Sides of a Horn film release: Special interview with Director Toby Wosskow – Kate on Conservation
26 June 2019
Sides of a Horn is the first film to tell the story of Africa’s poaching war from both sides of the fence. From Director Toby Wosskow and Executive Producer Sir Richard Branson, the dramatic short film is based on actual events, and filmed in one of the communities most directly impacted by wildlife crime.
Following the journey of two brothers-in-law fighting on opposite sides of Africa’s poaching war, it offers an unbiased portrait of a modern war that is tearing communities apart and driving a prehistoric species to the verge of extinction.
Sides of a Horn Director, Toby Wosskow
spent considerable time in the field with the men and women at the heart of Africa’s poaching crisis.
This has allowed him to develop every character, story, and line of dialogue from a direct level of truth. It also made it possible to film in the townships impacted by the crisis and in the game reserves that combat poaching on a daily basis.
Watch the film: From Executive Producer Sir Richard Branson and Writer-Director Toby Wosskow, Sides of a Horn is the first film to tell the story of Africa’s poaching war from both sides of the fence. Based on actual events, and filmed in the townships and game reserves most directly impacted by wildlife crime, this dramatic short film paints an unbiased portrait of a modern war that is tearing communities apart and driving a prehistoric species to the verge of extinction.
New 3-Way Co-Pro Deal Brings Global Audience to Animals at Play
25 June 2019
Bristol-based production company Offspring Films brings the new natural history series ANIMALS AT PLAY (2 x 60’) to global screens this summer thanks to the first co-production deal to involve Love Nature 4K, BBC in the UK, and Germany’s public service broadcaster ZDF.
Offspring’s two-part ANIMALS AT PLAY series, narrated by Gordon Buchannan, is currently due to premiere on BBC Two in the UK in July before airing on ZDF, in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, in September and in 60+ other countries via Love Nature’s SVOD and linear platforms in addition to the Smithsonian Channel in the US later this year.
Carlyn Staudt, Love Nature’s EVP of Programming and Production, says: “Co-producing with top tier broadcast partners means Love Nature can realize our creative and storytelling ambitions and deliver visually outstanding content that fosters a deeper knowledge of the natural world for viewers around the globe.''
She adds: “I’m thrilled to be working with the incredibly talented team at Offspring whose ability to produce superior 4K wildlife content in an eye-opening and entertaining way is demonstrated once again with ANIMALS AT PLAY.”
Production of the series took series producer Laura Whitley and her team around the world to film animals including dolphins, chimpanzees, bears and wolves - uncovering the surprising reasons animals play and discovering new research that reveals it’s not all just for fun.
Offspring’s executive producer Alex Williamson says, “Play is so much more than just fun and games. It’s fundamental to an animal’s development and in some cases its survival. We’re only just beginning to understand it’s astonishing powers.”
At Love Nature, the collaboration is being overseen by Alison Barrat, VP of development and production. Emeka Onono is the commissioning editor for the BBC and the executive producers for ZDF are Michael Leja and Tina Weimer. Blue Ant International oversees the licensing for ANIMALS AT PLAY.
Inside the Frame – A close look at key footage from EIA investigations 24 June 2019
Documenting environmental crimes on camera, such as illegal timber trade and wildlife trafficking, has been a cornerstone of EIA’s work from the very beginning in 1984.
All last week in Inside the Frame, Chris Milnes, EIA Visual Communications Editor, presents a series of key sequences from the archive and chats to undercover investigators and campaigners about the stories behind the clips, their significance and the impacts they made..
Jackson Wild Announces Final Cohort for the Jackson Wild Media Lab to be Held this Fall in the Grand Teton National Park from Jackson Wild
20 June 2019
Jackson Wild, in collaboration with Day's Edge Productions and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, is proud to announce the distinguished Fellows of the 2019 Jackson Wild Media Lab, which will be held this fall, September 18-27, in the Grand Teton National Park. The selection committee was blown away by the quality and passion of applicants. From over 650 global applicants, 17 fellows were accepted into this rigorous filmmaking fellowship, which covers all expenses associated with registration, travel, food, and lodging during the workshop and the 2019 Jackson Wild Summit (Sept. 21-27, 2019). The full list of these talented fellows can be found here.
Stories connect us to the planet and to each other. As our planet changes, it’s critical to bring new voices that bear witness to the world through unique and authentic stories. Core to Jackson Wild’s mission, the Media Lab will train and mentor emerging conservation and science storytellers in unique programs that directly engage them with the most influential content creators from around the globe.
The 2019 Fellows - a globally diverse group of 17 young scientists and media creators - will convene for this immersive, cross-disciplinary science film making workshop to learn the science of science communication from industry-leading mentors. They will gain hands-on intensive filmmaking experience using professional grade equipment from RED, Fujinon, Rhino, and others, while expanding their professional networks with peers and industry professionals.
For ten days, Fellows will be consumed with lessons, lectures and hands-on activities from the best in the industry. Throughout the week, they will also work in collaboration with four community research and conservation NGOs to create short films about science, nature and conservation. These mini-docs will premiere at a special event during the Jackson Wild Summit on Tuesday, September 24 at Jackson Lake Lodge. There will be another round of community Wild Fest screenings hosted by the Center of Wonder on September 27 and 28 at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, WY.
Lab of Ornithology debuts its first feature film 14 June 2019
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s debut feature film, the award-winning documentary, “Bird of Prey,” is now available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon and Vimeo.
“Bird of Prey” weaves stunning natural history footage of the critically endangered great Philippine eagle with the remarkable story of wildlife cinematographer Neil Rettig and a small group of conservationists from the Philippine Eagle Foundation, who work tirelessly to save the bird from extinction.
The film follows Rettig’s return to the Philippines 36 years after he and his crew captured the first-ever recorded images of the eagle in the wild. Decades later, Rettig returns to the Philippine jungle on a grueling expedition to find the reclusive raptor and once again film a pair of eagles as they attempt to raise a newborn chick.
Have you seen enough of rather long "save-nature shows"? ... usually an hour, and series that show, predictably, major habitats like mountains, oceans, grasslands, deserts, jungles, the poles and how the wildlife survives there? For example (all not free) Our Planet (Netflix), Planet Earth (BBC), Hostile Planet (National Geographic, Sky). They're important in these Extinction Rebellion days with David Attenborough telling us how it all is – and may well become. Made over several years, some of them are bound to be partly out of date by now.
In the last fifty years we've witnessed the extinction of an average sixty per cent of all vertebrate animal populations. And the UN has just reported that one milllion species are now at risk on our unique, and broken, planet. Watch my series and see how you and others can share some solutions to urgent problems.
As David Attenborough said recently "I don't think we are as scared as we need to be". But maybe we can fix it. Maybe?
About Anegada Land of the Iguanas: With an ancestral lineage that goes back to the dinosaurs, the Anegada rock iguana once had a homeland that stretched for thousands of miles but today it is perilously close to extinction. Threatened by invasive species, climate change and land grabbing, the last 300 rock iguanas survive on just 28 square kilometres of coral and limestone rock. Protecting them is an immense challenge but Michael Young, a conservationist from the National Parks Trust of Virgin Islands and Kelly Bradley, scientist at Fort Worth Zoo have taken it on.
The challenge: Madelaine said: “Anegada Land of the Iguanas was not a straight forward film to make. I had to be sensitive to the politics of the local partners ensuring that each was equally represented whilst keeping editorial control and a balanced story. The location set in the Caribbean sounds wonderful and it was certainly beautiful but the reality was challenging. At just ten miles long and two miles wide, the tiny island we filmed on was pierced by lakes whose base was full of deep slimy quicksand mud and came up to our waists. It took around 45 minutes each way to cross the lake carrying all our kit on our heads to keep it out of the hot water.”
“The stars waiting on the other side were rock iguanas, certainly not the prettiest of creatures so making an audience care about them and their fate needed the addition of human presence. I chose the most non-political engaging contributor I could find, an 8-year-old girl Anjuliena who we auditioned from the only school on the island. We also needed to film baby iguanas. as they are the most vulnerable to the feral cats which are decimating the population. The scientists usually find around 20-30 each year, but this year they couldn’t find any.”
“It was only half way through our filming schedule that they found one baby who fortunately turned out to be quite content to appear in a number of nesting 'sets' with no stress, before he joined older iguanas in the conservation centre. At 3 years old the iguanas are big enough to avoid being cat food and we filmed Anjuliena and her schoolmates nervously releasing the iguanas into the wild and with a final drone shot around the children we could see the iguanas running off to a new life in the wild. But one highlight remained, the main crew of Alex Wickens and myself were treated to an iguana release of our own. On our last morning the scientist, Kelly Bradley took us out to the release site and as we released and said goodbye to 6 juvenile iguanas it was time to thank everyone involved. We had learned a lot!”
On her film being selected for NaturVision, Madelaine said: “Having my first film as a director chosen for NaturVision Wildlife Film Festival is amazing. The rock iguanas provided a good story but the team who made it deserve every accolade I can give to them. Fellow NFTS students, Alex Wickens, Matt Senior, Sarah Boughton and Ruth Knight were a formidable creative team who gave the conservation partners a film which has already been valuable. The partners are using the film as the core of an international conference on invasive species in the Caribbean. Fort Worth Zoo are using it in their education centre and outreach programme for over 200 schools across the world and clips of iguana behaviour will shortly be featured on their websites. Having actual conservation results plus film festival selection , what more could we ask for?”
National Geographic Announces QUEENS, the First-Ever Natural History Docuseries Where Female Animals Reign Supreme
Six-part Series Breaks a Gender Barrier, Marking the First Women-led Production Team to Capture A New Perspective on Nature
Never before has a women-led production team set out to capture the wondrous beauty of the natural world, and never before has natural history storytelling focused solely on matriarchal societies… until now.
National Geographic, world renowned for its rich tradition in natural history storytelling and cinematic craft, announces QUEENS, an epic, six-part natural history docuseries that follows six powerful sisterhoods within the animal kingdom where females rule. The all-women visionaries behind the series draw on their female intuitions to shine a fresh light on the natural world, revealing unique feminine behaviors in six distinct animal communities: hyenas, elephants, ring-tailed lemurs, insects, primates and orcas.
QUEENS, which began production this spring will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages, is a mammoth undertaking; crews are estimated to spend at least 300 days filming each of the six episodes in order to paint intimate portraits of each queen and the sisterhood she leads.
“QUEENS is a wild departure from anything you’ve ever experienced with natural history storytelling,” says Vanessa Berlowitz, series executive producer, Wildstar Films. “We’re accustomed to a narrative where the male animal voice often outshines that of the misperceived ‘gentler’ sex. In QUEENS, females drive the story: the most accomplished women in the industry get behind the camera to turn things on their heads, revealing surprising insights into how females rise to power, often relying on cooperation and wisdom over brute strength to get ahead.”
“With QUEENS, National Geographic challenges a historical bias in wildlife storytelling that favors masculine societies,” says Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president of development and production, National Geographic. “The assembly of first-ever women-led production team will bring a new perspective to telling these intimate narratives. Scientifically, women score higher for emotional and social intelligence, so it will be fascinating to see how the team will read relationships to underscore the nuances of how female-bonded societies operate.”
Each episode devotes itself to discovering just why the title of queen is so coveted and tenuous. While getting to the top signifies power, holding rank is far from easy. Every day brings challenges – and challengers – to a queen’s rule. How she remains dominant depends on individual personality, loyalty, cooperation, politics, strength and fate.
Despite major behavioral differences among each society – for example, bees, wasps and ants are slaves to a single dictatorial queen, while elephants choose the oldest and wisest of their matriarch – there’s at least one thing that each queen has in common: family comes first. In QUEENS, nothing outmatches the powerful bonds of sisterhood.
The production team is led by Berlowitz, CEO of Wildstar Films and series executive producer, and also boasts some of the world’s most renowned, accomplished cinematographers, including Sophie Darlington (“Our Planet,” “Dynasties,” Disneynature’s “Penguins”) andJustine Evans (“Planet Earth,” “Frozen Planet,” “Life”).
“This series is full of possibilities and will offer a contemporary perspective on nature with the ambition to build industry legacy through diversity, collaboration and inclusiveness,” says Darlington. “It’s so exciting to create a project with such a talented team; we share a strong commitment to the environment and believe that engaging women is key to saving the planet.”
QUEENS features state-of-the-art technology, including remote camera systems, the latest drones, cameras that operate in virtual darkness and gyrostabilized cameras for close-up, immersive filming. All the equipment used throughout each episode aims to give the viewer a profound understanding of the secret relationships within each queen’s sisterhood.
QUEENS is produced by Wildstar Films for National Geographic. For Wildstar Films, Vanessa Berlowitz is executive producer. Janet Han Vissering is senior vice president of development and production, National Geographic.
