Steve Backshall recently presented a series called Deadly Sixty – on a Mission, at 6pm on Sunday on BBC1, probably with many children watching. He travels the world showing various species that may qualify for his notorious list.
The question is, yes it may be good for ratings, appeals to children, but in the end, does it do the animals themselves any good? I doubt it.
Should the spotted flycatcher be one of the Deadly Sixty? This inoffensive little brown bird migrates to Europe from Africa every summer and, surprise surprise, catches flies, not only spotted ones. According to the Deadly Sixty wide-ranging criteria it is a formidable flyer, picking off insects in mid-air and eating them alive – yes, yet another “deadly predator”, that worn out phrase. “Slayer” and “assassin” appeared on April 4th, words more applicable to humans than to the animals who need all the help they can get. So Steve Backshall treads a tricky line between attracting ratings and showing respect and admiration for the species he chooses.
Let’s hope Steve can help rectify his reputation as a wrangler of so called “deadly” species by the promotion of his well-observed, well-promoted, and well-narrated series Microworlds repeated on BBC2 from a small audience slot on BBC4 (4 viewers?). That is the truth about nature, not a countdown of species whose future may be threatened by misleading sensationalism.
After a hiatus of seven years from the sunny city, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition is finally set to land back on the shores of Durban this July.
The internationally renowned exhibition will take place at Durban’s uShaka Marine World from the 25 July to the 25 September this year. The exhibition launch forms part of the Wild Talk Africa Film Festival and Conference, South Africa’s premier natural history film event, which will be running from the 23-26 July.
Save 20% with Beyond Borders Film School New Specials in Kruger National Park By Sebastien Rombi
Beyond Borders Film School is proud to announce a joined venture with Ecotraining. Established in 1993 with a mission to raise the standard of guiding in Africa, EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader of professional Field Guide and other nature training programs. www.ecotraining.co.za
Alongside with Ecotraining, Beyond Borders Film School now offers two packages situated in two Big 5 game reserves in South Africa.
Minimum 4 students, Maximum 6 students
A 30 days course about wildlife filmmaking in the wild with extra lectures about African animals behavior, guiding ethics and ecology!
A unique opportunity to make your own short documentary about any of the African wild animals!
Plus an August Special on the Garden Route - R17,250 per person - Save 50% off our luxury package - a last minute special about our course in August!!
Operation Jukani is Beyond Borders current production about the translocation of more than 120 big cats on the Garden Route of South Africa.
Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a sanctuary that homes large wild cats (lions, leopards, cheetahs, black panther, tigers, mountain lions...), African Wild Dogs, Hyena's, snakes and Zebras, is currently situated outside Mossel Bay, approximately 150km from Plettenberg Bay. The animals at the sanctuary have been confiscated from hunting operations, circus's, and also over populations from zoos. Without organizations like Jukani these animals would have most probably been put down. Jukani has created a retirement village for their wildlife and they are in the process of moving their operation to a better location very close to where Beyond Borders Productions is based.
36th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival Award Winners Announced
The 36th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival is thrilled to announce this year’s award winners. The IWFF is the first festival of its kind and the longest running wildlife film festival and conservation conference in the world. Awards were presented at a First Friday ceremony on May 3rd at the Roxy Theater in Missoula, MT.
2013 IWFF AWARD WINNERS
Lifetime Achievement Award Natural history filmmakers and photographers Howard and Michele Hall Conservationist Hero of The Year Award Mateus Mutemba, for his extraordinary work with the Gorongosa Restoration Project Save Our Seas® Award Hot Tuna (2012)
Rick Rosenthal Best Cinematography – a tie The Last Lions Dereck and Beverly Joubert, 2011 Best Cinematography – a tie Siberian Tiger Quest Mike Birkhead and Joe Loncraine, 2012 Best ScoreKangaroo Dundee Andrew Graham-Brown, 2013 Best EditingThe Last Lions Dereck and Beverly Joubert, 2011 Sound Design The Last Lions Dereck and Beverly Joubert, 2011 Best FilmThe Last Lions Dereck and Beverly Joubert, 2011 Best in Category: Presenter/HostSiberian Tiger Quest Chris Morgan, 2012 Best in Category: Human/Wildlife Interaction Siberian Tiger Quest Mike Birkhead and Joe Loncraine, 2012 Best in Category: Environmental Wild Things Daniel Hinerfeld and Molly O’Brien, 2013 Best in Category: POV and Conservation Battle for Elephants John Heminway, 2013 Best in Category: Television Program Over $500,000 Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo Jeff Turner, 2013 Best TV Program: $250,000-$500,000 An Original DUCKumentary Ann Johnson Prum, 2012 Best Television Program Under $250,000 Hunting the Ice Whales Max Quinn, 2012 Best TV Series Kangaroo Dundee Andrew Graham-Brown and Tom Mustill, 2013 Best Theatrical Release The Last Lions Dereck and Beverly Joubert, 2011
Close your eyes for five seconds and imagine a whooper swan... Now open them and say out loud what you thought of... Ok, so you saw a white body, long neck and a yellow and black bill. What about the SOUND, asks Anneke Emery?
