife and an ice-cream, so this sometimes hectic, always eclectic and wholly electric trip around our great-green backyard was bound to be a winner."— Chris Packham, Chris & Meg’s Wild Summer
BBC Studios Natural History Unit today (18 August 2021) announced its new series Chris & Meg’s Wild Summer.
Premiering on BBC Two and iPlayer on Sunday 29 August at 20:30, this 6x30’ series will see Chris Packham and his step-daughter Megan McCubbin embark on an epic summer roadtrip across the country with one mission in mind: amazing wildlife encounters.
Having been introduced to our screens during Springwatch at the height of lockdown, Megan became a much-loved new addition to the show with the pair becoming audiences’ new favourite odd couple. Growing up with her stepfather, Megan learnt to share his passion for the natural world from a young age inspiring her to become a naturalist herself. The roadtrip will prove to be the perfect chance to reminisce about the wildlife encounters they shared when Megan was young.
After living through lockdown together, the duo set off in their electric campervan going across the UK to travel through some of the country’s last untouched wildernesses, journeying through the untamed beauty of Wales, the North of England and Scotland.
As they explore these awe-inspiring landscapes, Chris and Megan will encounter puffins in Pembrokeshire, red kites and sand lizards in Snowdonia, swim with grey seals in Northumberland, and hope for a rare glimpse of orcas in the Western Isles. Along the way, the duo reflect on what these places mean to them and the need for conservation in these dwindling wild spaces that continue to face rapid change and increasing danger.
As two generations travel and spend time together, their journey becomes an exploration of not just our changing natural world and our place in it, but of their own stepfather-daughter relationship. Across the six episodes, Chris and Megan will explore the stunning natural beauty and wildlife of South West Wales, Snowdonia, the Lake District, Northumberland, the Cairngorms and the Western Isles.
With more people spending their summers in the UK than ever before, Chris & Meg’s Wild Summer brings a timely exploration of the natural wonders that the UK has to offer and the abundant native wildlife right on our doorstep.
Chris Packham said: “The UK is a remarkable place to find wildlife and it’s only a weekend away! Megs and I have always been up for an adventure, some great wildlife and an ice-cream, so this sometimes hectic, always eclectic and wholly electric trip around our great-green backyard was bound to be a winner. We go, we see, we eat vegan sarnies and we savour the best of the UK’s wild spots and wildlife. Throw in some punk rock, vintage summer wear and the binoculars and you’ve got a road trip with a recipe for success!”.
Megan McCubbin said: “I am so excited to share this series with viewers - it’s a 'wild summer' with a difference! With wildlife at its heart, Chris and I travel the length of the UK exploring its natural and cultural wonders and discuss important topics that make us who we are. Everything from modern families, neurodiversity and the health of our environment”.
Rosemary Edwards, Executive Producer, BBC Studios Natural History Unit said: “Both Chris and Megan are passionate about the Natural World but they rarely get an opportunity to see our Great British wildlife together away from their presenting commitments. So this trip was a special journey and the whole team loved seeing them ‘off duty’ and celebrating the wealth of flora and fauna we have within the British Isles”.
Chris and Megs Wild Summer begins on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this Sunday at 8-30 . Unscripted and unsupervised Megan McCubbin and I take a madcap EV ramble around the UK’s wildlife hotspots in search of all the beautiful things that we love . . . poo , pellets , poodles . . . puffins ! We try to get close , and get photographs . Clad in tasty vintage sportswear (me) and listening to the sounds of the 70’s and 80’s (me) we are distracted by castles (me) and artisan gin (her) . We discuss some critical things (the future of life and growing up in a modern family) . . . and some not so critical things (wearing flip-flops and the best war films) . Wildlife and the whole wide world , from Pembrokeshire to Cumbria to the Western Isles .
Chris & Megan’s Wild Summer is a 6x30’ BBC Studios Natural History Unit Production for BBC Two and will premiere on Sunday 29 August. It was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Science and Natural History, BBC. The Executive Producer is Rosemary Edwards and Series Producer is Joanne Stevens. The Commissioning Editor is Sreya Biswas.
Wildlife Garden Project | Identifying Dragonflies and Damselflies in your Garden in Summer – Wildlife Garden Project
It can be tricky to identify dragonflies and damselflies when you’re first starting out. But fear not! We’ve teamed up with British Dragonfly Society to give you some handy tips on how to identify some of the most common dragonfly and damselfly species that you are likely to spot in your garden in the summer in England and Wales.
To learn more about dragonflies, visit the British Dragonfly Society’s website, where you can learn about more species and look at lots of beautiful pictures to help with identifying what you’ve seen. And don't forget to send records of any dragonflies you see: british-dragonflies.org.uk
Remembering veteran documentary writer Ed Fields – By Phil Fairclough
By the time you read this, veteran documentary writer, producer and show maker/saver Ed Fields will have been gone from our world for a couple of weeks.
It really shouldn’t take so long to put together a tribute and an appreciation of someone’s life and body of work. And, if this wasn’t about Ed, I’d admit to being slow off the mark.
But I’d explain it, to Ed, this way: “Very few people appreciated, nor worked so hard over, the crafting of a well-turned piece as you, Ed.
“So, forgive me, but you died suddenly, you hid your light under a bushel and it turns out you had a great many friends, admirers and people whose shows you’d saved, who took a little while to make themselves known.
“Plus, you had more facets to your life than I knew. And it’s taken me a while to organize my thoughts, and get them down in a way which I feel reasonably happy that you wouldn’t immediately want to re-write.”
I can now, with a smile, but still with great sadness, remember and celebrate a good friend and collaborator, who I worked with for almost 20 years.
He was one of the best factual script writers and TV producers I have had the pleasure to work with and know. A real friend, a wonderful father to Chloe and, to use a British phrase, a “top bloke.”.
The New York WILD Film Festival is the only documentary film festival in New York to present powerful exhilarating films about the wild world around us. These carefully selected films from around the world will cover a spectrum of wild topics, from exploration and adventure to wildlife, conservation and the environment.
The festival celebrates the filmmakers who — through the power of their images and storytelling — promote awareness, educate and inspire interest in exploring and conserving the natural world around us. NY WILD, through your films, presents a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, affect vital change and celebrate the wild.
Shortlist for the 20th Innsbruck Nature Film Festival
Around 50 films will be running in competition from 19-22 October 2021, including productions from all over the world and starring Nature and The Environment! Catch yourself a fine flick at the Metropol Kino in Innsbruck, the urban-alpine capital of Tyrol, embedded in the International Nature Festival.