Acclaimed wildlife filmmaker and presenter, Gordon Buchannan, is supporting this award and will be part of the judging panel to select the winning film. Gordon says:
"This is a unique new opportunity to support young people starting out in the wildlife film industry and I am very much looking forward to seeing the exciting work being produced.
Money raised through this campaign will enable us to launch this important award and raise awareness of Born Free’s vital conservation work.
It is a fitting tribute for a remarkable and talented young man who had a promising career in filmmaking ahead of him."
Watch this short film, created using Harry Percy's incredible wildlife video footage and still images, edited by Harry's good friend Matt Couldwell:
Matt says of his friend: "Harry Percy was one of most selfless, positive and generous people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We bonded over our passion for wildlife conservation and visual storytelling where our focal point was to produce content that would make a difference. My aim is to continue the journey he started."
ABOUT HARRY PERCY, 1995-2018
In October 2018, freelance filmmaker and keen conservationist, Harry Percy, attended a Born Free event at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
There he met Born Free’s CEO Howard Jones and enthusiastically spoke of his ambitions to visit Africa to film the work of the international wildlife charity.
Just days later, Harry tragically passed away unexpectedly.
He was only 22 years old.
Aware of their son’s desire to become more involved with wildlife conservation, Harry’s parents Tim Percy and Dominique de Bellefroid contacted Born Free with the idea of launching the Harry Percy Award for young wildlife filmmakers, to honour Harry’s memory.
The Harry Percy Award will be made to an individual who is judged to have employed the medium of film, to best effect for public understanding, whilst inspiring others to engage with the spirit and message of the film, to make positive changes towards co-existence.
The theme for the inaugural award will be Wildlife: Welfare and Captivity
First prize is £5,000. An additional amount of up to £5,000 will be made available to develop and create a Born Free film made by the award winner. There are also three runners-up prizes of £1,000 each.
Entries will be accepted between 3rd June and 31st August 2019.
Full terms and conditions, including technical information, how to enter and details about the judging process, can be found here.
Lord Ashcroft Exclusively Reveals the Horrors of Lion Farming in South Africa From Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC
28 April 2019
Lord Ashcroft, the former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, has made a series of major revelations about the captive-bred lion industry in South Africa.
In the light of his exclusive disclosures, Lord Ashcroft called on the South African Government to halt the "horrific and abusive" activity of "lion farming" and urged the UK Government to bring in new import laws to discourage the practice.
Lord Ashcroft has written a series of newspaper articles on "lion farming", in which thousands of Africa's most iconic animals are bred to be killed for their bones or as hunting trophies. His disclosures were made in today's Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Lord Ashcroft, a businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster, commissioned a year-long undercover investigation – codenamed Operation Simba – involving former Special Forces and security operatives. The result was a disturbing insight into the full horrors and illegal practices linked to "lion farming".
The booming trade in lion skeletons is worth tens of millions of pounds a year and meets an insatiable desire in South East Asia and China for "traditional" medicines, including aphrodisiacs.
Lord Ashcroft's disclosures today include:
Wealthy clients are sent brochures with photographs of captive male lions via WhatsApp, so they can choose which one to kill. Prices range from £10,000 to £42,300 per lion and depend on the size and quality of the mane.
One British hunter was filmed shooting an exhausted lion with tranquiliser darts on an illegal so-called "green hunt". The lion had been chased by a 4x4 vehicle around a fenced hunting enclosure before the grinning City worker shot the terrified creature from just ten yards away.
The UK representative of a South African safari company advised an undercover investigator posing as a hunter how he could bypass a US ban on importing captive-bred lion trophies. He suggested first importing it to the UK - where such imports are not banned - before hiding the lion's skin inside the skin of a dead red deer and moving it on to America.
More than 50 lions were slaughtered for their bones at a so-called "eco-farm" in South Africa's Free State province in just two days.
Lions were kept in tiny cages and suffered appalling conditions in this farm's blood-stained slaughterhouse before their deaths. Horrific pictures showed lion skeletons and innards littering the floor, while discarded internal body parts were piled high in overflowing black plastic bags on a trailer outside.
In what is believed to be an obscene bid to maximise profits, breeders in South Africa are thought to be cross-breeding lions with tigers and creating hybrid offspring. The abusive process, which can lead to birth defects and the early death of cubs, boosts bone weight, earning the breeders more money.
British tourists are unwittingly helping to encourage the horrific trade by paying to play with cubs or to go walking with adolescent lions: animals that are invariably destined to be slaughtered or hunted.
According to well-informed sources, there are now an estimated 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa – far more than previously thought and approaching four times the number of wild lions in the country.
South Africa is the only country that permits large-scale, captive-lion farming and that has an annual quota for the legal export of lion bones. Many more lion bones are illegally smuggled to the Far East.
Lord Ashcroft has called on the South Africa Government to make captive-bred lion farming illegal as it has no conservation value. He said: "The captive-bred lion industry shames South Africa – indeed it shames us all.
"By allowing such a barbaric practice, the South African Government is harming the reputation of a country that treasures its position on the international stage in the aftermath of apartheid. Captive-bred lion farming in abusive and horrific."
Lord Ashcroft added: "I also call on the UK Government to follow the lead of other nations, notably the US, in banning the importation of captive lion trophies. We must do our bit to stamp out lion farming and show that we are not in any way complicit with it."
Wildscreen partners with Golden Tree International Documentary Festival
Wildscreen Festival is proud to announce a new partnership with the Golden Tree International Documentary Festival to strengthen and nurture opportunities between our international community of wildlife and environmental documentary makers and China.
Now in its fourth year, the Golden Tree Festival which takes place in Frankfurt from 10-13 October 2019, will feature film screenings, awards, forums, pitching and a marketplace. The vision of the Festival is to build a bridge for exchange, trade and communication in the documentary film industry between East and West.
As part of the new partnership, Wildscreen Festival 2018 delegates can benefit from a 50% discount on entries to the Golden Tree Film Festival Awards. The awards feature eight categories, including ‘Best Cinematographer’ and ‘Best Medium Length Documentary’ and ‘Best Editor’, with prizes ranging from 1,500-5,000 EUR.
Use the code ‘Wildscreen2018’ when submitting your film (if you were a delegate!).
42nd Annual International Wildlife Film Festival Award Winners Announced from IWFF
20 April 2019
Congratulations to the IWFF 42 award winning films.
We are pleased to announce the Award Winners for the 2019 International Wildlife FIlm Festival. The 42nd IWFF Awards took place on Friday, April 19th at The Wilma.
Best Human-Wildlife Interaction Film
Director: Rick Rosenthal,
Producer: Katya Shirokow
Whales live in a world so removed from our own that we can barely imagine their lives. Marine biologist and filmmaker Rick Rosenthal has filmed whales for much of his long career. Now he is on a quest to probe deeper into their lives, to compare scientists’ observations against his own experience, and just maybe, to get a glimpse of the world as it must seem to these ocean giants.
Best Children’s Film
Backyard Wilderness Directors & Producers: Susan Todd, Andrew Young
BACKYARD WILDERNESS will surprise and entertain viewers with the unexpected wonders of nature that are right under our noses: literally in our own backyards. Spanning four seasons, the film captures unique wildlife images and behavior in rare and breathtaking intimacy. Wi-Fi is not the only connection that matters and that in ordinary places, we can discover extraordinary things – if we just step outside.
Best Young Adult Film
Take Back the Harbor
Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Roger Ross Williams
Producers: Christopher Clements, Julie Goldman, Carolyn Hepburn, Kristi Jacobson
On New York’s Governor’s Island there is an ambitious goal: to restore oysters to New York Harbor. The foot soldiers of this environmental movement are an unlikely group–high school students at a public school which teaches waterways stewardship alongside math and English. TAKE BACK THE HARBOR highlights these students and their teachers as they persevere to turn the tide on decades of neglect and bring back the health of their city’s waterways.
Best Newcomer Film
Director: Rio Mitchell
& Producer: Chris Hsiung
In the deep freeze of Northern Alberta, a young man finds freedom and his livelihood on the trapline. But with increasing family obligations, and with industrial development encroaching upon the area’s wildlife, this may be his last chance to live his passion for the wilderness.
Best Independent Feature Film
Stroop: A Journey Into the Rhino Horn War
Director: Susan Scott & Producer: Bonné de Bod
In this roller coaster ride between Africa and Asia, two first-time filmmakers embed themselves on the front-lines of the rhinoceros genocide. Carving out six months for the project, the women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, emerging from their odyssey four years later.
Best Broadcast Feature Film
Epic Yellowstone: Return of the Predators Directors: Thomas Winston, Jeff Reed, Shasta Winston
& Producers: Thomas Winston, Tria Thalman, Eric Bendick, Avela Grenier, Jeff Reed, Shasta Winston, Smithsonian Channel
It’s a bird’s eye view of a iconic place, Yellowstone National Park. Soaring above the erupting Old Faithful Geyser, the cascading Lower Falls, and the brilliant Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone’s winged creatures survey an extraordinary landscape. But a bird’s life in the extremes of the world’s first national park is anything but an easy glide.
Best Short Film
Sides of a Horn
Director: Toby Wosskow
& Producers: Toby Wosskow, Emmanuel Castis, Charlie Hicks, Erika Klopper
From executive producer Sir Richard Branson, SIDES OF A HORN is the first film to tell the story of Africa’s war on poaching from both sides of the fence. Based on actual events, and filmed in one of the communities most directly impacted by wildlife crime, we follow the journey of two brothers-in-law fighting on opposite sides of Africa’s poaching war. This dramatic short film paints an unbiased portrait of a modern conflict that is tearing communities apart and driving a prehistoric species–the rhinoceros–to the verge of extinction.
Best Student Film
The Great Pretender
Director & Producer: Nardine Grotch After the loss of an important display feather a famous lyrebird named “The Pretender” struggles to win a mate during the most competitive song-and-dance competition in Australia.
Best Environmental Film
Takayna Director: Alex Lowther
& Producer: Emily Grant
Takayna in northwestern Tasmania is home to one of the last tracts of old-growth rainforest in the world, yet it’s currently at the mercy of destructive extraction industries, including logging and mining. This documentary, presented by Patagonia Films, unpacks the complexities of modern conservation and challenges us to consider the importance of our last wild places.
Best Conservation Film
Director: David Hambridge
& Producers: Andrew Harrison Brown, David Hambridge
KIFARU (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, Slamdance 2019) follows the lives of two young Kenyan recruits that join Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s rhino caretaker unit, a small group of rangers that care for and protect Sudan, the last male northern white rhino or, in Swahili, “kifaru.” Spanning the caretakers’ first four years on the job, KIFARU allows viewers to experience the joys and pitfalls of conservation firsthand through the eyes of these men.
Serengeti Rules Director: Nicolas Brown
& Producer: David Allen
In the 1960s, a band of young scientists headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote places on Earth—the Serengeti to the Arctic Ocean and through the Amazon jungle—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. Now in their twilight, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share the stories of their adventures and reveal how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head.
Climate Change: The Facts review – our greatest threat, laid bare
David Attenborough’s rousing, horrifying call to arms should do for climate change denial what Blue Planet did for plastic
Once, a night in with David Attenborough promised the TV equivalent of a warm blanket. It was a chance to watch spectacular creatures revelling in the beauty of their natural habitats, as the man with a voice as soothing as ice-cream described what we could see, from the violent to the serene. Those days are gone. Attenborough’s recent move to Netflix, for Our Planet, was deceptive: a seemingly gorgeous nature documentary that doubled up as animal kingdom snuff movies in which the beauty of those natural habitats was revealed as a crumbling paradise, ruined by people and particularly by greed. One of the main points of praise for Our Planet, which was well received, suggested that Attenborough was no longer tiptoeing around the issue of climate change, the implication being that he had done so before.
You sense that Our Planet was unfortunately timed for the BBC. In Climate Change: The Facts, the gloves are now not so much off as thrown to the floor in a certain rage. It’s right there in the title, bold and stark. This hour-long documentary, part of the Our Planet Matters season, is wide-ranging yet concise, easy to understand, not blighted by the ego of, say, An Inconvenient Truth, and it is designed to do for climate change denial what 2017’s Blue Planet did for single-use plastic.
That’s not to say it should be Attenborough’s responsibility to get the wider public to pay attention, nor that it is down to the BBC. It isn’t. But Climate Change: The Facts is a rousing call to arms. It is an alarm clock set at a horrifying volume. The first 40 minutes are given over to what Attenborough calls, without hyperbole, “our greatest threat in thousands of years”. Expert after expert explains the consequences of rising CO2 levels, on the ice caps, on coastal regions, on weather and wildlife and society itself. The most powerful moments are in footage shot not by expert crews who have spent years on location, but on shaky cameras, capturing the very moment at which the reality of our warming planet struck the person holding the phone. In Cairns, Australia, flying foxes are unable to survive the extreme temperatures; rescuers survey the terrible massacre, and we learn that while 350 were saved, 11,000 died. A man and his son talk through their escape from raging wildfires, over the film they took while attempting to drive through a cavern of blazing red trees. These are horror movies playing out in miniature. It is difficult to watch even five minutes of this and remain somehow neutral, or unconvinced. More here: theguardian.com
Climate Change: The Facts — David Attenborough shows that the truth hurts: ft.com
A Victorian era naturalist discovers a butterfly that reinforces Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in this spectacular Imax offering.
