Wildscreen Winners 2010

I'm here at Wildscreen and happy to announce the following:

Animal Planet International People & Animals Award: Explorer: Gorilla Murders
National Geographic Television (USA)

BBC Newcomer award: Hudson's Monarch
Filmmaker - Mat Thompson (United Kingdom) (Mat helped massively with our filming of Stag Beetles for Animals Guide - congratulations!)

Campaign Award: Save Our Sharks
Save Our Seas Foundation (United Kingdom)

UWE Children's Choice:  Monkey Thieves: Searching for Sanctuary
Off the Fence (Netherlands and United Kingdom)

Presenter-led award: Expedition Grizzly
Grizzly Creek Films (USA)
Co-produced with The National Geographic Channel, US
Presenter - Casey Anderson

Popular Broadcast: Lost Land of the Volcano: Programme 1
Co-produced with BBC Worldwide, Discovery Channel & NDR Naturfilm/Studio Hamburg (Germany) production

Earth Sciences: How Earth Made Us: Deep Earth (my series!)
BBC (United Kingdom)
Co-produced with BBC Factual & National Geographic Channels in association with ZDF

Short Film: The Coral Gardener
BBC (United Kingdom)

Arkive New Media: iSpot
Open University (United Kingdom)

Promoting filmmakers from Developing Countries: The Wild Meat Trail
Dusty Foot Productions (India)
Filmmakers - Rita Banerji & Shilpi Sharma

Animal Behaviour: The Pack: Episode 5
Animal Planet International (USA)

NHM Environment Award: Green Theatrical: The End of the Line
The Fish Film Company (United Kingdom)
Co-produced with Dartmouth Films, Calm Productions & Arcane Pictures

Music: The Crimson Wing, Mystery of the Flamingos
Disneynature (United Kingdom)
Co-produced with Natural Light Films and Kudos Pictures
Music - The Cinematic Orchestra

Outstanding Achievement: Nature and the folks behind this long running American series.

Editing: Wild Places of Essex
AGB Films Ltd (United Kingdom)
Co-produced with BBC Natural History Unit/BBC Worldwide
Editor - Nigel Buck

Sound: Ash Runners
Saint Thomas Productions (France) Co-produced with Arte France
Sound - Raphael Andrieu

Best Series: Deep Earth
BBC (United Kingdom) Co-produced with BBC Factual & National Geographic Channel US, in association with ZDF

Cinematography: The Forest: Realm of Shadows
A nautilusfilm GmbH (Germany) production for NDR Naturfilm/Studio Hamburg co-produced with ARTE, ORF in association with Parthenon Entertainment Camera - Jan Haft & Kay Ziesenhenne

Juries Choice Award: Life

Golden Panda: Green.

That's it from me... I'm getting drunk!
For pictures see www.fossil.ironammonite.com or www.ironammonite.com


Jane Goodall: Beauty and The Beasts

BBC4 Tonight, Tuesday October 12th 9pm, (Pick of the day - Sunday times, Choice in most other Sundays)

A young British woman called Jane goes into the African jungle, meets loads of chimpanzees and gets really famous: now where have we heard that story before? The life of Jane Goodall, a secretary from Bournemouth who ventured into the Tanzanian jungle in 1960 to study chimpanzees feels like something out of a kids' book. Beauty And The Beasts is not the most elegantly put together documentary but it serves as a great introduction to Goodall's life and work, which forever changed the way we see primates. Guardian

Produced and directed by Jeremy Bristow, Film Editor Dilesh Korya.


TV Behind the Scenes: An executive producer has a viewing with the producer

This isn't Natural History but if you work in TV you'll probably have had similar things happen to you!

Horizon: The Death of the Oceans?

Monday 4 October, 21:00, BBC 2

Sir David Attenborough reveals the findings of one of the most ambitious scientific studies of our time - an investigation into what is happening to our oceans. He looks at whether it is too late to save their remarkable biodiversity.

Horizon travels from the cold waters of the North Atlantic to the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef to meet the scientists who are transforming our understanding of this unique habitat. Attenborough explores some of the ways in which we are affecting marine life - from over-fishing to the acidification of sea water.

The film also uncovers the disturbing story of how shipping noise is deafening whales and dolphins, affecting their survival in the future.

Image: BBC

Producer/Director – Peter Oxley

Editor – Aidan Laverty

For further details visit the BBC website

Timeshift: When Britain Went Wild

9pm, Tuesday 5th October BBC4

Documentary which explores the untold story of how Britain 'went wild' in the 1960s. It shows how the British people fell in love with animals and how, by the end of the decade, wildlife protection had become an intrinsic part of our culture. Before that time people knew very little about endangered species or the natural world - the very word 'environment' was hardly recognised. But the 1960s saw a sea change.