340 films from 60 countries in every corner of the world were submitted for the anniversary edition. The 15-member preliminary jury were pressed hard to choose 51 works that will now compete in five categories in the international film competition and are eligible for prize money, worth €18,000.
In our now-time of video chats and conferences, home office and home schooling, the value of having films presented on the big screen is irrefutable and apparent in the gratitude of our esteemed audiences, as well as in the nominated filmmakers themselves. So from 19-22 October 2021, get your eyeballs rolling at the Film-Off in the Metropol Kino, down at the foot of the Nordkette mountain chain, next to the river Inn, in Innsbruck’s Old Town.
Striking nature films
In addition to the Short Films and the Young Talents sections, the nature film selections at the INFF hold their own with their beautiful, endlessly wide imagery and precise, honest close-ups. “The Wild Forest” (Der wilde Wald) by Lisa Eder belongs right here with the best of them; a refuge of biodiversity in the Bavarian Forest National Park. From the mainland we go into and under the water, “The Loneliest Whale”, directed by Joshua Zeman takes us on a quest for the world’s only 52-hertz whale. In “Cephalopods: Conquest of the seas”, world-renowned French science filmmaker, Bertrand Loyer, takes the whole family to the mesmerising and astonishing underwater world of the octopus and the cuttlefish.
Evocative environmental documentaries
Documented by Canadian Slater Jewell-Lemker from 2007 to 2020, “Youth Unstoppable – The Rise of the Global Youth Climate Movement”, shows the powerful vision of the younger generation for the future of our planet. The US production “Kiss the Ground” by Rebecca and Josh Tickell also sets a tone of positivity and finds the missing piece in a climate puzzle in the soil. Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson is convincing as the narrator, you can listen to him and hear him.
Hosting country Austria represented by four films in main categories
Two great Austrian co-production nature documentaries from Terra Mater are in the programme: snow leopards, bears, a yak and a wolf captivate us in their home in Tibet at over 4,000 metres in “Snow Leopards and Friends”. Diving below sea level “Witness is a Whale”, is a thrilling documentary about the giants of the seas, with a touch of thriller, thanks to the KGB.
Two independent films also enter the running for the Grand Prix: “What Fishes want” (Was Fische wollen) by Christoph Walder about the silent disappearance of fish shoals from the largest river in the Alps, the Inn – rushing right by the INFF Metropol Kino venue – it doesn’t get closer to home than this, folks, while “Shamane’s Nightmare” (Der Albtraum der Shamanen) by Natalie Halla moves us with a solemn promise from further afield and around the globe.
Festival curator Katja Trippel and festival director and founder, Johannes Kostenzer are eagerly awaiting a rainbow 20th anniversary edition of the Innsbruck Nature Film Festival in Tyrol’s capital – with an astounding array of hopeful, critical, illuminating, animated, electrifying, loud and quiet films.
Bad Comet Games’ Wild: Serengeti aims to raise awareness around wildlife conservation
A new board game designed to make wildlife conservation and environmental issues more relatable has hit the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, courtesy of Bad Comet Games.
Called Wild: Serengeti, the title transports players to the plains of the Serengeti, where they take on the role of wildlife documentary directors en route to film a one-of-a-kind documentary. It’s the latest project to spring from the mind of game designer, Gunho Kim, the brains behind the popular Shaolia.
The one to four player game acts to combine puzzle solving with elements of set collection and engine building to create a strategic game play experience billed as unique, while its ‘mesmerising artwork, 3D components and detailed animeeples’ is all geared towards making players more aware of the importance of conservation.
Kim, a big fan of wildlife documentaries, said that when designing Wild: Serengeti he “wanted to design a game related to the issue of wildlife conservation” and that he wished to “raise awareness about the beauty and marvel of these animals through board gaming.”
The game designer added that “maybe then players could find environmental issues that much more relatable.”
– Film wild animals in the Serengeti and direct your own inspiring wildlife documentary in this beautiful board game.
Discover the wildlife of the Serengeti and capture these moments to film the documentary of a lifetime.
WILD: Serengeti is a board game inspired by the endless plains of the Serengeti. This game combines the joy of puzzle-solving with elements of set-collection and engine-building to create a deep and unique strategic experience. The mesmerizing artwork, 3D components, and detailed animeeples will guide you straight into the vivid and breathtaking wilds of the Serengeti.
WILD: Serengeti follows simple rules that are easy to learn for beginners but also enough strategic depth for more experienced veterans. Accompanied by 168 Scene Cards, Variable Player Powers, and various events, it presents a fresh, re-playable experience for every game.
Reporting opportunity on great apes and gibbons – Mongabay
Ape species are in a fight for their lives that will play out over this century and Mongabay will continue to report this story to raise public attention about the issues facing great apes and gibbons.
Mongabay welcomes new story proposals for print, video, data, and multimedia reporting.
If you think sharks are scary, blame Hollywood, new study suggests
David McGuire lived through the summer of Jaws in 1975 and saw the impact. As a surfer in Southern California, the upside was fewer people in the water. But McGuire, the director and founder of the conservation organization Shark Stewards, also remembers surfers fleeing the ocean at the sign of a leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata), a harmless species with no history of dangerous encounters with humans; and even people too terrified to swim in pools.
The lasting effect of Jaws is well known. In 2015, Christopher Neff from the University of Sydney, Australia, proposed the term the “Jaws effect,” positing that the film’s storyline has had a massive influence on people’s framing of shark encounters. The three basic tenets of the “Jaws effect” are the belief that sharks intentionally bite humans, that human-shark encounters are always fatal, and that sharks should be killed to prevent future attacks.
Since the release of Jaws in 1975, shark populations have only fallen catastrophically. Over the last half-decade, populations of sharks and rays (a close evolutionary relative) have decreased by 71%. More than 100 million sharks are killed each year, and over 30% of all shark and ray species are considered threatened.
Brianna Le Busque, a researcher and professor at the University of South Australia, knew the role Jaws had on the public perception of sharks. So after previously studying the news media’s reporting on shark encounters, Le Busque set out to study how fictional films as a whole — not just Jaws — have represented sharks.
“Doing that research [on the news media], I came to realize the media has a really big impact when it comes to how people view sharks,” Le Busque said. “There are a few studies that have looked at Jaws specifically … but there was no research looking at shark films more generally … I wanted to see if it was similar to Jaws or not.”
Le Busque’s results, published in Human Dimensions of Wildlife earlier this year, were, as McGuire said, “Not surprising at all.”