With a title like “Amazon Adventure,” director Mike Slee’s latest large-screen triumph suggests a pulse-quickening tropical thrill ride, complete with raging rapids, cannibal confrontations, and run-ins with swarms of teeth-gnashing piranhas. If audiences want that kind of Amazon adventure, they need look no farther than James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z,” now in theaters, or Simon McBurney’s mind-bending one-man show “The Encounter,” which just wrapped a spectacular run at L.A.’s Wallis Annenberg Center.
As it happens, the “adventure” Slee has in mind is strictly of the educational variety, and while that may dissuade normal moviegoers from seeking out this exotic learning opportunity (which plays museums and science centers, rather than megaplexes anyway), parents and teachers of grade-school kids have reason to rejoice: Slee’s film boasts such a high level of writing, acting, and overall production polish that youngsters may be fooled into thinking they’re watching a mindless blockbuster, when in fact, they’ve actually been fooled into thinking.
Beginning in early 19th-century England, “Amazon Adventure” takes as its hero Henry Walter Bates (played here by Calum Finlay), a British naturalist who was the gotta-catch-’em-all champion of his era, at a time long before Pokemon Go! “My joy was collecting beetles,” he announces via voiceover, and soon enough, that obsession is fueling a trip to the still-unmapped inner region of Brazil. Bates lived at a time when the science world was scandalized by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which challenged the prevailing notion that species had been created in an ideal form for some divine power.
Bates idolized Darwin and hoped his own research might corroborate the idea of evolution, but the conditions in the Amazon were so taxing, he and native assistant Tando (Begê Muniz) spent much of their energy simply trying to survive. And yet, throughout his time in the jungle, Bates collected and cataloged thousands of insect specimens, which he sent back to England — and which, after he had returned thinking his trip was a failure, Bates would later use to make his most significant finding. (While not entirely surprising, this twist recalls another Amazon adventure, 1992’s “Medicine Man,” in which Sean Connery seeks a cure for cancer in rainforests threatened by slash-and-burn forces, only to realize at the last minute that a previously overlooked insect pest holds the key.)
Our Planet is a global event that reminds us we're all on one team. The series from Netflix—created in collaboration with Silverback Productions and WWF—features jaw-dropping nature stories, grounded in the best science, and highlighting the most pressing challenges facing nature today.
The eight-part original documentary series is now streaming globally on Netflix.
WWF have been running a campaign, alongside the streaming Our Planet on Netflix, to highlight the rich natural wonders, iconic species and wildlife spectacles that still remain, and reveal the key issues that urgently threaten their existence.
Today, we have become the greatest threat to the health of our planet. The Our Planet collaborative mission is to inspire people over the world to understand our planet - and the challenges it faces. If we can truly understand why nature matters to us all, and what we can do to save it, then we can create a future where nature and people thrive.
WWF have ensured the Our Planet series and all supporting content is supported by the latest science. Here are their supporting films:
Jackson Wild Media Awards Call for Entry Now Open!
Recognizing the explosive growth and impact of short films in nature, science and conservation media, we've created a shorts award for each of our content categories instead of a single giant category! The Short-form Series and Micro-Movie categories will remain. Content Categories include: Animal Behavior, Ecosystem, Earth & Sky, Conservation, People & Nature, Changing Planet, Science & Nature and Impact.
The Jackson Hole Wild Media Awards competition is unique in that each entry is reviewed in its entirety by 150+ judges who will screen more than 3000 hours. Each category is judged by separate juries specifically chosen for their expertise.
The Jackson Hole Wild Media Awards is unique in that each entry is reviewed in its entirety by multiple judges and each category is judged by a separate jury specifically chosen for their expertise.
Judges who complete assignments in the range of 20 or 40 program hours may earn credit towards discounted passes to the Jackson Wild Summit. Shorter assignments are also available. First round judging assignments will begin in June and continue with second rounds through July.
Summit Speaker Call Out ... Rapid Fire Storytellers
Rapid Fire Sessions will begin each morning of the Summit and we're on the hunt for amazing speakers with compelling stories to tell in a fast-paced 10-min-or-less format. Nominate yourself or another (make sure they agree, first)! Topics being considered include:
Compelling Discoveries at the Ends of the Earth (the Arctic and Antarctic)
New Technology to Save the Planet
SNAFU: Funny, heartbreaking and heroic stories of resilience
Wild Women. Changing the world, because that's what women do.
Authentic: New Perspectives authored by unique local voices
Sustainability On Screen coming soon – May 5th and 6th 2019, Portobello Road, London
A film festival celebrating and showcasing environmental sustainability and veganism.
The SOS Film Festival is a trailblazing event dedicated to celebrating a sustainable and vegan ideal: a healthier, compassionate, environmentally friendly lifestyle. Thought provoking and hard hitting screenings of short and feature films, showing the impacts of our diet, consumption and how we live is affecting the world and local communities we live in. We will be screening award winning films and documentaries and Q&As with leading film makers, environmentalists and musicians. Topics include climate change, waste pollution, vegan and plant based diet and environmental sustainability. We aim to explore how our every days lives are affecting climate change, pollution and the health of communities.
We will be screening award winning films (including 2019 BAFTA Winner - '73 Cows' a 2018 PANDA Award Winner), from award winning directors and documentary makers- topics include vegan and plant based diet, climate change, animal conservation and environmental sustainability. We aim to explore how veganism can have a positive affect on climate change, pollution and the health of communities. Conservation and wildlife films include 'Love and Bananas - Elephant Rescue'; 'Down to earth' and Celine Cousteau's new film 'Tribes on the Edge'.
Visual Africa Films Publishes High-Tech Book Elephants Wear Ivory by Feisal Malik & Tanvir Ali by Jason Peters
31 March 2019
“Elephants Wear Ivory” is the first coffee table book of its kind in Africa and amongst the first in the world.
The book is being used as a brand ambassador by HP Asia Pacific, to showcase the prowess of their printing technology and it contains images with Augmented Reality.
This is technology whereby one points a smartphone to an image, and it extracts a video instantly and plays it on the smart phone.
To understand this concept visually, watch this short film, whereby you can see how the technology works in the book.
The book has 50 unique images of Elephants, that celebrate their beauty and majestic nature, along with 50 stories that accompany each picture.
The images are the size of the book, an A3 page. On the opposite side of each page we have text that talks about the unique features of Elephants and how specialized they are.
The pictures of the Elephants are from the Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Samburu, Tsavo and Meru National Parks.
It is an easy read, and one doesn’t have to read from start to finish to enjoy the contents of the book. The Augmented Reality images in the book are 9, one of which is a full length documentary on Elephant Poaching and the ivory trade, that we produced. It is called “The Last In Line.”
Spread across the book are videos behind the scenes shoots of the journey made to produce the book. Scenes of photographing Elephants and travelling in the wilderness of Amboseli National Park.
This book is clearly a labour of love and, as the subject matter deserves, it is expertly executed. Feisal Malik and Tanvir Ali have put together a wonderful collection of images and stories all of which are beautiful and fascinating.The augmented reality part of the publication is a fantastic addition and wholly bridges the divide between still and moving images. It is wonderful to be reading a book and instantly have the story brought to life with video via a smartphone app. The fact that this book is very much about conserving Africa's largest land mammal makes it an essential read, and watch!
Elephant research scientist and activist against poaching, Jim Nyamu, said: “This book celebrates elephants through beautiful pictures, and showcases elephant safaris. It also highlights the harsh reality of elephant poaching through the documentary; an ideal way to get the conservation message across.”
New Spanish Festival, #LabMeCrazy! Science Film Festival – Call For Entries
The #LabMeCrazy! Science Film Festival is an initiative run by the Museo de Ciencias at the University of Navarra. It is a film festival that offers a refreshing, modern take on scientific knowledge.
The goal of the #LabMeCrazy! Science Film Festival is to arouse scientific curiosity and convey a passion for science. The #LabMeCrazy! Science Film Festival brings together the best audiovisual productions to help you delve into the world of science using a new approach, tailor-made for you.
No matter where you live, you can join our online screenings during the festival. The experience will transform you. Are you up for it?
The #LabMeCrazy! Science Film Festival promotes the following values:
CURIOSITY: a desire to learn about the unknown.
CREATIVITY: a passion to create.
INNOVATION: the ability to offer innovative ideas to improve existing processes and products and open up new fields.
RIGOR: precision in and ownership of one’s actions.
PASSION: intense emotion that translates into enthusiasm or desire for something.
PROACTIVITY: the ability to act ahead of time, in a change-oriented manner.
COMMITMENT: a devotion to nature and human beings in pursuit of the common good.
Awards & Prizes
Best Documentary. Trophy and diploma.
Best Reportage or TV Production. Trophy and diploma.
Best Short Fiction Film. Trophy and diploma.
Best Internet or Social Media Video. Trophy and diploma.
Best Student Production. Trophy and diploma.
Best University Production. Trophy and diploma.
Audience Award. Trophy and diploma.
Passion for Science Award. Trophy and diploma.
The winners will be invited to take part in the festival. The organization will cover all travel and accommodation expenses for the trip to Pamplona, Spain, for one person per award.
1. Competition entries can take the form of documentaries, reportages, short fiction films, television programs and any videos designed for the Internet or social media. They must have been completed after January 1, 2016, and must focus on any science-related topic.
2. There are six categories:
b. Reportage or TV Program
c. Short Fiction Film (<25 min)
d. Internet or Social Media Video
e. Student Production
f. University Production
4. The jury for the preliminary phase will select the finalists for each category from all entries.
5. All finalists must provide a three-minute excerpt of the nominated videos, which will be made available to the media to promote the festival.
6. The jury’s decision will be final. The jury may declare any of the awards null and void and may also award special mentions.
7. All winners will receive a trophy and a diploma.
8. The winners will be invited to take part in the festival. The organization will cover all travel and accommodation expenses for the trip to Pamplona, Spain, for one person per award.
9. All winning videos will be stored in the festival archives for research and information purposes only.
10. The film producers, whether or not they receive an award, will retain all rights to their films.
11. The festival may use clips from the videos, lasting no longer than three minutes, to promote the festival among the media. Videos selected for the final phase may be screened during other activities organized by the Museo de Ciencias at the University of Navarra, in addition to the festival.
12. Participation implies acceptance of all the above-mentioned rules.
Farming, Food and Nature: Respecting Animals, People and the Environment Edited by Joyce D’Silva and Carol McKenna
with the Foreword by Jane Goodall – An Important Book, Out Now!
Livestock production and its use of finite resources is devastating biodiversity and pushing wildlife to the brink of extinction.This powerful book examines the massive global impact caused by intensive livestock production and then explores solutions, ranging from moving to agroecological farming to reducing consumption of animal products, including examples of best practice and innovation, both on land and within the investment and food industries.
Leading international contributors spell out the problems in terms of planetary limits, climate change, resources, the massive use of cereals and soy for animal feed, and the direct impact of industrial farming on the welfare of farmed animals. They call for an urgent move to a flourishing food system for the sake of animals, the planet and us. Some offer examples of global good practice in farming or the power of the investment community to drive change, and others highlight food business innovation and exciting developments in protein diversification. Providing a highly accessible overview of key issues, this book creates a timely resource for all concerned about the environmental, social and ethical issues facing food, farming and nature. It will be an invaluable resource and provide inspiration for students, professionals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the general reader.
Joyce D’Silva is Ambassador Emeritus for Compassion in World Farming, the leading charity advancing the welfare of farm animals worldwide. She is co-editor of The Meat Crisis (second edition 2017).
Carol McKenna is Special Advisor to the Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming and organised the Extinction and Livestock Conference on which this book is based.
"A wide range of experts and policy makers explore innovative ideas and solutions for the future of the planet, with a focus on our health and food systems. I strongly recommend reading this book to anyone interested in a sustainable diet and a healthy environment, as well as animal welfare."
Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
"The weight of evidence for changing the food system is now overwhelming, yet resistance to change is stubborn. We are all part of that. No one likes to think they aren’t in control of what they eat. How can we unlock this mismatch? This book is an important collection of arguments why we must and what needs to happen."
