Wildlife Film News
Issue 44
February 2003

News Contents:

1. New Head for BBC NHU
2. Wildlife Asia Film Festival
3. Footage Request
4. Raine Island
5. A Wild Idea
6. News from High Plains
7. A Natural Transformation
8. Mona Monkeys
9. New Website for Viewfinders
10. CD-ROM Giveaway


1. New Head for BBC NHU

Neil Nightingale has been appointed the new head of the BBC Natural History Unit. He has been with the unit for twenty years and is well known for producing the Natural World programmes. Keith Scholey has left to head the BBC's specialist factual department.


Wildlife Asia Film Festival

By Chris Dickinson

In just over a years time an exciting new event is due hit Asia! I’m talking about the Wildlife Asia Film Festival - Singapore.

“This sounds like a really great idea and I am sure it is just the thing wildlife needs! …It will give Asian filmmakers a much-needed platform… The potential is great - there is so much waiting to be tapped in this region. I think the time is ripe for a move like this.” Mike H. Pandey - Riverbanks Productions, New Delhi.

A precise time has yet to be finalised, but we are looking at the end of February 2004, and knowing how busy everyone is, I thought it wise to give you all good warning!

The festival will be dedicated to wildlife and conservation filmmaking. Wildlife Asia will give Asian filmmakers a much needed focus and platform for their films and will provide the international wildlife filmmaking community with a premier festival – attracting films and filmmakers from around the globe.

“…It is about time that Asia has a premiere festival in recognition of the significance of its rich, diverse heritage…” Christopher N. Palmer, President and CEO of National Wildlife Productions Inc. USA

The festival will have screenings, seminars, debates and workshops - many of which will have a distinct Asian perspective. And what festival would be complete without an awards ceremony? In this case the Lion Awards - recognising the very best conservation and wildlife films from Asia and beyond. So if YOU have shot a film in Asia, or have had a film aired in Asia – don’t forget to enter it!

“National Geographic Channel Asia is happy to support the objectives of Wildlife Asia.” Marcia Goh, VP Programming, National Geographic Channel Asia

With advisors such as Jane Krish from Wildscreen, and partners such as WWF, Filmmakers For Conservation and the Singapore Environment Council, the festival will be assured a first class schedule of events over 4 days, and the delegates fees will be very good value – all-in-all making the Festival an unmissable opportunity. We will also run a series of community events up-to and during the festival (and in this respect we pay tribute to the IWFF for leading the way and giving us our inspiration!)

“It is truly giving recognition to the many "environmentalists" out there who toil the days and nights to get a good documentary out that will evoke the emotion and passion from their audience.” Teoh Teik Hoong, Head of Media and Public Affairs, WWF Malaysia

We are now seeking the funding to make the event reality. I’m sure you’ll agree that this initiative represents a significant benefit to both Asian filmmaking and conservation, so we urge the international community to support Wildlife Asia.

Our website: www.wildlifeasia.org is in its early stages of evolution, but please feel free to visit it if you want more information. Alternatively you can contact me directly: chrisd@wildlifeasia.org, or phone: +65 6271 7226. I’d love to hear your opinions – if you want to enter a film or come to the festival, please get in touch!

So, if you are an Asian filmmaker or have interests in film production in Asia – Wildlife Asia is THE EVENT FOR YOU! We look forward to seeing you there!

Chris Dickinson
Wildlife Asia Ltd

Wildlife Asia: Promoting wildlife and conservation filmmaking throughout Asia, stimulating new film productions for the local and international markets educating the public, creating greater awareness and appreciation of the natural world and motivating active support of conservation.


3. Footage Request

 If you can help out with the footage request below please contact Adam Bromley directly.

"We are a small independent company producing a documentary entitled
"Oasis of the Pacific" (for more info see http://www.zeroimpactproductions.com/newfiles/Documentaries.html).
We're interested in obtaining footage of any commercial fishing, but particularly long-line fishing especially including turtles and/or birds being caught. Also, turtles and/ or birds eating garbage. We're also looking for large pelagic species underwater and/or caught in nets/lines including billfish, tuna or sharks; Oil rig spills/clean ups; drifting ghost nets; pollution in major current lines including plastic/garbage.
Adam Bromley


4. Raine Island

Jeremy Hogarth from NHNZ has drawn my attention to an interesting project on the Great Barrier Reef:

"Raine Island is the largest remaining nesting site for green turtles, although this season yielded low numbers possibly because of the El Nino. Raine is also one of the most significant sea bird nesting sites on the entire Gt Barrier Reef.