After analyzing 109 shark films released between 1958 and 2019, Le Busque found 96% (105) of the films overtly portrayed sharks as potentially threatening to humans. Of the remaining four films, three covertly portrayed the potential threat of sharks to humans. And only one film, Finding Dory, did not present sharks as threatening to humans.
New Film Addresses the Importance of Wildlife Fertility Control
“An Overview of Wildlife Fertility Control” is now available for viewing
Over the last 20 years, there has been an increase in human-wildlife conflicts due to expanding human populations encroaching on wildlife habitats. Traditional methods to resolve such conflicts have focused primarily on lethal management. Today, using lethal methods to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts may be socially and/or politically unacceptable, logistically unfeasible, and ultimately, ineffective.
In the late 20th century, wildlife fertility control arose as a field of study in human-wildlife conflict mitigation. To educate the public about the field and create connections between wildlife managers, researchers, and advocates, The Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control (BIWFC) has produced a unique educational film titled “An Overview of Wildlife Fertility Control.”
This groundbreaking film, which took nearly two years to complete, presents a clear, concise, and informative overview of the field covering ongoing research as well as related projects in the United States. The film includes numerous interviews with experts in the field in addition to beautiful footage of free-roaming horses, burros, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, elephants, and more.
Recent viewers of “An Overview of Wildlife Fertility Control” have called it, “an excellent and informative introduction to wildlife fertility control;” “really useful for knowledge sharing;” and “a well-done presentation addressing some of the important issues of wildlife population control.” The film runs 15 minutes in length and is free to view on the BIWFC website.
The Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Media, PA, which aims to advance the use of effective, sustainable fertility control methods to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts and promote coexistence worldwide. Established in 2016 as a partnership between The Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States, The BIWFC marks its fifth anniversary this year.
In Shaba’s world: on photographer Ami Vitale’s latest film on Reteti’s famed elephant
National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale’s latest film is on Retiti’s famed matriarch and the self-sustaining Samburu neighborhood
Five years in the past, a 15-month-old elephant calf was airlifted from the Shaba National Reserve after her mom was shot lifeless by poachers. Aptly named Shaba, when the calf arrived at Kenya’s Reteti Elephant Sanctuary for orphaned and deserted jumbos, she was anxious, and charged at everybody she noticed. Over time, nonetheless, she turned the matriarch of the orphan herd, a narrative that award-winning American photojournalist Ami Vitale has been following since. “I’ve been getting to know every keeper working for the sanctuary and the story of each rescued elephant. Shaba was an extraordinary elephant whose story captured the hearts of everyone who knew her,” says Vitale, whose film, Shaba, is now obtainable on-line on shabafilm.org.
Having spent shut to 6 years on the film (up for 3 awards on the prestigious Jackson Wildlife Film Festival in September), Vitale, 50, shares her learnings from the native Samburu neighborhood and, most significantly, how we are able to flip guardians for our elephants.
The most vital lesson Shaba taught you?
When I met her for the primary time, she tried to cost me and she or he was not a bit of elephant. Shaba arrived traumatised after watching her mom get killed in entrance of her by poachers, and had no belief for people. The metallic sound of my shutter additional aggravated her. This went on for nearly a 12 months till at some point, I knew she had lastly accepted me when she brushed her trunk on me as she idly walked by. As a filmmaker, I’ve to construct relationships, not simply with folks but additionally with the creatures whose tales I’m telling. Shaba taught me how vital it’s to have that very same belief with animals that we construct with people.
Featuring COVID-19 Lockdown Bee Watching and Animal Favorites,
Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Beginning October 20 on PBS
– Features new documentaries about the Rocky Mountains, every known species of penguin, American horses, Animals with Cameras and more
Preview Season 40 at pbs.org/nature
The WNET Group’s Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning series Nature celebrates its 40th anniversary with new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. beginning October 20 on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nature and the PBS Video app. Season 40 premieres with My Garden of a Thousand Bees, which follows wildlife cameraman Martin Dohrn, who filmed all the bees he could find in his tiny urban garden in Bristol, England, during the COVID-19 lockdown. By the end of the summer, Dohrn saw more than 60 species of bees and unlocked new knowledge about the diversity of personalities in this insect family.
From the wild Rocky Mountains to the Pony Express Trail, witness some of North America’s most iconic wildlife in their natural habitat, including grizzly bears, bison, wild mustangs, Appaloosas, ospreys, bighorn sheep and many more. Using the latest filmmaking technology, Nature reveals new information about beloved animal favorites, such as elephants, penguins and wild horses, and the threats they face. Animals with Cameras returns for a second installment, featuring animals outfitted with lightweight, specially designed cameras that provide a glimpse into the inner lives of turtles, bats, koalas, sharks, kangaroos and more.
“Throughout its storied history, Nature has inspired millions of people to discover the wonder and beauty of our natural world,” said Paula Kerger, president and chief executive officer for PBS. “As issues of conservation and climate change become increasingly important, this iconic series will continue to educate and enlighten audiences through best-in-class documentary films.”
“It’s been an honor to be with Nature for four decades now,” said Fred Kaufman, executive producer for Nature. “From the beginning, our mission has been to be a voice for the natural world, and we will continue to be that voice for years to come.”
New Nature Season 40 documentaries include:
Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees (Season 40 premiere)
Premieres Wednesday, October 20 at 8 p.m. on PBS
A story of surprise and revelation. A veteran wildlife cameraman is bee-obsessed. Seeking refuge from the pandemic in a small city garden, he is filming the wild bees that live there with mind-blowing results. From giant bumblebees to scissor bees the size of a mosquito, he has seen more than 60 species of bee. But more importantly, he is developing a close relationship with an individual bee he follows through its entire life.
Nature: Season of the Osprey Premieres Wednesday, October 27 at 8 p.m. on PBS
A veteran pair of ospreys return home to a Connecticut saltmarsh. Over one summer they must battle their enemies, withstand the elements, and hunt hundreds of fish, all to raise the next generation of these consummate sea hawks.
Nature: The Elephant and the Termite Premieres Wednesday, November 3 at 8 p.m. on PBS
Witness the creation of one of Africa’s greatest wildlife meeting places and the site of extraordinary drama: the waterhole. From mighty elephants to tiny termites, an entire community of creatures call the waterhole their home.
Nature: Born in the Rockies (two-part special)
Premieres Wednesdays, November 10 & 17 at 8 p.m. on PBS
Journey deep into the wild heart of North America’s Rocky Mountains and experience this rugged land through the eyes of its iconic wildlife. Follow the drama as newborns make their way in one of the world’s most challenging and spectacular habitats on Earth.