Tim Lang, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London, UK
"The October 2017 'Extinction and Livestock Conference' in London was a ground-breaking event attended by a broad spectrum of experts from many different sectors with varied interests in the impact of livestock farming. It was refreshing to see so many diverse people come together to try and find common ground in a attempt to come up with solutions to the many problems associated with intensive animal agriculture. This book collates those ideas and those of the many experts that were unable to attend this conference. It is an important book that could very well help bring about a fairer, more compassionate and planet-friendly food system, if taken notice of. The opening paragraph of the Introduction is: "There’s a sense of urgency in the air. The evidence for rapid climate change is growing; biodiversity and wildlife are obviously in trouble; the very soils on which we all depend for food are losing their vitality; water is becoming scarce and polluted; and, scandalously, poverty and hunger are still with us. Our planet itself is in turmoil." This urgency needs to be felt by all of us, not just those already in the know ... All decision-makers should read this book if they are ever going to get to grips with why a food-system so entrenched but so damaging needs to change. Lots of great ideas are put forward and the case for veganism is strong. Read this book, share the ideas and live in hope."
Jason Peters, Wildlife Film News Editor
The Extinction and Livestock Conference – the world’s first international event to explore the impact of livestock production on the future of life on Earth – took place on 5 and 6 October 2017 at the QEII Conference Centre in London.
Organised by Compassion in World Farming and WWF-UK, the #extinction17 event saw world-renowned speakers take to the stage to discuss how intensive livestock systems are at the heart of so many problems affecting health, food security, biodiversity, the environment and animal welfare.
The event was the beginning of what will become an international movement working to identify solutions to mend our broken food systems and to ensure that the current climate change targets and the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved in order to save the planet, and secure food for future generations. See www.extinctionconference.com for more information.
Lots going on at Jackson Wild from Jackson Wild
26 March 2019
Call for Entry: 2019 Jackson Wild Media Awards
Entry for the 2019 Jackson Wild Media Awards is open!
We have over 20 categories to enter and all projects completed since 6/1/17 are eligible.
Awarded to the program that most effectively explores animal behavior in a new, fresh, imaginative or authoritative way.
Awarded to the program that most effectively explores a unique habitat and its wildlife.
Awarded to the program that most effectively contributes to an awareness of timely and relevant conservation issues and/or solutions.
PEOPLE & NATURE
Awarded to the program that most effectively explores the interdependent relationship between humans and animals or the environment. ??
Awarded for the best examination of our changing planet, including human impact, the environment, sustainability and climate change.
SCIENCE IN NATURE
Awarded to the program that most effectively incorporates science, the scientific method and scientific discovery into an understanding of some aspect of the natural world.
Awarded to the film that most effectively celebrates the impact of individuals, groups, organizations or movements committed to the protection, awareness or understanding of a species, ecosystem or some other aspect of the natural world.
EDUCATIONAL / INSTITUTIONAL
Awarded to the non-broadcast or commercially distributed program that most successfully educates its audience on some aspect of the natural world. This includes projects created by government agencies, NGOs, universities and other institutions.
LIMITED SERIES - LONG
Awarded to the mini-series with episodes longer than 20 minutes in length, that most effectively advances a natural history theme. Individual episodes may be entered into other categories. Submit two episodes that best represent the series.
LIMITED SERIES - SHORT ?Sponsored by: ARRI
Awarded to the mini-series with episodes shorter than 20 minutes in length, that most effectively advances a natural history theme. Individual episodes may be entered into other categories. Submit three episodes that best represent the series.
Awarded to the program that most effectively inspires an appreciation of the natural world, or issues associated with animals and the environment to young people 6-12 years of age.
HOST / PRESENTER-LED Sponsored by: Vulcan Productions
Awarded to the program that makes the most effective use of a host or presenter in communicating an appreciation and understanding of the natural world.
Awarded to the program, between five and 20 minutes in length (including PSAs, music videos, and campaigns), that best advances an appreciation or understanding of the natural world.
Awarded to the most effective and compelling project under five minutes in length (including PSAs, music videos, and campaigns), that best advances an appreciation or understanding of the natural world.
Awarded to the program created for commercial distribution that best advances an appreciation or understanding of the natural world. This category includes programs distributed in theaters, BluRay/DVD or streamed via the internet.
STUDENT & EMERGING Sponsored by: HHMI Tangled Bank Studios
Presented in recognition of the best program produced by either a first-time filmmaker in the field of natural history production, or a student currently enrolled or no more than 2 years out of an academic program. All entering filmmakers will need to provide proof they are eligible for this category in the form of a student I.D. or statement and resume.
Awarded to the best natural history program created for the immersive platform of Virtual Reality.
Awarded for the combined contribution of sound editing, musical score, production mixing and post-production mixing that most enhances the natural history program of which it is a part.
VISUALIZATION Sponsored by: Fujifilm and Fujinon Lenses
Awarded for the cinematography or computer generated visual storytelling that most enhances the natural history program of which it is a part. If sufficient entries are submitted, organizers/judges may create separate categories.
Awarded for the editing that most enhances the natural history program of which it is a part.
Awarded for the writing that most enhances the natural history program of which it is a part through the union of imagery, storyline, dialog and narration.
Applications for the Jackson Wild Media Lab are LIVE!
Jackson Wild Media Lab is an immersive, cross-disciplinary science filmmaking workshop that brings scientists and media creators together to learn from leaders in the profession.
This highly competitive program will accept up to 16 participants, covering all expenses associated with travel, food and lodging during the workshop and the 2019 Jackson Wild Summit (September 21-27, 2019).
(Please note: Applications are open internationally!)
Jackson Wild believes in the power of media to inspire wonder for our living planet and action to restore and protect it through high-impact collaborations. Since 1991, Jackson’s Summits have drawn together international leaders in science, conservation and cross-platform media. Through its initiatives, Jackson Wild catalyzes original voices and amplifies innovative global collaborations between science, conservation, corporate, public policy and storytelling partners who share its urgency of purpose.
GREEN SCREEN INVITATION: "Pitching Session" 2019
14 March 2019
FRIDAY, SEP, 13 2019
Filmmaking story tellers of the natural world are invited to take advantage of this unique opportunity to pitch their planned project to a board of commissioners, producers and distributors at the PITCHINGSESSION of the International Wildlife Filmfestival GREEN SCREEN 2019.
To participate, the following must be submitted:
An Exposé, describing the project should be described, including approximate shooting time, locations and the people involved.
A short CV.
An approximate budget idea.
If available, a trailer or other footage.
The Pitching Session itself is open to the public and follows international rules:
The presentation of your project may take up to seven minutes.
After that the attending experts and decision makers are invited to evaluate the project and, if applicable, to express their interest.
If you have questions, do get in touch! Pitching directors Annette Scheurich firstname.lastname@example.org and Udo Zimmermann email@example.com are happy to provide further information.
The sooner we know who plans to pitch, the better, even if not all documents are ready.
A pre-selection panel will select 6 to 8 participants for the pitching session from the submitted projects
by 1st August 2019.
Some of the projects that have been presented in recent years are now in production! Participation is in any case an enriching experience!
As the promotion of emerging talent in naturefilm has always been a concern of GREEN SCREEN, submissions by newcomers and ambitious young filmmakers are expressly encouraged. Please feel free to spread the word!
See you at GREEN SCREEN in Eckernförde! September 11th-15th 2019!
Diving tarantulas, camera-shy dingoes: how we filmed ‘Australia: Earth’s Magical Kingdom’
Australia has many fantastic beasts, but getting close enough to film them was a challenge, writes producer Tosca Looby
Natural history film-making can be distinctly unglamorous – we dress in appalling camouflage prints, our cast rarely turn up and, when they do, they may bite, spit or both – and in spite of its breathtaking landscapes and beauty, filming in Australia might well be the least glamorous of all.
We travel vast distances along dirt roads to reach nocturnal animals that scamper for cover at the slightest hint of movement. We take to shark-rich waters to record ocean creatures that may or may not have arrived for their seasonal migration. It’s a hard, frustrating and, mercifully, sometimes gloriously satisfying game of cinematic roulette. Here are some of the creatures we encountered Down Under ...
When asked to imagine Australia many people immediately picture its arid outback, but the continent actually boasts surprisingly varied landscapes.
Travelling from the Snowy Mountains to Queensland, we discover how animals have learned to thrive across the continent’s harsh and beautiful extremes. Its unique wildlife includes tree-dwelling kangaroos, spiders that survive underwater and a bird that spreads fire.
Terra Mater Factual Studios and Off the Fence announce collaboration
14 March 2019
Terra Mater Factual Studios (TMFS), a subsidiary of Red Bull, and Off the Fence B.V. (OTF), a subsidiary of ZDF Enterprises, have agreed on a global, multi-year deal, which will see OTF distribute TMFS’ present and future TV catalogue.
As of the 1st of April 2019, OTF will begin representing TMFS’ programming and showcase the multi-awarded portfolio for the first time at MipTV 2019 in Cannes, where the two companies will welcome their clients and partners at their adjacent booths. TMFS’ top factual programming highlights for MIPTV include ‘Whale Wisdom’, guided by four-time Emmy-award winning director Rick Rosenthal, jaw-dropping ‘Borneo – Earth’s ancient Isle’ about a place not like any others and ‘The Sun – Inferno in the Sky’, showing latest developments in solar research.
The two factual content specialists share a similar vision and look forward to this groundbreaking partnership.
Terra Mater Factual Studios are one of the major players in the business of nature film. The production company, located in Vienna/Austria, is well known for its high-quality factual programming in the core-genres of Nature, Science and History. Since its inception in 2011, TMFS has created a diverse portfolio of more than 180 hours, honored with approximately 250 international awards including Wildscreen’s Golden Panda, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s Grand Teton, and New York Festivals’ Grand Award. In 2017, its feature doc ‘The Ivory Game’ was on the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences’ Shortlist for the Oscars. TMFS’ latest coup was the prestigious Audience Award at Sundance Festival 2019 for its fresh feature doc ‘Sea of Shadows’. The highly experienced and dedicated team behind this success story is headed by Walter Köhler, CEO and founder of Terra Mater Factual Studios. Köhler’s and his colleagues’ commitment to amazing storytelling, visual excellence, technical innovation and social responsibility shows up in engaging films about our planet.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary at MIPTV this year, based in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and with a catalogue of over 6,500 hours of premium unscripted content, Off the Fence is one of the world’s leading distributors focusing exclusively on high-end factual productions. The company already counts globally-celebrated brands such as the Smithsonian Channel, We TV, Tangled Bank Studios, Arrow Media, BBC Studios, National Geographic Television, Vulcan Productions, NHU Africa, Bonne Pioche, Windfall Films, and Aquavision/Lion Mountain Television, among many others, as part of the content it distributes. The company also runs Bristol (UK) and Amsterdam (NL)-based production studios from which it has produced over 500 hours of content, which has gathered over 80 international awards. Finally, Off the Fence announced at Wild Screen 2018 that it would soon be launching the WaterBear Network (www.waterbear.com), the world’s first VOD platform dedicated to our future on this planet, an announcement that was briefly followed by a second one celebrating its acquisition by ZDF Enterprises at the start of 2019.
TMFS and OTF productionsshare a common passion for high-end natural history, campaign-driven content, which spreads a message of conservation and aims to change audiences’ attitudes towards the natural world. Both companies acknowledge the need to show viewers the beauty of nature and highlight the urgency of saving life on our planet.
Walter Köhler, CEO of Terra Mater Factual Studios, stated: “If you bundle a 25-year-old distributor and a nearly 10-year-old production company with a team working in the market since another 25 years, you get a unique power pack full of experience, knowledge and dedication. I am very delighted that we found our perfect match in Off the Fence and can strengthen our business in the specialist factual TV market together, which is the next logical step in our development. It is a great relationship with like-minded people, which I am personally very happy to announce.”
Ellen Windemuth, CEO of Off the Fence, said: “We immensely look forward to this partnership with our colleagues at Terra Mater Factual Studios on the marketing and distribution of their beautiful films. This collaborative bond and the high and consistent quality of TMFS’ output, paired with our commitment to offer the best service in the business, constitute a watershed.
About Terra Mater Factual Studios: Terra Mater Factual Studios were founded January 1st, 2011 and are based in Vienna, Austria. The full-blown production unit is a subsidiary company of Red Bull and specializes in premium factual programming for TV, multimedia platforms and theatrical release. TMFS are committed to the highest production values regarding visual excellence, innovative technology and amazing storytelling. Core genres are nature, science and history presented in blue-chip primetime series and specials. The production company also brings together a wide array of genres and styles to create exciting new factual and entertainment formats. For the big screen, TMFS produce stories that are highly relevant and strongly rooted in reality: from the classical feature doc to wild drama, where nature plays the main role, further on to fiction films, where real stories are the matrix for our scripts.
TMFS’ diverse portfolio contains more than 180 hours, honored with almost 250 international film festival awards and 300 nominations. In 2017, its feature doc ‘The Ivory Game’ was on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Shortlist for the Oscars. TMFS’ latest coup was the prestigious Audience Award at Sundance Festival 2019 for its fresh feature doc ‘Sea of Shadows’..