The film discovers how early television wildlife programmes with David Attenborough, writers such as Gerald Durrell and Gavin Maxwell and pioneers of conservation such as Peter Scott contributed to that transformation.

See clips on the BBC Website

Another great resource is the WildHistory website.

Producer: Sally Thomson Series Producer: Ben Southwell Executive Producer: Michael Poole.



The World's Biggest Cattle - my close encounter with Indian Gaur

Re-posted from The Iron Ammonite, 1st October 2010

The Gaur is the largest species of wild cattle in the world, bigger than the African buffalo, the extinct aurochs, wild water buffalo or bison. Only Rhinos, Hippos and Elephants grown larger than these incredible animals. The males can weigh as much as 1.5 tonnes.

While traveling in South India in 2009 a farmer told us about a herd of Gaur that was casually chomping their way through a selection of farms and gardens. We watched them for over an hour as they munched and clambered through the vegetation. They were so preoccupied with feeding that they didn't seem to care who or what was nearby - and why should they. One female in particular seemed very relaxed in my presence so I was confident that I could get fairly close without alarming or spooking her. It was a real pleasure to feel the breath of this wondrous animal on my face before she finally sauntered off and disappeared into the forest.

Wild Gaur can be very dangerous animals and I wouldn't usually get this close - especially if they are with a calf or if it's breeding season, and I certainly would never attempt to get this close to one of those powerful males. By all accounts they can be quite moody!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


Lily the Black Bear (from The Natural World Bearwalkers)

Loving the ongoing saga of Lily and her family, who you may have seen on Natural World earlier this year.

You can keep up to date with her and join over 100k other fans of Lily and her daughter Hope on Facebook.



Getting started in Wildlife TV - Have you thought about Wildscreen?

'One thing for sure is that, whatever the path, it’s up to the individual and their dogged persistence combined with undying passion that will get them through the bumpy, muddy, arduous jungle road that is the path towards becoming a wildlife photographer or filmmaker.' - Sandesh Kadur Felis Blog

Other than being dogged and persistent, another top tip is to attend the Wildscreen international film festival.

What is Wildscreen?

This biannual festival is the Mecca for Wildlife Filmmakers, internationally acknowledged as the most influential and prestigious event of its kind in the world. The aim of Wildscreen is to celebrate, applaud and encourage excellence, and responsibility, in wildlife and environmental filmmaking - films which increase the global viewing public's understanding of the natural world, and the need to conserve it.

By attending wildscreen you'll get a real flavour for the wildlife filmmaking industry and see what's hot and what's not for those who are commissioning programmes or hiring new talent. You'll hear behind the scenes stories from producers and presenters, cameramen and editors and discover what it takes to make a top natural history film. Most importantly you'll meet people who can inspire and help you on your way. And as Sandesh says it will 'help fuel the passion and jump-start your career in wildlife TV' - it certainly did that for me when I was seeking my break in the industry almost 10 years ago and It's been a top event in my calendar ever since.

If you're fresh from university then you'll probably find the festival a bit on the expensive side - about 600pounds to register as a full delegate. The budget option is to become a festival volunteer, or apply for a reduced rate as a newcomer. If you've just produced your first wildlife film then enter it for the highly prized newcomers award - a real springboard to success.

The Workshops

The workshops are really worth attending as you'll get hands on with cutting edge technology and learn from the experts - everything from highspeed filming and 3D cameras to workshops about how to be a wildlife TV researcher. This year I'll be running one entitled 'Breaking out of the Box' about how to produce content for a web audience.

The Awards

The highlight of the festival for me is always the Gala Panda Awards Ceremony. Wildscreen is a competition as well as a Festival and this is the night when the award winners will be announced. The stakes are high as the awards have established themselves as the Green Oscars, and the posh black-tie do certainly has an air of hollywood glitz about it. This year it will be hosted by Kate Silverton and Benedict Allen.

I'll be there in anticipation of one of my series winning an accolade. 'Life' is up for a whole range of awards, and 'How Earth Made Us' is in the running for the Earth Science Award, as well as best series.

It was an honour at the 2008 Panda Awards, when we won the Golden Panda for 'Life in Cold Blood'.
For handy tips and advice on starting a career in wildlife television get your hands on a copy of the book by Piers Warren titled: Careers in Wildlife Filmmaking.

Good luck
- Paul 


Filming Tigers - a BBC Insight

Tigers are a real hot topic for the BBC Natural History Unit, especially with the current success of 'Lost Land of the Tiger' a BBC expedition that discovered a lost population living in the remote Bhutan Mountains (Earth News). Having tracked Tigers myself to film (Poo, Pee & Pugmarks)  I know just how difficult it is to catch even a glimpse of this fascinating feline! But here is an exclusive insight into the BBC's perspective on the thrill and frustration of filming tigers in the wild. From BBC Wildlife Finder. 

- Paul