Nature: Animals with Cameras (two-part special)
Premieres Winter/Spring 2022
Animals become wildlife cinematographers when they are fitted with lightweight, specially designed cameras in this two-part series that feature turtles, sharks, koalas, bats, kangaroos and more. Our animal “camera specialists” reveal behavior new to scientists.
Nature – Penguins: Meet the Family Premieres Winter/Spring 2022
A celebration of one of Earth’s most iconic and beloved birds, featuring footage of all 17 species of penguins for the first time, from New Zealand, Cape Town, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica.
Nature: The Ocean’s Greatest Feast Premieres Winter/Spring 2022
New filming technology brings the story of South Africa’s annual sardine run vividly to life like never before. Between May and July each year, the sardine run sees billions of sardines spawning and travelling up the coast, providing a feast for an array of marine predators.
Nature: American Horses Premieres Winter/Spring 2022
Following the popularity of Equus: Story of the Horse, Nature turns its cameras to the uniquely American horse breeds that helped shape our nation, such as the Mustang, Appaloosa, Morgan and Quarter Horse.
Nature: Running with the Beest Premieres Winter/Spring 2022
It is one of nature’s most spectacular events – the million strong wildebeest migration across the heart of East Africa culminating in the dramatic moment they must cross the Mara River. See how this iconic wildlife event is a major moment in the life cycle for every predator, prey and scavenger involved.
Led by executive producer Fred Kaufman, Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry, bringing the natural world to millions of viewers. Consistently among the most-watched primetime series on PBS, Nature continues to innovate through original digital programming and a commitment to converting viewers into doers.
The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 19 Emmys and three Peabodys. Nature received two of the wildlife film industry’s highest honors: the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wildscreen Festival, and the Grand Teton Award given by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The International Wildlife Film Festival honored Kaufman with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.
Nature’s award-winning website, pbs.org/nature, features full episodes, short films, digital series, behind-the-scenes content, news articles, educational resources and more. A new podcast, Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, will also launch this fall. The series is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
Nature is a production of The WNET Group for PBS. Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. Bill Murphy is Series Producer. Janet Hess is Series Editor. Danielle Broza is Digital Content & Strategy Lead.
Support for Nature is made possible in part by the Arnhold Foundation, The Fairweather Foundation, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, Charles Rosenblum, Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Klorfine Foundation, Sandra Atlas Bass, Colin S. Edwards, Gregg Peters Monsees Foundation, Koo and Patricia Yuen, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public television viewers.
We would like to invite you to the 15th GREEN SCREEN Wildlife Filmfestival in Eckernförde!
More than 100 film screenings as well as lectures, seminars and other networking events like the festival gala and the award ceremony, offer many opportunities to meet with the audience as well as with colleagues from all over the world. Due to the expected distance- and hygiene rules, only the larger venues will be in use, therefore the festival time extended and screenings start already on September 4th 2021.
The supporting progam for the industry is happening between September 8th - 12th, in that time also all nominated films will be screened. From September 12th - 19th the surrounding cinemas will show some more selected films.
For those who can not be with us in person, we are providing an online platform for accredited attendees to digitally network and participate in or stream the seminars and watch the nominated films. The live stream of the award ceremony can also be watched online.
We are very happy to announce that in this special year accreditation is FREE!
However, it is important to register for the seminars via the accreditation form and reserve your free tickets for the screenings via the included link, as seats are limited.
From the South-West of England to the very far North of Scotland shore birds search the mud and sand for food. They have all sorts of tools for the job, from the surface to deep down. This is a light-hearted look at how competition is shared out. Who will win in this lively contest?
Curlew Action is a charity dedicated to reversing the decline of the breeding curlew by advocating conservation efforts, developing and sharing resources for fieldworkers, and promoting wider natural history education.
One of the world's rarest seals, the monk seal, needs peace and quiet and somewhere safe to rear its pups. In the Mediterranean there are few sanctuaries left, where this is possible. On the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, wild places still exist, but changes threaten from a development company in New York. Can this paradise and its endangered seals survive in a classic conservation challenge, as Covid-19 wrecks the tourist trade in the Med?
Screening films from all over the world, the American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) is an annual event held in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, a vibrant, arts-focused community 70 miles west of the nation’s capital.
ACFF considers submitted non-fiction and fiction films, provided the theme is driven by environmental or cultural conservation. Of special interest are the myriad ways humans interact with wildlife and wild places, issues driven by natural resource conservation, humans as part of the environment, living in a continuum of cultural tradition, lifestyles in conjunction with changes in the natural world and how young people encounter and understand the natural world. The motivating force behind ACFF is the power of film to engage, inform and inspire.
The 2022 Festival plans to utilize live venues providing screenings for a broad range of conservation films, some of which rarely receive a wide showing. Pending filmmaker permissions, films will also be included in our online streaming offerings with closed captions available for each film. Our first online festival in 2021 more than doubled our audience and reached viewers in 30 countries.
The Unsung Estuary of Mulki is a documentary on the Mulki estuary and the biodiversity encompassed within it. This documentary is created with the intention of educating people about these untouched and uncelebrated places bearing stunning lifeforms and stories. The film was shot over a duration of 1 year as a record of different species displaying unique behavioral patterns and their lifestyle. Capturing mesmerizing scenes and with a beautiful narration, the documentary brings to light the current condition of the Mulki estuary and the critical issues surrounding it.
Wild Justice Hen Harrier Day broadcast with Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin
Did you watch the Wild Justice Hen Harrier Day broadcast? If so, we hope you enjoyed it, if not, then you can catch up with it any time and we've produced a guide to how to find your way through it - click here.
The feedback has been wonderfully positive. Martin Simpson's Sky Dancers song has had rave reviews, the story of the Golden Eagle in Scotland was a moving hit with many and Olivia Blake MP talking with passion and obvious knowledge about upland issues touched many people too. But it was the variety of people, the breadth of issues and the mixing of art and science all wrapped up and tied together by the eloquent Chris and Megan which made it such a success with many. At least, that's the feedback we've had.
Love Nature links with Samsung TV for FAST launch in Spain
Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks wildlife brand Love Nature has become available in Spain as a free ad-supported streaming channel (FAST), following a deal with Samsung TV Plus.
Love Nature becomes the first natural history brand on Samsung TV Plus in Spain and will offer 100 hours of programming localised in Castilian.
The deal, which was brokered by Julio Sobral, SVP for Lat Am & US channel distribution at Love Nature, follows a similar agreement struck between the two companies in the US.