TMFS collaborate with the best producers, cameramen and directors worldwide, who make TMFS productions a unique viewing experience by latest cutting-edge equipment, fascinating cinematography and unconventional editing. TMFS embrace state-of-the art recording technologies, from super-slow motion to super-time-lapse to reveal Nano-second events and processes normally invisible to the naked eye. Images generated by electron microscopes and computer animation explore the wonders of the microcosm. Special cameras turn night into day. Endoscopes and medical scanners take the viewers inside living organisms. And HDTV is enhanced by a new dimension – 4K at its best. All these ingredients are woven together by amazing storytellers, highlighting real-life-tales and using the dramatic narration dynamics of the feature film while upholding the principles of factual programming.
As dedicated nature filmmakers, Terra Mater Factual Studios are aware of their responsibility to shed a light on fragile parts of the world, to give a voice to threatened species and to make a positive impact on our precious planet. TMFS’ credo: We need to be able to learn from the mistakes that were made, for our own sake and that of generations to come.
About Off the Fence: Based in Amsterdam and wholly-owned by ZDF Enterprises, Off the Fence is one of the world’s leading factual distribution companies with a catalogue of over 6,500 hours of diverse programming across the Wildlife, Science, History, Travel, Crime, People & Culture and Lifestyle genres. With 25 years of experience, Off the Fence distributes high-quality programming to clients worldwide and has exclusive agreements with the Smithsonian Channel, We TV and also distributes its own content produced out of its Bristol and Amsterdam studios. Off the Fence Productions is an award-winning, producer of factual television and has created more than 500 hours of television content for a wide range of international broadcasters. Visit Off the Fence’ Website for more information.
Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Goes Annual For Impact: A New Name & Mission from Jackson Wild
13 March 2019
The need for public action to influence policy-making has never been more crucial. Media engages public audiences as well as core influencers with important living science and conservation stories to protect and restore our planet while the window of opportunity to succeed still exists.
Evolving from its founding mission to celebrate and amplify excellence in nature filmmaking, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival has now become Jackson Wild. Jackson Wild provides a dynamic platform for cross-sector collaborations in global conservation and high impact storytelling. The organization will direct its resources to ignite original voices, create and enhance innovative alliances between science, conservation, corporate, public policy and storytellers who share this urgency of purpose.
Staying true to its core mission, the Jackson Wild Board of Directors specifically identified the importance of convening the Jackson Wild Summit, (formerly the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival & Conservation Summit), annually rather than biennially. Two years between convenings is simply too long when media technology, distribution platforms and programming priorities shift so rapidly.
Board Chairperson Ellen Windemuth elaborated, “We unanimously decided that now is the time to concentrate on four pillars of engagement. These impact strategies will be evident at the Jackson Wild Summit each year and will be woven into several partner summits throughout the globe.”
Jackson Wild’s four pillars of engagement include:
The Jackson Wild Summit is an extraordinary annual convening where collaboration and innovation thrive, and new ideas are launched. Cross-disciplinary conversations on the critical issues facing our planet set the stage for strategic partnerships that happen nowhere else, as participants work together to address conservation and environmental challenges. In 2019, the conservation focus will be Living Oceans. Partner summits around the world will echo this conservation theme, broadening reach and deepening global impact.
Media today deepens understanding of the world around us, inspires commitment to protect and restore the natural systems upon which all life depends and empowers the radical changes that will be required. The nature equivalent to the Oscars®, the Jackson Wild Media Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in science and nature storytelling. In addition to media, the Jackson Wild Legacy Awards recognize visionary filmmakers, conservationists, scientists and thought leaders.
Stories connect us to the planet and to each other. It’s critical to bring diverse voices that bear witness to the world through unique and authentic stories. The Jackson Wild Media Lab will train and mentor emerging conservation media leaders in unique programs that directly engage them with the most influential content creators from around the globe. Beginning in Southern Africa and Latin America, Jackson Wild is working with local organizers to globalize the voices of young filmmakers.
Jackson Wild works with UN agencies and global partners to empower locally-driven engagement that inspires action. The annual World Wildlife Day Film Showcase creates a portfolio of programs selected from 250+ entries, that are presented globally at special screening events through Jackson Wild on Tour. Working closely with CITES, the UN Environment and UN Development Programme Jackson Wild furthers deep-impact media strands at a series of high level global convenings in 2019-20 where world leaders address critical environmental, social and economic challenges.
“Taking Jackson Wild to a global stage helps us do what we do best as we elevate conservation issues and the critical work being done to restore and protect our planet through the power of innovative storytelling” described Executive Director Lisa Samford.
Jackson Wild believes in the power of media to inspire wonder for our living planet and action to restore and protect it through high-impact collaborations. Since 1991, Jackson’s Summits have drawn together international leaders in science, conservation and cross-platform media. Through its initiatives, Jackson Wild catalyzes original voices and amplifies innovative global collaborations between science, conservation, corporate, public policy and storytelling partners who share its urgency of purpose.
Exploring Beneath The Waves: Behind The Scenes of the “Over The Horizon” 10th Anniversary Music Video
Included in all 2019 Samsung Galaxy smartphones, including the new Galaxy S10 line, this year’s version of the “Over the Horizon” theme marks the latest in a series that has seen renowned talents from all over the music industry concoct their own dynamic reworkings of the Samsung brand sound year on year.
Arranged by Academy Award-winning composer Steven Price, this latest orchestral reworking of ‘Over the Horizon’ includes an epic video featuring members of the London Philharmonia Orchestra performing against an awe-inspiring oceanic backdrop.
These stunning underwater shots were filmed on location just off of Sipadan Island, Malaysia, following Guinness World Record-holding free diver Ai Futaki as she explores the beauty, depth and majestic populations found in the world’s oceans.
Inspired by the wonder of life beneath the waves, the 2019 ‘Over the Horizon’ tune and music video bring to mind the importance of protecting our planet’s oceans so that they can be kept pristine for the next generation. In exclusive footage from the making of the music video, spreading the message of the importance of ocean conservation emerges as a cause close to the heart of all who were involved. “Hopefully we can inspire people to help the oceans themselves,” avows Price.
Take a look at the video below for a behind-the-scenes peek into how this astonishing film was made and the importance of its message, showcasing Price, Film Director James Brickell and the London Philharmonia setting up to record in the renowned Abbey Road Studios in London, as well as nature filmmaker Scubazoo CEO, Simon Enderby and Futaki on location at Sipadan Island.
UN celebrates marine species for World Wildlife Day with moving pictures ... Winners of Living Oceans Showcase announced at UN Headquarters via JHWFF, CITES & UNDP
1 March 2019
Jackson Hole WILD, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP announced today the winners of the World Wildlife Day 2019 Living Oceans Showcase. Captivating stories about marine species will now hit the big screen and your mobile devices as the world celebrates World Wildlife Day 2019 under the theme “Life below water: for people and planet”.
Ocean and marine wildlife have captured the imagination of humans almost since the beginning of civilization – and the rich bounty the ocean provides has sustained human development throughout the ages. Despite their importance for sustainable development, marine species are facing many threats and need our immediate attention if we want to ensure that they can continue to fulfill their important and multiple roles during our lifetimes and for future generations.
To emphasize the importance of this issue, Jackson Hole Wild, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP have come together once again to organize a film showcase for World Wildlife Day. This year, they put the world’s marine species under the spotlight to highlight the problems we are facing and the ideas we can use to tackle them.
These stories went beyond simply being visually mesmerizing and engaging. They show the challenges facing these iconic species, including destructive fishing practices, climate change and pollution, and they feature the front-line heroes and the solutions that are necessary if we are going to be able to reduce the threats to the species and the oceans where they live.
The film showcase attracted more than 235 entries, and they were reviewed by 65 preliminary judges to determine the 25 finalists. The short list then was passed on to the final judging panel, which selected the winners from among the 25 finalists.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “We are immensely grateful to all the filmmakers for submitting their wonderful works of cinematography. By using the power of media, we can catalyze deeper understanding of the importance of life below water and the chances to ensure the sustainable use of marine species. CITES provides a safety net for our threatened marine life and it has a long history of regulating international trade in marine species to ensure that this trade does not threaten their survival. On this World Wildlife Day, let’s recognize the positive contributions that life below water makes to our everyday lives and – no matter who we are or where we are – make conscious decisions to ensure that it can continue to do so for generations to come.”
Jackson Hole WILD Executive Director Lisa Samford said: "It is not enough to just care about nature. Our aim is to inspire action necessary to restore and protect the planet's essential resources. These films do precisely that."
Andrew Hudson, Head of UNDP Water and Ocean Governance Programme, said: “Global efforts to increase awareness and catalyze new investments in marine conservation depend on powerful, evidence-based advocacy campaigns. This year’s winners of the Living Oceans Film Showcase demonstrate the power of film to touch our hearts and minds and move us to greater action.”
Winners of the Living Oceans Film Showcase in the 6 categories are:
Mission Blue- A Netflix Original Documentary-Insurgent Media-True Blue Films-Diamond Docs
A Feather to Kill - BlueVoice in association with Mundo Azul and OceanCare Chasing The Thunder - Brick City TV and Vulcan Productions, Discovery SHARK GIRL - Kaufmann Productions Pty Ltd
Humpback Whales: A Detective Story - Tom Mustill/Gripping Filmsfor BBC Natural World and PBS Nature Jago: A Life Underwater - Produced by James Reed for Underdog Films. In association with James Morgan Films, Fantomline Films and Vistaar Productions.
Huntwatch - Produced by IFAW Racing Extinction - Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society Film In association with Vulcan Productions, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP's Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, and Insurgent Docs
My Octopus Teacher - Sea Change Project & Off the Fence - A ZDFE company SHARK-Episode 1 - BBC, BBC Worldwide, Discovery Whale Wisdom - A TERRA MATER FACTUAL STUDIOS production in co-production with DOCLIGHTS / NDR NATURFILM in association with ARTE FRANCE / Unite Decouverte et Connaissance produced by WILD LOGIC
The Secret Life of Plankton - Parafilms, Tara Expeditions Foundation, TEDed A Place For Penguins - Tom Parry in association with the University of the West of England Treasures From The Tides - Catherine Brookes in association with the University of the West of England
Into the Deep Unknown - Novus Select /bioGraphic Our Underwater States of America - OceanX, Bloomberg Philanthropies Radio Free Orca - Great Big Story The Edge - Steer Films / 333 Productions The Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing, Eye-Popping Mantis Shrimp | Deep Look - KQED, PBS Digital Studios
Both winners and finalist films will be subsequently showcased extensively to raise global awareness of the importance of marine species and the critical challenges they face at community screening events presented by partners throughout the world, including free educational screening events for students as well as for local communities around the world to take action to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.
This video is produced by Taegen Yardley, a student at Stowe High School (Vermont, USA) to support the celebration of World Wildlife Day 2019 and to raise awareness of the benefits of marines species and the various threats facing them.
With 183 Parties (182 countries + the European Union), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, health care, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES regulates international trade in over 36,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.
About Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
Jackson Hole Wild programs promote public awareness and stewardship of wildlife and wildlife habitat through the innovative use of media. Since 1991, its annual conferences draw together international leaders in science, conservation, broadcasting and media. For three days in 2017, committed wild cats advocates convened for the Jackson Hole Conservation Summit (21-27 September), to share resources and strategies, address critical challenges and brainstorm innovative approaches for collaboration. They will join 650+ of the world’s most influential filmmakers and commissioners at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival to celebrate the world’s finest nature programming and explore innovative ways to integrate media centrally into the battle against global wildlife crime.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org
About the United Nations World Wildlife Day
On 20 December 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. World Wildlife Day has quickly become the most prominent global annual event dedicated to wildlife. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the various challenges faced by these species. The day also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
World Wildlife Day 2019: The 15 Biggest Threats to the World’s Oceans ... And what you can do to help save them.
For the first time, the UN’s World Wildlife Day is highlighting threats to marine life. The theme of World Wildlife Day 2019, which takes place on March 3, is 'Life below water: for people and planet'. The title is a nod to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water, which focuses on protecting marine species.
“Oceans regulate our climate, produce half the oxygen we breathe, provide nourishment for [more than] 3 billion people, and absorb 30 percent of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and fully 90 percent of the heat from climate change,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary-General, in November when the theme was announced.
UN World Wildlife Day was established in 2013, with the first event taking place in 2015. Its mission is to “celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora.” Activities, film screenings and art contests are taking place across the world to draw attention to this year’s theme, including an event at UN Headquarters in New York.
Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and make up more than 99 percent of the planet’s livable habitat, but scientists say they’re in serious trouble. The first systematic analysis of marine wilderness, published in the journal Current Biology in 2018, found that the ocean has been extensively altered due to human activity, with only 13 percent left undisturbed.
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World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Living Oceans - Finalists Announced! from JHWFF CITES & UNDP
14 February 2019
Jackson Hole Wild, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the finalists of the World Wildlife Day 2019 Living Oceans Showcase, 3 weeks before World Wildlife Day (3 March). Final winners will be announced at U.N. Headquarters in New York at a high-level event on 1 March to celebrate World Wildlife Day 2019.
