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A very sad farewell to the late great Richard Matthews
March 2013



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 in an area near Sesfontein 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

"Richard was a good friend and a hugely talented wildlife camera man with many other talents and I will very much miss seeing him at festivals or in Cape Town. My memories of Richard are most often social... We met in Cape Town and consequently shared a room together at the 2007 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival - He was charming and fun with a dry sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye... Very tolerant of my falling into the room at some unseemly hour! We met at several other festivals (Wild Talk Africa and Wildscreen) for drinks and chats, where he was always so well known and obviously popular amongst all those present. He was a member of Wildlife-film.com, was very supportive of my efforts with it and always ready to give advice or his opinion on something when asked. He was such a lovely man and I will very much miss our occasional meetings and rewarding conversations. His loss will be hugely felt right across the wildlife film-making world and is, of course, so desperately sad for his family along with our many mutual friends. The only consolation is that he was doing what he loved up until the end." Jason Peters, Wildlife-film.com

"Richard’s determination and dedication to excellent wildlife film making contributed enormously to the success of the BBC The Living Planet series filmed over three years with David Attenborough. In particular, to avoid showing the already familiar wildebeest migration, for his grasslands programme (Sea of Grass), Richard found himself at a very unfamiliar event in the Sudan. This part of Africa was, and still mainly is, difficult to get into - or even out of. The local Merle tribe hunted the migratory kob antelope as the great herds crossed a narrow stretch of river. This proved to be a truly memorable, almost Biblical, scene with this traditional hunt by naked men using spears. To achieve this “first”, Richard and his team proved their determination and imagination and these assets were later to take him far to the south of his beloved Africa, filming many more challenging subjects such as great white sharks, African wild dogs and some of the most beautiful aerial pictures ever taken on that continent. And it was doing that which tragically cost him his life, given so generously to the natural world he loved." Richard Brock 9/3/13

“It is with deep sadness that Wild Talk Africa pays homage to Richard Matthews, who tragically past away in a plane crash while filming in Namibia. Richard attended a number of Wild Talk conferences and participated in numerous panel discussions over the years. With all his experience and skills, his contribution to our industry will be missed and we will remember him at this year's conference." Donfrey Meyer, Director of Wild Talk Africa

"It was with great sadness that we heard the news of the sudden death of Richard and his pilot in Namibia. Richard was our second client, way back when the company was started in 1988, and was a very regular visitor before he moved with his family to Cape Town. Like many film makers, it was probably the way he would have chosen to go, doing what he loved, flying with a camera in his hand. Our love and sympathies go to Samantha and the children." Jean Hartley, Viewfinders

Messages / Tweets:

"Very sorry to hear about Richard Matthews, wildlife cameraman, died filming aerials in Namibia. Prayers of peace to his family and friends." Gautam Pandey @RiverbankStudio

"RIP Richard Matthews amazing wildlife cameraman. Died filming aerials in Namibia. Our thoughts go out to your family." Rob Drewett @robthecameraman

"Hugely talented wildlife film maker Richard Matthews has been killed in a plane crash in Namibia. Our thoughts are with wife Sam and kids" Simon King @TVsSimonKing

"Very sad news. Well known Cape Town wildlife filmaker Richard Matthews died yesterday in a plane crash while filming aerials over Namibia." Michaela Strachan @michaelastracha

"Such terrible news about wildlife cameraman Richard Matthews. His work was beautiful and inspirational, especially his shark stuff. RIP x" Meg Pounder @MegzyPounder

"In memory of Richard Matthews, wildlife cameraman who died yesterday doing what he did best - our thoughts are with his family." Steven Ballantine @epmasia

"Wildlife filmmaking legend Richard Matthews dies while shooting aerials in Africa. Tragic loss. RIP" Alisa Schwatz @divefinatic

"Shocked to hear of the death of cameraman Richard Matthews, we worked together in the 90s. RIP Richard and thoughts to his lovely family." Mary Colwell @curlewcalls

"It is with great shock, and sadness that we say Farewell to South African wildlife filmmaker, Richard Matthews. R.I.P." @WildTalkAfrica

"Phenomenal wildlife cameraman Richard Matthews has passed away, he was a wonderful man and will be sadly missed." Verity White @suzumibaci

"Immensely sad about the tragic death of one of our great friends in wildlife film-making - Richard Matthews. He will be missed so much." @timeframehd

"Sad news about the death of Richard Matthews while filming aerials in Namibia. My thoughts are with his family and friends." Bernard Walton @aquavitafilms

Listen to Richard talk about his filming experience in Africa: Eye to Eye

News image

Richard Matthews last film as director (with co-director Brad Bestelink) was premièred in the UK on Nat Geo Wild on the 10th of March and later on elsewhere. (USA Première: 31 March at 9pm & Africa and Europe: 27 April at 6pm)

A Wild Dog's Tale is the extraordinary story of a lone African wild dog living in Botswana's Okavango Delta, who forms a close friendship with with jackals and hyenas.

"We'd like to thanks our friends at National Geographic who are dedicating the film to Richard."

Joe Kennedy & Katharina Pechal
Table Mountain Films

The film has been selected to be a finalist at the 36th International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana.

An informal memorial service to celebrate Richard Matthews was held at the Matthews home on 6th April 2013. All who knew Richard were welcome.

Richard Matthews

Richard was an internationally recognised wildlife filmmaker with over thirty years of experience in production, camerawork and directing. Born in South Africa, Richard had two honours degrees in Life Sciences and in Film, Photography and Television. After working for six years in the BBC Natural History Unit Richard turned freelance to film in the Serengeti with Alan Root. His film, Queen of the Beasts, showcased a classic encounter of infanticide in lions. During this time Richard designed and developed the vehicle balcony door mount now universally used in wildlife filming.

Richard’s UK production company pioneered the theme of dangerous and deadly creatures in it's series Nightmares of Nature. In 2004 Richard moved to Cape Town and specialized in aerial photography. He developed a number of gyro-stabilised aerial camera systems for use on light aircraft and helicopters. Recent credits include the BBC feature The Meerkats, Amazon with Bruce Parry, and the National Geographic Migration series. His films won numerous awards including five Emmys and a BAFTA.

Richard’s last venture with colleagues Joe Kennedy and Katharina Pechel was a new television production company Table Mountain Films with White Lions and Solo the Wild Dog their first commissions.

In the press:

www.iol.co.za/capetimes/film-maker-pilot-die-in-plane-crash
www.iol.co.za/news/africa/film-maker-s-fatal-crash-probed
www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Bristol-wildlife-cameraman-killed-Namibian-plane/story
www.screenafrica.com/page/news/film/1542174-Obituary-Richard-Matthews
www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2013/03/sa-wildlife-film-maker-dies-in-plane-crash/
www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?95991-Cameraman-killed-in-plane-crash
www.bramblemedia.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/richard-matthews-killed-in-plane-crash/
www.ewn.co.za/2013/03/06/Film-industry-mourns-Matthews-death
www.naturalhistorynetwork.co.uk/news/articles/richardmatthews
www.iawf.org.uk/news/index.asp?newsid=1111&archive=0
www.informante.web.na/index.php?option=com_content&id=11621:conservation-team-dies-in-plane-crash
www.jonathanangelascott.com/main/wordpress/2013/03/richard-matthews-wildlife-cameraman-an-appreciation/
www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-columns/loss-of-a-colleague/article4931604.ece

A celebration of Richard's Life and Work was held at Racks Wine Bar, St Pauls Road, Clifton, Bristol on Friday the 24th of May, 2013.

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