Shows available on the Spanish FAST channel include Secrets Of Wild Australia,Untamed Valley and Animal Empires.
Carlyn Staudt, global general manager at Love Nature, said: “We’ve seen tremendous success for Love Nature on FAST and AVOD channels in the US market and we know that audiences in Spain will also love our curated programming line-up of stunning wildlife and nature content on Samsung TV Plus’ highly accessible, free-of-charge platform.”
National Geographic Documentary Films’ BECOMING COUSTEAU gives an inside look at the life of explorer, filmmaker and beloved adventurer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice.
Feature documentary Escape From Extinction, narrated by Helen Mirren, isheaded to selected UK cinemas from 17th September.
Kaleidoscope Entertainment presents Escape From Extinction, a powerful feature documentary narrated by Academy Award winner Dame Helen Mirren, coming to selected cinemas from 17th September celebrating ‘Great Big Green Week’ (18-26 September). It will then be available on Digital platforms from 18th October and DVD 25th October.
Escape From Extinction explores the critical efforts of major zoological organisations to preserve millions of species on the verge of disappearing forever, through a unique mix of conservation, rescue breeding and environmental awareness.
The documentary features rare footage of endangered animals as well as interviews with leading animal welfare and conservation specialists. Not just focussing on the damage humans have done to wildlife around the world, the film aims to shine a light on the work of zoos and aquariums across the globe as they race to protect and preserve animals from all seven of Earth’s continents. These organisations may be nature’s last arks of hope in preserving the rich legacy of life on our world.
Escape From Extinction hopes to get the global engagement of the public. Without this help these animals may disappear forever within a generation.
Discovery+ hits 18 million subs as Zaslav talks of ‘third global streamer’
Discovery’s recently launched streamer has amassed 18 million global subscribers, the US-based factual broadcast giant has revealed.
Announcing its Q2 2021 results, Discovery stated that its quarterly revenues increased by 21% to more than $3bn, while the company enjoyed “total next-generation revenue growth” of 130% year-over-year.
The main driver of this ‘next generation’ growth was its Discovery+ direct-to-consumer business, which ended the quarter with 17 million subscribers and was at 18 million users when the company announced its results on 3 August.
The BBC has announced a range of new commissions from the newly created Factual, Arts and Classical Music “commissioning powerhouse” led by Patrick Holland.
Patrick Holland says: “The BBC’s commitment to premium factual, arts and classical music programming is unique in the UK and central to our public service mission for all audiences. The landmark series Union will explore the history of our islands, examining the forces that pulled them together and have, at various times threatened to pull them asunder. By focussing on the lives of ordinary men and women it promises to unearth fresh perspectives on our shared history.
“Earth builds on the remarkable Planets and forthcoming Universe, telling the story of the creation and evolution of our planet, to bring complex science to broad audiences. And the arts series on how Black American culture changed the world [working title: Black Art Matters] will bring the boldest storytelling and biggest voices to reveal the influence of key creatives over the last 100 years.
“These commissions build on the unrivalled series of scale that now find their home on BBC iPlayer, helping to create a video-on-demand platform with true specialism that speaks to British audiences.”
Earth (w/t) 5×60 BBC Two
This groundbreaking, landmark series tells the astonishing four-billion year story of the place we call home. Over five episodes, Chris Packham (pictured) will set out a biography of our planet, revealing the most epic moments from the Earth’s history, from the first seconds of its existence to the arrival of its most incredible inhabitants: us.
Cutting-edge CGI will allow viewers to witness the dramatic moments when our planet’s future, and the life it nurtured, hung in the balance. Massive bombardments from space, extreme changes in climate, the collision of whole continents. Every one of these key moments in our planet’s history is written in its scars.
The series will uncover the meaning of its mountains and its ocean floors, its craters, valleys and plains. It will show how these features tell us of the perilous moments when life itself was nearly snuffed out, or rebounded to take a new course. Chris Packham will draw on his deep knowledge of contemporary biology to shed light on points of crisis and change in our planet’s past.
Earth’s story hasn’t ended. Using the latest scientific research, Chris will reveal how Earth’s most remarkable creation – intelligent life – is set to have a lasting impact on the planet – an impact as profound as any asteroid or volcano.
Earth (5×60 BBC Two) was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Science & Natural History. It is being made by BBC Studios Productions’ Science Unit and the Executive Producer is Rob Liddell and Andrew Cohen..
These webinars are part of Wildscreens' plans to launch an Emerging Talent scheme, which sets to improve inclusion and diversity in the natural history industry across the world.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the next generation of wildlife filmmakers, conservationists and photographers have missed out on key opportunities; opportunities for work experience, education, up-skilling and with limited access to equipment. The impact of the pandemic has only heightened the barriers to entry for individuals from marginalised communities and underrepresented groups. So, we have plans to empower the next generation of wildlife filmmakers and conservationists with inclusive mentoring, masterclasses and internship opportunities. This will initially be trialled in Bristol and the UK with a view to making it accessible with our global partners, making it a truly international offering.
Listen and learn from professionals such as Dan O’Neill and Chloë Mnatzaganian.
ScreenSkills funds mentoring for over 250 people in under-represented groups
ScreenSkills, an industry-led skills body for film, TV, VFX, animation and games, will fund mentoring for more than 250 people from groups under-represented in screen industries.
The organization is contributing £130,375 (US$180,279) in funding to set up 10 partnerships with other screen-related bodies to provide mentoring opportunities, as part of the ScreenSkills Mentoring Programme. The program is also supported by the National Lottery funds as part of the British Film Institute’s Future Film Skills Strategy.
Three of the new initiatives will support nearly 60 deaf and disabled mentees. These initiatives are Beacon Film’s Future Vision; TripleC DANC’s mentoring programme for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers and directors; and Media Trust & ScreenSkills Reframing Disability Mentoring Programme in partnership with BBC 50:50. All of the mentors in the Media Trust program will also be disabled.
Another new initiative is the Bristol-based Wildscreen Emerging Talent program. Recruiting from Wales, the program’s goal is to increase diversity in wildlife film and natural history, supporting emerging talent who have missed out on in-person opportunities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will prioritize people in roles in areas with skill shortages.
Casey chats about his early years breaking into the industry, his latest film, and the passion that drives him to make wildlife films.
Casey Anderson is an Emmy nominated filmmaker, an adventurer, explorer and TV host. He has spent the last three decades traveling the world, capturing nature and wildlife through the camera lens.