The ocean and “life below water” have sustained human civilization and development for millennia. Despite their importance for sustainable development, marine species are facing various threats and are in need of our immediate attention if we want to ensure that they can continue to fulfill that role during our lifetimes and for future generations. To emphasize the importance of this issue, Jackson Hole Wild, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP have come together once again to organize a film showcase for World Wildlife Day. This year, the theme “Life Below Water: For People and Planet” will spotlight threatened species, highlight the problems we are facing and the ideas we can use to tackle them.
The judges – professional filmmakers, marine biologists and stakeholders from around the world – chose the finalists from more than 235 entries in 6 categories:
People and Oceans
Ocean Issues and Solutions
The full list of finalists is indicated below. Both winners and finalist films will be subsequently showcased extensively to raise global awareness of the importance of marine species and the critical challenges they face at community screening events presented by partners throughout the world, including free educational screening events for students as well as for local communities around the world to take action to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “We are most grateful to all the filmmakers for submitting their wonderful works. By using the power of media, we can catalyze deeper understanding of the importance of life below water and the chances to ensure the sustainable use of marine species. CITES provides a safety net for our threatened marine life and it has a long history of regulating international trade in marine species to ensure that this trade does not threaten their survival. On this World Wildlife Day, let’s recognize the positive contributions that life below water makes to our everyday lives and – no matter who we are or where we are – make conscious decisions to ensure that it can continue to do so for generations to come.”
“We applaud the storytellers behind these visually beautiful and evocative films,” says Jackson Hole Wild Executive Director, Lisa Samford. “The power of media is certain to draw attention to the urgent threats facing the world’s ocean ecosystems and species and inspire action necessary to restore and protect them.”
World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Living Oceans Finalists are:
ECOSTREAMZ - the new streaming service for the ethically minded viewer, one year on. By Jason Peters via ECOSTREAMZ
1 February 2019
ECOSTREAMZ launched in February 2018 as a new digital streaming platform, similar to Netflix and Hulu, whose solitary goal is to provide easy access to important films and media dealing with environmental, social justice and wildlife conservation issues. In this day, when so much is happening at breakneck speed, it is now more critical than ever to be well informed. ECOSTREAMZ’ mission is to become THE media clearinghouse for the activist community to learn from, grow and come away being able to make a positive difference in this world.
One year on and the platform is going from strength to strength.
When it comes to environmental and human rights-themed factual content, ECOSTREAMZ is the quintessential source, if not at the forefront, catering to the wildlife conservationist, the environmentalist, the activist. An all-access streaming facilitator for must-watch documentaries to learn, grow, and contribute to our global sustenance.
ECOSTREAMZ is committed to keeping its viewers well fed by streaming content that covers wide-reaching topical subjects from activism, biodiversity, climate change and the environment, to social justice and human rights. It’s all there for any streaming subscriber who cares; the typical ECOSTREAMZ audience.
According to ECOSTREAMZ Founder and CEO, James Branchflower, “While we are living in a time with more available content, it comes however with more clutter and confusion than ever. Viewers seeking a subscriber-friendly, go-to source on a specific issue can now easily find important awareness raising documentaries of choice via our innovative streaming platform.”
ECOSTREAMZ sets new standard. As the proud host of critically acclaimed films, ECOSTREAMZ features stories that matter, touch the spirit, and make a difference. The top- ranked streaming provider is recognized as a one-stop clearinghouse offering must-see eco- social digital programming and other media. All part of its mission to awaken humanity with awe, wonder, and an innate potential to do more.
A prime example of doing more, and sharing in the ECOSTREAMZ vision, is Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace – who joined the streamer’s Advisory Board last Summer.
Subscribe. Learn. Act. ECOSTREAMZ’ groundbreaking wave of documentary storytelling further expands its playing field with distinguished streaming partners – some of the most renowned documentary and independent film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Subscribers can enjoy and benefit from many award-winning films shortly following their initial festival run. Some currently featured films enjoying high demand on ECOSTEAMZ include: “Blood Lions,” “God in Shackles,” “Tainted Love,” “Ofir: A Wildlife Crime Documentary,” and “Silencing the Thunder,” among a whole line-up of other must-watch highly praised films.
Participating partners further include: Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Animal Rights Film Festival, International Wildlife Film Festival, DC Environmental Film Festival, The Borneo Project, International Primate Protection League, and the Freeland Foundation, among others.
ECOSTREAMZ is a staunch advocate providing filmmakers the means to get their projects out to the public. “These passionate auteurs have important messages to convey, whether inspirational or cautionary, about our world,” states Branchflower. “We are there to help promote and distribute their films to the widest possible audience.”
Partnerships – We’re not just a collection of movies. If you browse our site, you will notice we are aligning ourselves with organizations all over the globe covering a wide variety of issues. Through these partnerships, we provide organizations a wider audience by hosting their videos on our platform which can ultimately translate into more donors for the non-profit. Additionally, we promote our partners in newsletters and all appropriate press material. Organizations even have the opportunity to receive quarterly royalties based upon viewership of their videos during the prior period, see below. Some of our current partners include: International Primate Protection League, Ape Alliance, Gorilla Foundation, ALERT, CAPE (Center for Animal Protection and Education), SYRCL (South Yuba River Citizen’s League), the Borneo Project, In Defense of Animals, WildAid and most recently IISD (the environmental reporting service for the United Nations).
Revenue Share – We give back. In fact, we give back more than most streaming services….80% of net revenue goes directly back to the filmmakers and/or organizations through a quarterly revenue share of films and media viewed during that period. Most streaming services only offer royalty percentages of between 25% and 50% net.
Member discounts – We offer our partner’s members discounts on subscriptions to ECOSTREAMZ. Anywhere from 25% to 50% off the already low monthly subscription rate of $3.99.
Singular Focus – Our only concern is making the world a better place. We are accomplishing this by presenting the most diverse collection of issue-related content anywhere. For that reason, our platform contains films both short and long and from all parts of the world. Some have received awards and some may be well known. But most you will never see anyplace else but on our site. This is due to the fact that we do not acquire films based on their popularity, but rather, on what they can offer the world in terms of a change message.
If you are interested in having ECOSTREAMZ host your films or if you wish to become a sponsoring organization, please contact Founder and CEO, James Branchflower, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Mustill's Humpback Whales - A Detective Story By Jason Peters
31 January 2019
Wildlife film-maker Tom Mustill was almost killed by a Humpback Whale while kayaking in California. Now he turns detective to try to find the whale and discover what it was doing.
On the 12th of September 2015 in Monterey Bay California, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and his friend Charlotte Kinloch as they paddled a sea kayak. Incredibly, both survived the incident. This near-death experience haunted documen- tary maker Tom, and left him wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them.
To find the answer, in 2018 Tom returned to California to investigate. He meets those who’ve survived similar hair-raising encounters, and the experts who know the whales best – and what he discovers raises far bigger questions - not just about what happened that day but also about our relationship with whales and their future alongside us.
In 2015, Tom Mustill was kayaking in Monterey Bay with his friend Charlotte Kinloch when a 30-ton Humpback Whale leapt out of the water and landed on top of them, dragging them underwater.
They somehow survived. Their near-death experience was filmed by a tourist and the video went viral, making headlines across the world.
The story might have ended there, but Tom is a wildlife film-maker - his job is to film science and animal stories – and he became obsessed with trying to figure out what happened to him. Now Tom returns to California on a detective mission to figure out who the whale was, and why it almost ended his life.
The film takes place in Monterey Bay, California. This is one of the global epicentres of whale-watching and whale research. The coast used to be a centre for whaling activities, but now whale populations have been increasing.
Running through Monterey Bay is a huge underwater canyon, on the scale of the Grand Can- yon - this canyon runs right to the shore. Here, there is an enormous and rich food chain, from algae to sharks to enormous schools of fish and jellyfish to sea otters to whales. The bay is so rich in marine life it is known as the Blue Serengeti.
But humans use these waters too, container ships drive across it, fishermen fish in it and tourists are drawn in their tens of thousands. Sometimes the lives of the whales and the humans collide. But the opportunity to see whales in such reliable numbers has meant sci- entists have been making extraordinary discoveries about the whales here too.
Tom is a 35 year-old wildlife and science filmmaker. He specialises in telling stories about where humans and the natural world meet. He’s worked with David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and wildlife heroes across the world.
His films have won over 20 awards and they include other BBC Natural World programmes such as smash-hit Kangaroo Dundee, The Bat Man of Mexico and Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants which was nominated for an EMMY.
Before then he directed the special episodes among others of the genre-busting BAFTA, RTS and Broadcast-award winning series Inside Nature’s Giants.
We asked Tom a couple of questions:
In your bio it says that you "specialise in telling stories about where humans and the natural world meet” … How important to you is the human element in natural history story-telling?
The human element is the most important for me in natural history story-telling. Without it how can we feel part of the same world, and feel connected to nature rather than just spectators of it? As well as showing the world as it is - a tangle of humans and other living things - I think it's very important to show humans who have an intimate connection to it themselves. By telling stories about nature that follow people I hope that I can connect wider and more diverse audiences to these stories and animals. And I think that these stories can be moving and powerful wildlife films, without having to anthropomorphise or make soap operas of animals lives.
So far it’s been kangaroos, bats and giraffes … very different species conservation stories, with equally different humans. How will you go about finding your next filming subject … Does it usually start with the animal, as surely it did with the whale, or can it start with the human?
With all of these stories it started with the human. Natural Worlds are an hour long, sometimes it's not enough to just have an animal people are excited to watch - you also need an engaging and sympathetic character, and you need to follow them while something unusual and challenging is happening. When I met Brolga (Kangaroo Dundee), Rodrigo (The Bat Man) and Julian (Giraffes: Africa's Gentle Giants) in each case I thought 'fantastic! the elements are there'. It's also really important to get on well with the people you decide to pitch films about - you're going to be spending a lot of time together. I've learnt a great deal from the humans in all these films, as well as from being around the marvellous animals. With the whale film it was definitely different - the whale chose me! But again, the story hinged on people. With this film rather than having a single protagonist I wanted to try and make a film about a community - like Robert Altman often did in his feature films, and I wanted to link them together with the whales they so love.
Despite Borneo being home to up to 21 different primate species, there is one that stands head, nose and shoulders above the rest... the famous proboscis monkey. Alex joins primatologist Maz on a mission to spot the world's weirdest looking monkey.
STROOP - journey into the rhino horn war … Members Susan Scott and Bonné de Bod on a mission to make a difference in the South African rhino poaching crisis. By Jason Peters via SDBFilms
27 January 2019
Two film-makers stop their lives to make a film about the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. Carving out six months for the project, the women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.
Two first-time film-makers explore the war for rhino horn. Initially setting out on a six-month project, the duo leave their jobs, sell their homes, even move in with their mothers while they quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.
In this roller-coaster ride between Africa and Asia, the women embed themselves on the front- lines of a species genocide where they are given exclusive access to the enforcement aspect of the fight. From rangers, pilots and K9 units patrolling the hardest hit national parks to elite police units raiding wildlife trafficking dens in major cities... they find themselves in some hair-raising situations.
They also take an uncomfortable look at the role that apartheid played in marginalizing indigenous people who have been excluded from their wildlife heritage but live side-by-side with ranger families while poaching syndicates operate in their villages. These bush frontier areas are also home to packed courtrooms where the surrounding community come out to support their local “Robin Hood”. Unprecedented access is given over the years to the state prosecutors working in these dingy courtrooms who must fight well-oiled and wealthy defense teams in a flawed justice system.
Survivors of rhino poaching, also challenge the system and come in two versions. Both are hard to spend time with, but this is done through the eyes of the saviours: the vets who choose not to euthanize but use groundbreaking techniques to give patients a second chance. Then there are those who have been orphaned after watching their mothers die at the hands of humans. And yet, they must accept the help of humans to live. One such human suffers a brutal attack when poachers return to the orphanage to kill the survivors.
At the demand site in Asia, the women venture deep undercover, filming in repressed, totalitarian regimes where every day means staying ahead of communist party monitors as well as enduring dangerous encounters with illegal wildlife dealers. On their return, they work with a Vietnamese researcher bravely trying to expose rhino horn sales inside African markets. Like the filmmakers in her hometown, she now takes great risks in their city to show that illegal trade is everywhere.
Desire for rhino horn is made all the more complex by the journey the filmmakers take to the countryside where ownership... of land and rhinos, is viewed as a right. Desperate to trade legally the farmers sue the government but on the other side of all of this is an activist’s journey to fight legal trade. She also takes it to the courtrooms and then on to the streets with protest marches. Internationally a red line of trade has been set-up by nations tussling with each other and the filmmakers wade right into this no-go area, spending time with the elite power-brokers who can change, for better or worse, the plight of the planet’s last living rhinos.