Go on, look it up on the RSPB's website or YouTube and give it a listen... awful isn't it!
It's ok to use your eyes for bigger birds but things can get tricky when it comes to LBJs (Little Brown Jobs). This is one of the reasons why I went in hot pursuit of a bit of sound recording training. You couldn't do better than to learn with a tutor like Chris Watson. Chris has worked closely with many high-profile natural history presenters, including David Attenborough and Bill Oddie and is Oddie's favourite sound man.
Mashatu Game Reserve is located in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve of Botswana bordering South Africa and is internationally recognized as the “Land of the Giants”, home to the world’s largest mammal – the Elephant, the world’s tallest mammal – the Giraffe, the world’s largest antelope – the Eland, the world’s largest bird – the Ostrich, and the world’s heaviest flying bird – the Kori Bustard. Add the lion – the king of the beasts, and the iconic baobab…and you have Africa’s Big Seven.
With the Oscars over, the latest inventions in the film industry – the products used to make the movies – take centre stage each year at the huge NAB trade show in Las Vegas, USA. It’s the world’s most prestigious annual show of film and TV technology. And this year two of the nineteen finalists for best invention in film production were the creations of Achtel’s small, Australian company. In an industry dominated by large multi-nationals, his company has produced the most innovative underwater
filming system in years – revolutionary new housings: DeepX and 3Deep® for shooting in 2D and 3D underwater.
“It’s an extraordinary honour,” said Achtel after being told the results from the USA. “I’ve put hundreds of hours of work, and a lot of thought, into designing these new systems for filming underwater. None of the existing equipment did justice to the magic of the underwater world.”
The open pitching sessions are back due to popular demand. This year filmmakers need to submit their ideas in advance. Only the best proposals will be awarded a slot at the Open Pitching Sessions.
You will have the chance to pitch to some of the top commissioning editors and funders. All documentary formats and all natural history subjects are eligible to submit. Past years’ pitching panels have included commissioning editors from Animal Planet, NHK Japan Broadcasting Corp. , BBC NHU, National Geographic, SABC, NFVF, Smithsonian Networks, NHU Africa and more.
Commissioning editors will critique and comment on each pitch. Who knows, they may be interested?
A very sad farewell to the late great Richard Matthews
Member and friend, Richard Matthews, of Wild Images and Table Mountain Films, has tragically been killed in a plane crash whilst filming aerials over Namibia. He went missing on Sunday the 3rd of March and, after a wide search, his aircraft was sadly then found crashed on the following Tuesday morning.
Richard was with his pilot, Mark Berry, who also died. All our thoughts are now with Richard's wife Samantha and their two children.
"Richard was doing what he loved and was very excited about his new improved aerial system when he set off for Namibia. He will be missed sorely." Joe Kennedy & Katharina Pechel, Table Mountain Films
Local Producer Revitalizes 36th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival
Come Back to the Wild, April 27 – May 4, 2013
by Kate Rutledge Jaffe of IWFF
The International Wildlife Film Festival is the first festival of its kind and the longest running wildlife film festival and conservation conference in the world. We have a longstanding international reputation for finding and nurturing the best wildlife films from around the globe, and facilitating dialogues on issues of nature and conservation. This year, we aim to make a local splash: entice Montanans back into the Roxy by offering a rich variety of fun screenings and events, and creating opportunities for the community to engage with luminaries from the fields of wildlife filmmaking and conservation.
Our secret weapon: incoming IWFF producer Mike Steinberg. Mike joins the festival after transforming the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival into a nationally acclaimed event. Steinberg dramatically grew the audience with inventive ideas to engage the community, found opportunities to connect local groups with films, and turned that small, underground festival into a highly anticipated, celebrated annual event. After raising the stature of one community event, he’s now bringing his vision and energy to the IWFF.
With the Oscars over for another year, the latest inventions in the film industry are about to take centre stage at the huge NAB trade show in Las Vegas, the world’s most prestigious annual show of film and TV technology. And Tasmanian film-maker, Pawel Achtel is one of this year’s finalists.