Born and raised in Montana, Anderson spent his childhood exploring the vast wilderness that was his backyard and by the age of eighteen, Casey was guiding wildlife filmmakers into remote locations to track and film the most elusive wild animals.
At twenty-six, he adopted an orphaned baby grizzly bear which led him to co-found the Montana Grizzly Encounter, a sanctuary for grizzly bears saved from inhumane situations.
As a television personality, Casey has been seen on Nat Geo WILD, BBC, PBS, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and has been a regular contributor to Conan & Oprah.
He has made it his mission to bring his love of the wild to the hearts of the world, instilling a drive to conserve untamed and untouched wild places.
Casey’s films include: Monster Encounters, America the Wild, The Mountain Lion and Me, Finding Beasts, Casey’s Wild Backyard, Bear With Me, Man Vs Bear and Expedition Wild.
Not got Richard Brock's PLANET CRUNCH book yet? What are you waiting for ... it FREE and ACE!
PLANET CRUNCH The Life (or Death?) of Planet Earth by Richard Brock is ambitious project of 3 x 25-minute films on YouTube and Vimeo, plus a book. It's another attempt to draw attention to the challenges we all face; especially involving biodiversity. Uniquely…all…together. Now.
Planet Crunch – The Life (or Death?) of Planet Earth is a unique perspective on planet Earth at crunch-time. Based on how the media have lifted the natural world to the front-page headlines, the book is richly illustrated, packed with commentary on wildlife, natural resources, impacts of global politics, population, climate change and our future.
Richard Brock, filmmaker, author and publisher, has created a book for everyone. He describes it as political, challenging, cheeky, significant, educational and even rude! A publication that is both up-to-date and down-to-earth.
It’s for all those who are concerned about the future at this time of “Planet Crunch”.
Order a FREE copy for your bookshelf or give as a gift. And please extend the project – pass on this offer to friends and contacts and like/share on all your social media.
Donations to charity will be welcomed. If you would like to contribute – say £10 – to Richard’s preferred charity local charity, the Avon Wildlife Trust, based close to where he lives, near Bristol, or to a charity of your choice, please do so. These days many charities need income to help continue projects around the world.
Uniquely ... Altogether ... Now ... The Life (or death?) of Planet Earth - Planet Crunch covers Nature and Us, Population, The Media, Tourism, Money, Waster and Plastic, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Water, Food, Biodiversity, Shopping, Farming, Forests and Fishing.
After its first ever virtual Showcase earlier this year, the 2022 BBC Studios Showcase will also be fully digital, the outfit revealed on Tuesday (July 13th).
The producer-distributor will hold a three-day program of virtual events running from Feb. 28-March 2, rather than host global buyers in person at its usual Liverpool extravaganza. While the event is still at least six months out, sources tell Variety the company needed to let its suppliers know well in advance.
“We’re proud that BBC Studios Showcase has made the U.K. a key destination for the world’s content buyers but the pandemic has accelerated changes in the way we can help them discover our shows,” said Paul Dempsey, president of global distribution for BBC Studios.
“Their terrific response to our virtual Showcase earlier this year, coupled with continued uncertainty around international travel means that we will once again bring our content to customers digitally next February. Of course, there’s nothing like meeting face to face and we are very much looking forward to the time when we can get together again.”
BBC Studios has already confirmed a number of new shows that will be premiering at the digital event:
Following the success of “Frozen Planet” (2011), six-part series “Frozen Planet II” will tell the story of in the entire frozen quarter of Earth, ranging from the frozen ocean of the Arctic, to the snowy forests and great plains of the far north, from the high-altitude peaks of our mountains to the ice-locked south of Antarctica. The BBC One series is made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, co-produced by BBC America and The Open University. The Executive producer is Mark Brownlow and the series producer is Elizabeth White.
Also, in a four-part series “The Greatest Show On Earth,” teams of scientists, adventurers and specialist film-makers hunt down nature’s most spectacular phenomena and capture them in all their splendor..
Wildlife Filmmaking 101: Step One - Research – Filming The Wild with Alan Lacy
In this episode of Filming The Wild, Alan sits down behind the desk and talks about one of the most important phases of wildlife film production: research.
"This is Wildlife Filmmaking 101: Step One - Research. In this seven part series, I will take you through my process of making a wildlife documentary, and share all of things I think about and do when producing a film. In this first episode of Wildlife Filmmaking 101, we are talking about the research phase and development of the film and story you want to tell. There are so many ways to do this, and I share some of the ways that I develop an idea for a film."
As part of VMI’s sustainability drive, we are immensely proud to report that a recent waste audit completed by our waste contractor, Collect My Waste, certified that none of the waste collected from both VMI sites in London and Bristol were sent to Landfill.
Danny Shore, the Business Development Manager confirmed that over the 19 month period of November 2019 to June 2021, our London depot recycled 75% and Bristol depot, 56%. However the service provided by the contractor certified that the remaining 25% for London and 44% for Bristol was recovered. The conclusion of this was that absolutely no waste generated by VMI at all was sent to Landfill.
"As you can see from the data, for the duration of your time with us, for both sites, no waste has been sent to landfill."
Danny Shore CMW Business Development Manager
VMI changed suppliers after Barry Bassett, VMI’s Managing Director, watched a documentary showing plastic waste which had been sent for recycling, being sent by cargo ship to landfill in Indonesia. We were horrified to find that we used the same waste contractor and changed supplier the very next day.
A lot of small changes can make a very large impact and this helps to confirm our commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030.
Vegan Organic Network "Save our Wildlife" Short Video Competition – Call For Entries
1st prize: £500, 2nd prize: £300, 3rd Prize: £200 and more prizes to be announced.
Winning entries will be part of our social media campaign targeting the public and delegates attending COP26 the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow this November.
Our film competition aims to spread the message that:
To Save our Wildlife we must move to a Plant Based Food System.
Of all mammals on Earth, ONLY 4% are WILDLIFE, 60% are farm animals and 36% are humans.
By adopting a plant-based food system, land used by farm animals can be converted to wildlife habitats.
80 percent of the world’s agricultural land is used for farming animals (livestock farming).
When we remove the farm animals from our food chain, corn and soya fields required for animal feed can be transformed into nature reserves.
World agriculture must move towards “people nourished per hectare”.
Veganic agriculture is green, clean and cruelty free, it uses less land, water and fossil fuel resources than farm animal (livestock) dependent systems and creates a wildlife friendly environment where nature can thrive.
Make a short film and help spread this urgent message to your friends, family, community and to politicians around the world.
Brian Skerry (‘Secrets of the Whales’ producer) on documenting whale culture: ‘Community matters. Family matters.’