Award wins to date:
San Francisco Green Film Festival - The Green Tenacity Award
Santa Cruz Film Festival - Spirit of Action Feature Film Award
San Pedro International Film Festival - Best Documentary Award
Glendale International Film Festival - Best Female Filmmaker Award
LA Femme International Film Festival - Special Focus Documentary Award
San Diego International Film Festival - Best Documentary Award
Mystic Film Festival - Best International Documentary Award
Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam - Newcomer Award
Berlin Courage Film Festival - Best Documentary Award and The Courage Award for Most Courageous Film
Susan and Bonné have been mindfull of different events around the world focussing on rhinos:
September is World Rhino Month while World Rhino Day is on September 22nd.
The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference (#endwildlifecrime) was held in London on the 11th and 12th October 2018
CoP CITES 18 will be held in Sri Lanka in May 2019. It is here that the world will vote to allow legal international trade in rhino horn. STROOP focuses on the battle between both sides to sway voters at the next CoP.
South Africa has had a decline in rhino poaching numbers over the past two years and in January next year, the stats for 2018 will be released and it is expected that they will be lower. This may be due to fewer rhinos though as the Kruger census results are also delayed.
China recently lifted their 1993 ban on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), stating that rhino horn would be used as medicine in state hospitals. This TCM usage features heavily in STROOP, and after a week of public outcry the Chinese government announced they would postpone the lifting of the ban.
STROOP focuses on the usage of libation cups in Asia and the history behind the antique cups for sale at many prestigious auction houses around the world. Bonhams auction house in Hong Kong have now halted sales of rhino horn libation cups after public outrage.
In making this film about the rhino poaching crisis, I initially thought it would be all about the rhinos, but it’s actually become about the people around the animal. Those whose lives have been irrevocably changed because of conditions brought about... not ecological management or natural events... but wholly due to anthropogenic activities. So while the animal, the rhino, is the basis for the story, the structure of the film is interwoven between us - the filmmakers as well as the key characters who help us understand the gravity of the situation and how rhino poaching is impacting human lives. Gaining access to characters was almost impossible at the beginning of the shoot, as many feared that the criminal syndicates would watch the film. So the challenge was to film the story without giving anything away in terms of security. We have managed to do this through gaining trust over time with the characters, and not cluttering the narrative with the “how” but rather telling “how it impacts”. The characters not only gave us access to national parks, courtrooms, farms, orphanages and undercover traders in Asia, they also let their walls down to show their own personal journey in the war.
I do think the fact that we were women helped immensely! We were trusted easily and many times in filming in sensitive locations with nervous characters, it was just myself behind camera and then Bonné with the character/s. Bonné is well known as a credible wildlife presenter/ journalist in South Africa, so the two of us were able to get the intimate moments we needed to tell this never before seen story.
I took a decision early on not to have drones, big cameras, elaborate equipment... as I wanted a tight, close and rough handheld feel to our journey with these characters and it somehow works. We’ve managed to achieve it. By working with small, unobtrusive cameras, we have been able to capture incredible scenes filled with raw emotion.
I was an editor for nearly two decades, so I know that any film is made in the cutting room. While we are cutting the film, we are focusing on two initial things: subtitling and pacing of emotion. Subtitling is key as there are six languages in the film and some of the major emotional moments are driven in a non-English language. So rather than subtitling at the end, we are subtitling in edit to allow the pacing of reading to inform the narrative which impacts the shot flow. Vectors are vital in this process. This time spent in edit, creates comfortable vector flow not only within the frame, which is hugely influenced by where the eyes are in reading a shot... which means of course, there has to be a flow between frames. So this inter and intra-frame balance is vital in delivering all the information given in a comfortable way. In very difficult, tough to witness moments, we, the audience will view the scene through the eyes of the character through stylized moving art that has been created by our art director. I felt it was vital, as it allows us in to these awful moments without turning away from the brutality of it.
Coming from a broadcast background, it was important that Bonné and I make this film without commercial influence. STROOP has been self-funded, crowd-funded and grants sourced, due to the highly politicized trade issue. We have been offered funding for the film from organizations on either side of the issue and we have refused funding from those organizations as we cannot have the film influenced in any way. It’s taken four long years, but I know we have the soul, the essence of the rhino story here.
Q&A with Bonné de Bod
South African's and others know you as an award-winning television presenter Bonné, but what is your story!?
We all wish to leave the space we occupy in a better place and although it’s trite perhaps to say we can make a difference... I guess for me it was the ability to take my passion and love for the natural world and share this with people on-screen. Television and film has a huge impact on the world and we can use that to make people all over the world understand and appreciate the beauty of nature. Without looking into the eyes of a rhino or an elephant through the stories we tell and the pictures we show, a lot of people will not know what we are talking about and just would not care. And I don’t know why there has been a split recently between conservation and nature... it’s simple, without conservation, nature fails.
So yes, from a young age, I had a passion to bring nature’s wonders into living rooms, and hopefully change people’s perspective of the natural world. Nature is not separate from us, it is us. The dignity of a rhino is everywhere, in all things. All that society needs is a little reminder. As far as a pivotal event regarding rhinos, I mean we are all aware of the rhino poaching crisis and especially me as a wildlife television presenter on SABC for the past decade on the national broadcaster’s flagship environment program, 50/50. It was actually during one of these stories I did on the rhino poaching crisis, four years ago, when I realized that I needed to do something more.
We were filming a story in the Kruger National Park and we were taken to a double carcass. When we got the crime scene, the producer of the story told me to sit in between these two carcasses and deliver my lines to camera, a link, something that will link the viewers at home to the scene around me. At that moment I was confronted with so many emotions and questions... How can humanity be so unbelievably cruel? And how can we allow this? It was right there and then when I knew that I had to do something to slow the slaughter and the eradication of this beautiful, iconic animal. And that’s where the idea for a documentary feature film on the rhino poaching crisis was born. An independent film with no censorship or broadcast sensitivities, a publicly owned film where we can show all the aspects surrounding this very complex situation.
I believe the film has taken four years to make?
STROOP was initially a six month project, but I think when myself and the director of the film, Susan Scott, started filming we had no idea just how many layers the rhino situation really has. So, four years later, quitting our jobs with broadcasters, selling our homes, cashing in our investments and moving in with our mothers... well, it has certainly become that cliché... a passion project!
STROOP is an in-depth look at the world of rhino poaching and everything in between. From the battlegrounds in the Kruger National Park and Hluluwe iMfolozi in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the two hardest hit areas in South Africa, where we have been given unprecedented access to the rangers, forensic teams and crime scenes, to the dingy court rooms where we follow the work of three state prosecutors working against well-paid defence teams and a justice system that is slow at the best of times. We follow the police on busts and spend time with private rhino owners. We follow the journey of little orphans who have lost their mothers to poaching and the rehabilitators who try everything to get them back into the wild. We look at the controversial topic of legal trade in rhino horn and then we take the viewer straight to the dark underground backrooms of Vietnamese and Chinese smugglers and of course directly to the rhino horn users.
STROOP looks at the heart of the crisis and gives answers to the questions we all have. We are making this film so that no one can say they didn’t know. And I guess that’s why it took so long... we had to make sure we had covered it all. Susan always said, it doesn’t have to be in the film, but we have to know about it and understand the complexities... and then it can die on the cutting room floor. She is an editor after all, so she wants to have all the story intricacies at her fingertips before refining... but I did put my foot down when she wanted to film another aspect during our colour grade!
What has been the hardest thing?
I’ve had many ups and downs investigating this ‘world of greed’. The most difficult part is witnessing what we, as humans, are capable of. But I’m optimistic at heart. If I wasn’t I couldn’t continue. But having said that, it does get to one, I cannot hide that. I’ve attended the scenes of many murdered rhino, I’ve seen rhinos still alive with half hacked off faces...what unbelievable pain. It shocks you to your core to see that, to witness that, to hear that terrible sound of suffering. The cruelty is totally beyond anything I can think up. Pure evil and human greed. And I do sometimes wonder when, if ever, we will defeat it. But then I remember why I’m doing this, why I’m making this film. This is a creature of God. Such a beautiful creature... the second largest animal on land. We, as humans, have a moral responsibility to protect them, to protect all living species, it is simply the right thing to do. You step away from yourself, from the ego and selfishness that’s within us all...it’s not about us, it’s about them. And as soon as you do this, it becomes easier to deal with all the heartbreaking scenes we capture on camera.
Seeing a little orphan calf crying while standing next to his mother’s dead carcass, is probably the worst scene I’ve had to witness in this poaching war. My faith plays a big role in my life...it’s my rock, it’s what keeps me moving forward. And so many people won’t or don’t talk about their faith and I respect that but for me, I believe we are fighting spirits of darkness here. The poachers are using dark evil magic to go about their business. They have muti they put on their body so they think they go unnoticed by the anti-poaching units and rangers... they believe the rhinos can see them cutting off the horns so they cut their eyes out, they cut off tails and pieces of legs to make more muti. These poachers are calling on spirits of darkness to do their work, they kill, maim, break all sorts of laws, bribe, and let’s not forget they are quite prepared to kill humans as well as rhinos. The international criminal syndicates who the poachers report to are usually also involved in other massive criminal activities like human trafficking and arms smuggling. So these people are truly breaking our society for greed.
Your most memorable experience working with rhinos?
Without a doubt the dangerous undercover filming work we did in Asia. We knew that we couldn’t make a film about the rhino poaching crisis without capturing the demand for the very thing they are being slaughtered for... the horn, on camera. And I have to say that the massive demand for rhino horn really took me by surprise. Sure, we’ve all heard the Vietnamese and Chinese consume and acquire rhino horn but to actually see how it is used... and the mythical, powerful properties they give it... wow, quite something to see and film. The desire for rhino horn is huge and I met people who quite honestly told me that if they had the wealth to get it, they would. So all levels of wealth in South East Asia want rhino horn. Now of course filming in a communist country like Vietnam brings with it it’s own challenges as the communist party controls all forms of media. Vietnam is ranked 175th out of 180 countries with regards to freedom of information and is one of the biggest prisons for journalists and citizen bloggers in the world. So in order for us to capture the “illegal” side of things, well, we basically had to become illegal ourselves. Without giving too much away as I want you to watch STROOP when it’s released!... I think the fact that we came into the country as female tourists meant that we really did slip in undetected with all our filming gear. We saw and filmed rhino horn in all shapes and sizes. From off-cuts used in traditional medicine to jewelry worn as status symbols, to sitting in the home of a rhino horn user showing me how it’s done. I realized that in order to stop the demand in Asia, we have to stop the flow from the source site. It’s that simple. The demand will stop when there is no more source material and I just don’t want that to be when rhinos in the wild are extinct.
The biggest reward?
I have met amazing people on my journey and I’ve spent days on end with the people at the front- lines. There are people who deeply care and have given up their life of safety and comfort to save our rhinos. I’ve been working closely with three female state prosecutors who spend their days putting criminals behind bars. I would look over my shoulder every single day if I was them, but they don’t... they are fearless and I am in such awe of that determination. Rangers and their dogs tracking poachers days on end, not knowing if they will survive the day and see their family again. Vets who are suffering from severe stress because of the trauma they see on a daily basis and from being in armed conflict zones, but when the alarm goes off first thing in the morning to help these animals, they don’t hesitate to get there. These are the true heroes in this crisis, and showing their work to the world in a film is my biggest reward.
You say complex, talk through some of these complexities.
Well, I always say that some call the rhino poaching a crisis, some call it a war, and others even... a campaign. I call it a genocide. The word is defined as the ‘intent to destroy, in whole or in part’. and this applies to the mass slaughter of our rhinos. And if we do call it a genocide, we the people, will take it more seriously.
I have seen just how complex the rhino issue is. It is a multi-layered problem starting with an ancient mind-set of millions of people hundreds of kilometres across the ocean, who believe that rhino horn can cure disease and uplift status. On the ground in South Africa it begins with poverty as many poachers come from poor communities surrounding our national parks. As Kruger National Park is home to the most rhinos in the world, obviously it has the most number of poachers targeting rhinos, with an estimated 15 gangs of poachers in the park every day. As it borders Mozambique we do get Mozambican citizens crossing our border and into our parks, which brings unique but difficult diplomatic issues between countries. Our rangers are arresting and shooting back at poachers who enter into our park, and for Mozambicans this is not even over human beings but animals.
So it’s a contentious issue and I think we aren’t even aware of the cross-border talks going on in the background. Scam artists ‘fundraising’ for rhino protection who are putting the money into their own pockets. Private rhino owners have also told me that bureaucratic sluggishness has crept to an all-time high which affects them when they want to dehorn their rhinos for safety measures.... as well as the practice of selling their dehorning permit information to poachers looking for an easy target. Corruption has infiltrated throughout the system. Rhino poaching like other wildlife crime is deeply-rooted yet an ever-changing crime that takes advantage of the set, secretive structures put in place.