Competing with Canon, Sony and other major manufacturers, two of the nineteen finalists for best invention in film production – to be awarded on 9 April – are the creations of Achtel’s small, Australian company. In an industry dominated by large multi-nationals, his company has produced the most innovative underwater filming system in years – revolutionary new housings for shooting in 2D and 3D underwater.
HASP Training have opened a new site near Bournemouth in Dorset and we would like to offer Wildlife-film.com members an opportunity to attend our summer 4 day Hostile environment courses for as little as £300. Dates are 3-6th of June and the 15-18th of July...
We are very fond of our native red squirrel, part of our culture, part of our countryside. But how long will they be with us? Much is working against them, including the introduced tougher non-native grey squirrel, which carries a disease that kills reds but not the greys themselves. And there’s traffic, cats, lack of suitable woodland.
On the other hand, there is much working for them; dedicated volunteers, biologists, in fact many organised groups all over the country trying hard to keep the red squirrel and reduce the greys, so unfortunately introduced from North America in 1876. There are signs of success in the fight to save the reds but it is a controversial subject that raises issues about our countryside and our attitudes to wildlife. The question for the red squirrel is: can we help it make a comeback? If so, how?
This unique film travels the length of Britain through one year to assess progress and considers the future.
After its successful launch in Durban in 2006 and equally successful iterations in 2007, 2009 and 2011, South Africa’s premier Wildlife Film Festival and Conference, WILD TALK AFRICA, returns to Durban in July this year. The event will take place from the 23-26th July within the same month as the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and The Durban Filmmart. This gathering of film industry events will work towards turning Durban’s golden mile into the southern hemisphere’s own version of Cannes – the world capital for film markets and festivals. Like Cannes, Durban has all the necessary infrastructure to handle a collaborative effort of this nature, with the added advantages of the warm water beaches, affordable hotels, convenient cinema complexes nearby and uShaka Marine World which hosts the largest collection of West Indian Ocean species in the world. Post festival attractions include conveniently located game reserves, Kwa-Zulu Natal’s beautiful heritage sites and array of ocean activities.
Disneynature’s Chimpanzee tells the story of Oscar, an orphan chimpanzee, adopted and raised by elder male Freddy – an unusual relationship never caught on film before. But this remarkable story set in the dense rainforest of the Tai Forest National Park in Ivory Coast very nearly didn’t make it to the big screen. “I’d filmed monkeys in that forest before and it was incredibly challenging,” explains Director/ Producer Mark Linfield. “In fact when [cameraman] Martyn [Colbeck] and I left that shoot we pretty much whooped for joy. We both looked at each other and said thank God we never have to come back here.” Less than 10 years later Mark found himself back in the same forest recce’ing for Chimpanzee.
I attended a talk on the 27th Feb at the Frontline Club entitled “Unprepared, inexperienced and in a war zone” which has started a discussion about the safety of journalists, documentary makers and camera men in conflict zones and how the industry must do more to protect them.
This is going to be a difficult discussion that should have been started years ago but has been bought to the fore by the terrible conditions in Syria, Mexico and Somalia and the terrible risks that freelancers are taking with little or no training. I think it boils down to one issue and that is ££££. It costs money to do these courses.
So what we’re proposing is 6 times a year to run a 2 day course at The Artist Rifles Clubhouse in Bisley, Surrey for £400 covering the subjects below and giving freelancers a tick in the box.
In the week of the tragic violent shooting at the school in Connecticut, USA, it so happens the following “wildlife” programmes were shown on Sky - National Geographic and Discovery, Animal Planet and often repeated several times. The titles say it all: “Snakeskin – Venomous snake attacks a family dog” “Bear Woman – A 21 stone mother bear charges a tree surgeon” “Ultimate Killers” “Untamed and Uncut” “Monster Bug Wars” ”Bite of the Living Dead” “Austin Stevens: Most Dangerous” “Hunt for the River Monster” “Killer Elephants” “City Shark Attacks” “Shark Attack Summer” “Sydney Shark Attack” “World’s Deadliest Animals” “Extreme Animal Attacks” “Killer Tigers” “Battle of the Swamp Pride” “Lion vs Cheetah” “Man v Monster – A Winged Killer in Indonesia” “Lion Ganglands” “Winged Assassin” “Mekong Flesh-Eater” “Man-Eating Menace” “Beast Man” “When Animals Bite Back” “When Fish Attack” “Amazon River Beast” You’ve probably got the idea.
Miniature camera specialists SeeSense have supplied a Toshiba IK-HR1S 1/3” 1-CMOS High Definition camera system to enable natural history documentary makers AGB Films to record the early development of a Joey within its mother's pouch.
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