“It all had to be based in science,” explains Brian Skerry of the process behind his documentary series “Secrets of the Whales". In conversations with scientists over the years, the producer “noticed this theme of culture emerging” when discussing whale behavior. The concept of “culture” was the perfect fit for his desire to complete a multi-species project with National Geographic. After much planning and three years of shooting on the ocean, “Secrets of the Whales” debuted on Disney+ and garnered three Emmy nominations, including Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series.
Factual prodco and distributor Off the Fence moves into Canada
Netherlands and U.K.-based factual specialist Off the Fence has opened its first Canadian office in Toronto.
Led by Imelda Wiebers, director of Commercial and Business Affairs (pictured left), the producer-distributor told Playback Daily the plan is to seize the quickest opportunities under a recently unveiled content strategy focusing on three areas: history, science and tech, and relationships between people and the planet including natural history, travel and adventure, lifestyle, crime and impact.
“We are looking to invest further into our content pillars … specifically across science and ancient history, as well as offer Canadian wildlife co-production opportunities,” says Weibers.
The Toronto operation – incorporated on May 7 – is planning to hire Canadian employees shortly.
The new TV series from Ray Mears sees him exploring some of China’s most extraordinary places and wildlife as he explains to Lyn Hughes
We don’t associate China with conservation and wildlife! How did you feel about doing it?
I was in two minds to be honest because I don't like China's record on human rights and clearly they are one of the greatest polluters on the planet. And my opinions on those issues haven't changed. But when I was told that there are things happening to do with conservation, I took a sort of mature view and I thought well let me find out more. And I was actually really pleasantly surprised
What I discovered was that a lot of the conservation in China has originated at grassroots level and is being supported by the state.
We had a Chinese producer who works for the Chinese government, and they've obviously got a message to get out. But, despite that, there are ways of assessing whether things are genuine or not. And I was very impressed.
We went to the raptor rehabilitation centre in Beijing. The people working there are the same people that would be doing that work in a dedicated way here. Exactly the same sort of people, the same passion, the same motivation, the same dedication and you can't fake that.
Today, 12th August, we celebrate the existence of the iconic Elephant, Happy World Elephant Day!
May they continue to live forever and a day.
We have been filming and photographing Elephants in the Selenkay Conservancy in Kenya for the last 6 months, using the Canon C300 Mark 3 and the 1 DX Mark 3. It has been an amazing journey, with lots of excellent content to sift through. Finally, the story has come together, and it is a beautiful celebration of Elephants.
On World Elephant Day 2021, we officially present to you the 1st trailer of “The Elephants Of Selenkay”… vimeo.com/586185009 Watch this space for the full-length documentary.
Jim Frazier reflects on life as wildlife cinematographer with David Attenborough
As he wanders through a grove of trees identifying native bird calls on his property, Jim Frazier is clearly content and in his element.
At 80 years old, he's lost none of the passion for nature that fuelled a prestigious career as a wildlife cinematographer, including travelling the world for Sir David Attenborough's nature documentaries.
"It's just a place of peace and quiescence, I just love it here," he said.
Frazier is humble about his achievements, which include award-winning documentaries, the invention of ground-breaking lenses, an Oscar, an Emmy, an honorary doctorate and an OAM.
"I have had many, many extraordinary experiences. When you travel the world, you are exposed to different cultures, different people's attitudes but always for me it was being aligned with things natural and wildlife," he said.
Frazier says his cinematography career began unexpectedly through an association with author and naturalist the late Densey Clyne, whom he met in the 1960s.
They made an award-winning film together about spiders, which impressed the BBC and opened doors.
"They [the BBC] said, 'By the way, we are just embarking with David Attenborough on a big series called Life on Earth," Frazier said.
"I said, 'Who the hell is David Attenborough?' He wasn't all that well known then."
Meet Aylwin and Virginia, sisters who run an organic livestock farm on the edge of the Angus glens. They have been working hard to make their farm a brilliant place for waders, with great success. RSPB Scotland and the Working for Waders partnership have helped with the work on the farm. Nature friendly farming can make a huge difference for species under pressure like curlew, snipe and redshank. Find out more from a family who really care about nature.
"He told David Attenborough about baboons, and his world became wild" – by Cloe Read
Across a campfire, Chadden Hunter tells Sir David what he can about gelada baboons. The Queenslander doesn’t know it yet, but his life is about to change.
Sir David Attenborough’s eyes light up across the campfire in remote Ethiopia like those of a little kid.
It’s the early 2000s and opposite him sits Chadden Hunter, a Queenslander who’s been researching a herd of gelada baboons in the highlands, several thousand metres above sea level, as they pluck grass in alpine meadows.
To the world outside, Ethiopia is known for its famine and desert. But Hunter speaks of a land full of ancient rock churches carved into the cliffs, of beautiful lush islands covered in wildflowers and waterfalls.
While he doesn’t realise it yet, his life is about to change.
Sir David asks Hunter, a world expert on the baboons, to explain what he knows.
Fuelled by an endless curiosity, Sir David is excited as he takes in every word Hunter tells him.
“I was able to just tell him everything I knew, and it was really amazing to have this guru and living legend sit there by the campfire and just want to listen to you, and just ask questions,” he says.
“It’s incredible in that sense because his successes haven’t gone to his head whatsoever.
“He’s an incredible man, so incredibly knowledgeable but also really humble. “I think it’s partly because he’s maintained this incredible sense of curiosity his whole life and that’s really what keeps him going.
“His eyes light up when you tell him a new story.”
So, by the flicker of the fire that night, the men connect..
Jack Couffer Dies: Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer Behind ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ Was 96
Jack Couffer, the renowned cinematographer, writer, director, producer and naturalist who earned an Oscar nomination for his lensing of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, died at a skilled nursing facility on July 30. He was 96.
His son Mike Couffer confirmed the news in a recent Facebook post, in which he referred to his father as “the most important person in my life.”
Born on December 7, 1924 in Upland, California, Jack Couffer long looked to blend his interests in cinematography and natural history, also shooting films such as Secrets of Life, Edge of Fury, and The Savage Eye, along with 11 episodes of the series The Magical World of Disney.
Couffer also wrote and directed episodes of Magical World of Disney, along with films including The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle and Ring of Bright Water.
“If you want to change the story, change the storyteller.” – Noel Kok.
We have been the only Africans making wildlife documentaries in Africa for some time, but we are changing this through new partnerships that will catalyze the industry. In July, WildlifeDirect received a special package, a RED Komodo camera from Red Digital Cinema in the USA. We thank Brian Henderson, the Director Global Business Development at RED for making this possible. This is one of the most sought after cameras in the wildlife film industry and is an essential part of our filming toolkit.