Wildlife crime as a whole has transformed into one of the world’s largest transnational organized criminal activities, alongside trafficking in drugs, arms, and human beings. Criminal groups are using the same routes and techniques for wildlife trafficking as for smuggling other illicit commodities, exploiting gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
These are serious crimes, driven by demand, facilitated by corruption, and linked to organized crime and militias in many countries, as well as terrorist networks. In Asia I met with representatives from the US government who are fully aware of illegal wildlife trafficking and the terror groups it funds. You may have heard the saying, “there is no silver bullet” and it’s true. There is no one solution that will save the species from extinction. A multi-pronged, multi- disciplined and a multi-agency approach is needed from government’s side, including transnational collaboration and cooperation. And then as for the individual...when people are serious about something and they come together, movements happen. The greatest victories in history didn’t happen because of governments but because of the people. The people made it happen.
We are all on social media, it’s free and really does get noticed by the decision makers. In fact, we’ve had magistrates and judges refuse filming in their courtrooms, but when we mail them our request, we include our crowdfunding and social media comments from people all over the world who want to see this film, and we get permission to film. How powerful is that?!
The public’s support of rhinos carries weight where you’d least expect it. On Facebook share, like and comment on posts that are important to you and of interest to you. Twitter is also a great place to directly target policy makers. And if you’re not on social media, use old fashioned mail, seriously! Someone, anonymously of course, told me that the Chinese embassy in Pretoria was embarrassed by all the mails they received with finger and toe-nail clippings, so they sponsored the rhino security at the nearest zoo. So write those letters, attend marches, any marches in your area with posters of rhinos, talk about the issue so it gets noticed! If you feel strongly about saving our rhinos, let your voice be heard. Ultimately this will I think, make the difference.
We certainly hope that it does.
Bonné de Bod - Talent: Self and Producer
Bonné is well known as an award winning wildlife television presenter. She has been on South Africa’s popular wildlife and environment programme 50|50 for seven seasons and is also a special correspondent for SABC's Newsroom. In addition, her series 'Rhino Blog' is on DSTV's People's Weather where it is currently ranked the most popular show.
Bonné also co-produced STROOP, a documentary feature film on the rhino poaching crisis. Winner of an ATKV Mediaveertjie, Bonné has also been awarded the prestigious Kudu Award for Best Journalist, which she won in recognition of her passionate, balanced reporting on wildlife conservation issues as well as keeping the public updated and informed about environmental issues in South Africa.
Her in-depth knowledge on the rhino poaching crisis from four years filming on the ground and doing undercover work in Asia has led to Bonné facilitating discussions on illegal wildlife trafficking for the United Nations Environmental Programme as well as talks on radio,
at film festivals and wildlife symposiums.
Susan Scott - Director, Producer, Cinematographer and Editor
Susan Scott is a film-maker in Johannesburg, South Africa where she produces stories on wildlife
issues for various broadcasters around the world. Prior to her directing work, she was a film editor for 17-years cutting for some of the best wildlife filmmakers on the planet.
Susan studied in the United States graduating from Baylor University with a degree in
Telecommunications. She won an editing apprenticeship in Washington DC with Tony Black
A.C.E. where she went on to edit with him for several years before heading back home to South
Awarded the prestigious acronym from the editors guild of South Africa, Susan has gone on to
win several awards for her work, among them 3 SAFTAs, a Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
award as well as winning at the SAB Environmentalist of the Year for her writing and photography.
She directed her first documentary feature film, STROOP - journey into the rhino horn war.
Runtime: 133 minutes
Languages: English as well as Afrikaans, Chinese, Shangaan, Vietnamese and Zulu with English subtitles.
Director: Susan Scott, SDBFilms. email@example.com +27 82 400 5525
Wildlife-film.com review: STROOP is a powerful film, expertly and beautifully put together. Bonné and Susan have created an holistic film that is so engaging and emotive, undoubtably because of their personal investment in the film, meaning it will undoubtably resonate with all who watch it, wherever they watch it. Out of respect for these courageous film-makers and their subjects, we think that everyone should watch the film and if they do it will surely help put an end to the poaching of rhino for their horns.
During almost three years of undercover work, EIA investigators infiltrated one of the leading syndicates based in the obscure Chinese town of Shuidong, said to be a major Chinese hub for poached ivory smuggled from Africa.
The Shuidong Connection identified the three main culprits in the syndicate as Wang, Xie and Ou; EIA shared its findings with relevant Chinese Government agencies in a confidential briefing ahead of the report’s publication.
Enforcement action based on that intelligence was launched by the local Anti-Smuggling Bureau on 6 July 2017 when about 500 officers raided locations in Shuidong and surrounding areas. Wang was caught during this raid and subsequently jailed for 15 years; Xie was located in Tanzania and voluntarily returned to face trial, at which was jailed for six years.
Chinese authorities have now confirmed that Ou was repatriated from Nigeria to China on 5 January 2019 under an INTERPOL Red Notice. He will now face trial in China.
“We are very pleased to see such robust enforcement action taken by the Chinese authorities in response to the information provided by our investigators,” said Julian Newman, EIA Campaigns Director.
“During the investigation, this syndicate had claimed involvement in multiple shipments of illegal ivory tusks from Africa to China and had been directly involved in the trade for years, so dismantling the operation has put a major dent in global illegal ivory trafficking operations.”
Action by the China Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau based on EIA’s intelligence has now led to the dismantling of two ivory trafficking syndicates spanning Guangdong and Fujian province in southern China.
Nor were China’s efforts focused only on the thee syndicate members identified by EIA – by February 2018, 11 suspects had been convicted by the local court, with jail sentences ranging from six to 15 years imprisonment.
“EIA applauds this achievement; the Chinese authorities are to be congratulated for their collaborative and co-ordinated approach,” added Newman.
We are very sad to report the sad and untimely death of Dean Burman. By Jason Peters
4 January 2019
We are so very sad and shocked to report that longtime member/supporter Dean Burman passed away in his sleep on the 31st of December.
The coroner has been unable to decipher the cause of death at this time. What we do know is that Dean spent his last day visiting his daughter Willow, then went back to his hotel where he showered, lay on the bed, presumably went to sleep but didn't wake up. His ex wife was expecting him the next day to see Willow again, but he never turned up. Dean is survived by his daughter Willow, whom he absolutely adored, and his heartbroken parents Edith and Sam.
The service starts at 2pm, so if you are attending please be there well before.
The family have requested family only flowers, but should you wish, you can make a donation to a charity Dean supported.
Two charities Dean supported were the Oxford Transplant Foundation www.justgiving.com/otf and Midlands Air Ambulance www.justgiving.com/maac Both have just giving pages if you wish to donate in his name and write a message. You can also write a cheque out to either charity and post to Merstow Green Funeral Home, 20 Merstow Green, Evesham, WR11 4BD, mark the envelope on behalf of Dean Burman.
Message from Wildeye and Wildlife-film.com founder Piers Warren:
"I remember when Dean came on our Introduction to Wildlife Film-making course in 2003. When we came to introduce each other, most in the group were highly qualified with relevant degrees, PhDs etc. Dean was the last to speak and said "Well I'm a painter and decorator from the Cotswolds and I think I'm in the wrong place!". But it was clear, even that weekend, that he had the passion and motivation for filming wildlife, especially underwater, to make him stand out. Always fun and friendly it's been a pleasure to know him and follow his career over the years. We have shown the BBC film 'Dean the Diving Decorator' to hundreds of students over the years as an example of how passion and determination are key to success. RIP Dean, we miss you."
Message from friend and colleage Andy O'Sullivan:
"You could always rely on Dean to put a smile on your face. With a warm heart and a passion most could only dream of."
Tribute from Mike Linley:
“This is such a tragic loss. He was such a talented cameraman and excelled at filming freshwater fish through sheer determination, real enthusiasm and self-taught skill. My heart goes out to all his family and friends. Great bloke and from all his regular posts on Facebook a caring and loving dad.”
UK ivory ban becomes law – ‘best Christmas gift UK could have given world’s threatened elephants’ via EIA
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) today (20th December, 2018) welcomes the UK Government’s ban of ivory sales, shutting down one of the world’s largest legal domestic ivory markets.
Along with nine partner organisations, we are delighted that the Ivory Bill received Royal Assent today and has now become law, meaning that in future most ivory sales in, to and from the UK will be treated as criminal offences.
Mary Rice, Executive Director of the London-based EIA, said: “Following on the heels of China’s closure of its own domestic ivory market at the start of the year, this is the best Christmas present the UK could have given the world’s threatened elephant populations in Africa and Asia.
“The Ivory Bill becoming law is an important move which recognises the need to take firm action to protect elephant populations from poaching and ivory trafficking. After years of sustained campaigning, EIA welcomes the news and hopes that countries which still have legal domestic ivory markets will see this as the standard to aspire to.”
Its ground-breaking 2017 trade study revealed the UK to be the biggest legal importer of ivory in the world – and the largest exporter of legal ivory to the trafficking hotspots of Hong Kong and China. Between 2010-15, the UK exported more legal ivory than any other country, underlining the significant role it plays in the international ivory trade.
The Government’s subsequent public consultation on a proposed ivory ban resulted in one of the largest-ever responses. More than 70,000 people and organisations participated, with more than 88 per cent in favour of a ban.
The UK’s new Ivory Act is one of the strongest ivory bans in the world and covers the vast majority of items in trade, subject to certain narrow exemptions.
Rice added: “Now that the legislation is in place, we strongly urge the UK Government to provide the necessary resources for its proper implementation and enforcement.
“Wherever legal domestic ivory markets may be, the evidence clearly shows they provide easy opportunities for the laundering of illegal ivory and also sustain demand for ivory among consumers.
“With the UK ban now in place, we urge the European Union and Japan – two of the biggest remaining legal markets for ivory – to put their own houses in order and outlaw all domestic ivory sales.”
Wild Orchid Man in the Devil’s Realm is finished and at the duplicators! Filmed in Tasmania in October 2017 by Darryl Saffer, he started editing in December 2017 and finished the film and music a year later. This is the 5th film in the Wild Orchid Man series. DVD copies will be available at the premiere January 16th. Complete January Wild Orchid Man schedule below!
The Wild Orchid Man Stig Dalström just returned from a three week trip to the cloud forests of Colombia where he, together with likeminded aficionados, successfully traced down several localities where plants of the extraordinary beautiful orchid Odontoglossum crispum still is abundant. This orchid was heavily exploited during the nineteenth century when hundreds of thousands of plants were stripped from the wild and shipped to auction houses and commercial nurseries in Europe. Most of the plants perished during the transportation. Fortunately, this orchid appears to be prolific in reproducing itself and is fairly safe today, protected in various national and private reserves throughout its distribution along the eastern cordillera in Colombia. Many of the areas visited by Stig and his orchid friends were until very recently impossible to visit due to hostile terrorist activities. Thanks to an uneasy peace treatment between the FARC guerilla and the prior government of Colombia many of these areas are now relatively safe again, but nobody knows for how long.
Stig is trying to finish the last chapter for his and several co-authors epic scientific treatment of this orchid genus by getting more photographs from the habitats. The title for this publication, which is scheduled to be available next summer, is appropriately named ‘The Odontoglossum Story’ featuring chapters of history, classification, cultivation and more. Parallel to this project Stig is illustrating another scientific treatment, this time the orchid genus Stelis in collaboration with Dr. Carl Luer, the world renown guru for this types of orchids.
There was also time to visit a remote area in southern Colombia where a Polish scientist is working on creating a new orchid reserve. Stig can testify that this particular area is immensely rich in biodiversity and well worth protecting.
January Wild Orchid Man Events:
January 2: Master Gardeners will show “Wild Orchid Man in the Land of the White Bear.” Stig Dalstrom (The Wild Orchid Man) and Darryl Saffer (filmmaker) will be in attendance, introducing the film and taking questions from the audience.
10:00am, Twin Lakes Park. 6700 Clark Road. FREE but RSVP recommended. gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/mastergardener/events
January 5-6: Sarasota Orchid Society Show. Stig Dalstrom and Darryl Saffer will be at the show to answer questions and talk about their films. Stig’s art and DVDs will be available for purchase.
9:00M-5:00 pm, Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $5.00 admission fee. sarasotaorchidsociety.org/2019-show-and-sale-for-the-love-of-orchids
January 10: Bay Village of Sarasota will host a Q/A with Stig Dalstrom and Darryl Saffer about the Wild Orchid Man films.
10:00am, 8400 Vamo Road, Sarasota. For more information call Kristine Korngut at 941-966-5611.
January 16: Sarasota Orchid Society will host the premiere of the newest Wild Orchid Man film: “Wild Orchid Man in the Devil’s Realm.”
Doors open at 6:00pm, Selby Gardens, 900 Palm Avenue. FREE admission (with suggested donation) sarasotaorchidsociety.org/wild-orchid-man-film-premeire
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