Our goal is to build capacity for wildlife filmmaking by Africans in Africa. That is why we have partnered with the phenomenal photographer Clement Kiragu who has joined WildlifeDirect as a Film Associate. Clement is Africa’s Photographer of the Year (2017) – a photo competition run by Rhino Africa, an award-winning safari company, and Canon Ambassador for wildlife in Africa. He has begun field training in wildlife filmmaking, on a shoot with Bob and Gina Poole of Poole Films.
WildlifeDirect has provided the RED camera and a shooting vehicle for 3 months. To support this incredible journey please make a donation here.
BBC NHU to make major environment series over seven years
Patrick Holland, Director, Factual, Arts and Classical Music Television, has announced Our Changing Planet, the “most ambitious environmental series the BBC has ever commissioned.”
For seven years, BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit will closely document six key habitats around the world, including California, the Arctic, the Maldives, and the Amazon rainforest. And over seven years, BBC viewers will watch as these habitats – and the species living in them – undergo extraordinary change.
“These locations are bellwethers for the health of our planet. As pressure on the natural world increases, what happens here will happen elsewhere. As the series goes on, we will witness rapidly unfolding ecological change and observe surprising new animal behaviours as species adapt to their shifting environments.
“But this is also a story of hope. In each habitat, we will meet incredible conservationists who are working to turn the tide, preserve ecosystems and save species from extinction.”
Presented by six major BBC presenters, the series will launch in April 22 as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations and return every year for the following six years – making it the longest environmental project ever commissioned for television.
Patrick Holland, Director, Factual Arts and Classical Music Television says: “Our Changing Planet is a landmark project that will provide a unique document of the biggest challenge facing humanity. Made by the Natural History unit, this is public service broadcasting at its most urgent and important.”
TV presenter Steve Backshall to host Seven Worlds, One Planet live concert
Bafta-winning TV presenter Steve Backshall will host the UK premiere of Seven Worlds, One Planet Live In Concert.
The one-off concert is based on the popular BBC documentary series presented by Sir David Attenborough which explores the diverse wildlife and wilderness of the seven continents.
The series, which took 1,500 people more than four years to make, including 92 film shoots across 41 countries, became the BBC’s most-watched factual TV show of 2019.
The concert, which will feature video and music highlights from the TV series, will be held at the London O2 Arena on March 31 2022.
Naturalist and explorer Backshall said: “When I was approached to host this premiere live concert, I was thrilled.
“As a naturalist I was fascinated by the television series which presented the incredible beauty and diversity of the seven continents that now make up our amazing planetary ecosystem.
“To bring those stunning visuals, stories and the live music score of Hans Zimmer to the arena stage is something to behold.
“It is going to be one of the highlights of 2022, a very special event for those who love the environment, our planet and something for all the family to really experience and enjoy!”
Embracing European Rewilding:
First rewilding talk show now available online
In honour of Rewilding Europe's 10th anniversary, we warmly invite you to our celebratory special talk show entitled “Embracing European Rewilding”.
During this one-hour show, several rewilding guests will share their inspiration and experiences. We look back at how it all started with Rewilding Europe's 'founding fathers' and look ahead to the future of rewilding in Europe.
New documentary on grizzly bears highlights need to keep hunting ban in place
A new documentary from the EXPOSED Wildlife Conservancy, in association with the Grizzly Bear Foundation, is highlighting the struggles Alberta’s grizzly bears have faced on their road to recovery and the actions needed to safeguard their future.
As scientists issue warnings of catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss, it has become clear that protecting threatened species like the grizzly bear is critical, now more than ever.
Local Banff wildlife photographer, John E. Marriott, produced the film in association with the Grizzly Bear Foundation.
NEW INVESTIGATION! The truth behind Morrisons chicken – Narrated by Chris Packham
Filthy. In pain. Abused.
This is how chickens are suffering on farms that supply Morrisons. And the truth was revealed in an investigation released by Open Cages.
The investigation, narrated by naturalist Chris Packham, shows the horrific lives of FrankenChickens. Bred to grow too big, so fast that painful deformities and lameness are common, these poor animals face extreme suffering every day.
Animals deserve better than this. And we're working on change.
"FrankenChickens are the supermarkets' terrible, cruel secret."
- Chris Packham
Is the idea of ethical meat consumption a fraud? That question is explored in “The Last Pig,” which chronicles a former livestock farmer who became vegan. The subject of the film, Bob Comis, and the filmmaker, Allison Argo, joined Adam Reilly on Greater Boston to discuss.
“I grappled with the ethics of raising animals for slaughter from the very first two pigs that I raised,” Comis said about his journey to becoming vegan. “It was a gradual process that ended up in a precipitous fall off of a cliff because I had a more or less mystical experience one morning with the pigs where my own being ended and theirs being began. And I sort of felt on a fundamental level that pigs and I were the same type of being, if not the same type of being all together. After that experience, I couldn’t possibly do it [raise pigs for slaughter] anymore."
Cow review – Andrea Arnold’s first documentary is meaty slice of bovine socio-realism
The director details the life of dairy cows with unflinching and empathetic precision
With this documentary, Andrea Arnold has created a kind of agribusiness pastoral about the daily life of cows on a working dairy farm. Her camera simply gets up close and personal with cows as they moo and trot around and give birth and stare with mysterious placidity into the camera – sometimes thumping up against her sound mic with an almighty bang.
Arnold immerses herself in the bovine world as far as she is able, getting alongside the cows in the farm during the calving process, with the shots of ropes pulling on little hooves emerging from the mother, an image which hasn’t changed too much since the days of James Herriot and All Creatures Great and Small. We see the cows out in the field on a bright summer day, and sometimes we see them out there at night, in an exotically conceived long shot: cows silhouetted against trees under a stark moon. We hear human voices from the very beginning, often cheerfully calling the cows “girlies!” – no word could be less suitable for these mighty beasts. But we don’t see any people until the very end.
Gijs van Amelsvoort – a film & TV composer based in The Netherlands, with a BIG love for nature, Wildlife & Natural History films, interesting stories, traveling, hiking, and good vegan food.
His music has been a score & underscore for numerous TV programmes, varying from BBC docu-series such as Gordon Buchanan's Cheetah Family & Me, Grizzly Bear Cubs & Me, to Earth's Great Rivers and Planet Earth UK, all the way to short films and popular TV shows.
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