As well as filming the natural history of the island we are also carrying out scientific research, and successfully tagged a tiger shark on the last trip.   This is the second tiger to have a satellite tag put on her, the first was tagged at Raine last February but unfortunately swam into a commercial fishing net in the Gulf of Carpentaria a couple of months after tagging.   We hope to tag three more sharks on the next trip, and the information that is returned will perhaps give some insights into the wanderings of these enigmatic and virtually unknown animals.  First reports indicate that the tagged shark, named "Ripley", is still in the vicinity of Raine Island.   The first shark to be named was "Nicole", after Nicole Kidman.

We also placed data-logs on to turtles, and recovered some.  The data, which will be published, will give some understanding of what green turtles do either after laying eggs or when they return to the sea after an unsuccessful nesting attempt.   On the next trip we will also be attaching a satellite tag to a green turtle as she should be near the end of her nesting season.

The film on Raine Island is being produced by NHNZ in association with Digital Dimensions of Townsville for both the US channels and international channels of National Geographic."

You can follow progress at
www.sutherlandimages.com - look at the entries under Raine Island.   This website will be updated daily when the team return to Raine on January 21st for the third and final filming trip.

Jeremy Hogarth
Senior Producer/Director


5. A Wild idea
Interesing thoughts from Adrian Caddy:

There's a good and reliable old maxim; United we stand - divided we fall. And my fear is that we are at risk of the second bit. For many years I have sold, co-produced, devised and licensed programming and projects to just about every media species in existence - and I hope I have tried to protect the security of every idea/programme despite frequent and hideous piracy and subterfuge. But jealousy and OVER-protection runs through conservation groups as well as producers, broadcasters and distributors - and this works against us. So here is a revised e-mail that I sent to Tana Herbert of the Wildlife Awareness Foundation after we met in Missoula last year. Tana has been a great help in pointing out the brakes that get applied to so many worthwhile opportunities - because of ego, jealousy and the old 'not-invented-here-so-no-thanks' syndrome.

We've all submitted proposals and suggestions very carefully to various offices, friends and colleagues. We've all experienced rip-off or ridicule, but still we go on as carefully and privately as possible because we KNOW this is right. We are SURE this will work. And then we wait to see if our submission was a lottery winner or carrion...

So to hell with it - here in public for friends, foe and bureaucrats is an idea with a programme outline included that I've been pushing since they came to me in either the bath or while walking the dogs. I won't put a copyright date on them here because my last bath was this morning but both my beloved dogs passed away some time back... If anyone wants to make/steal the programme, I must insist they come to me for footage of Tessa and Winston playing as pups in the fields and woods.... Here's a slightly modified version of my e-mail to Tana:

Dear Tana

Let's look at enrolment and reward - using the techniques of multi-branded marketeers. To get the population of ANY community/demographic today aware and enthusiastic for conservation matters (without sounding or seeming dull) we need to get a discerned but WIDE range of figures on side - all ages, colours, backgrounds and stories.

I suggest we set up an umbrella organisation, a bit like an airline alliance. We would invite people to join a NETWORK of bodies connected to environment protection via their connection to one or other first choice (i.e. a member of NWF gets a special deal to become affiliated to WWF, WAF, WDCS, RSPB, IFAW etc ) - and thereby invite participation in membership levels and merchandise programmes to work similarly to air miles or bundled channels on cable....

The membership would be invited to "adopt" schemes and programmes to be taken to communities without TV (or affordable mass media) as you do with the WAF. In return, adopters will get coveted certificates, badges, regalia and recognition depending on their level of commitment (A bit like the IWFF and its "animal groups" to reflect the level of Festival sponsor. See www.wildlifefilms.org).

Members would get a combined newsletter or periodical magazine, plus special membership and passes to appropriate venues such as museums, parks, zoos, events etc. (When originally made a Fellow of the Zoological Society I was awarded a membership card that gets me in to London Zoo and Whipsnade foc with friends and family any time. The first year was gratis, now I subscribe and get a tax break for doing so.).

Members/participants would also get the chance to enter the 'MOCs'; Members Only Competitions. Prizes could include photographic safaris to Africa, Alaska, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia etc - surely a sponsor like Kodak would LOVE this? (Not, I would suggest, a Japanese manufacturer - their corporations still pay taxes to contribute to the maintenance of a whaling fleet...) Good TV possibilities anyway, if we tie it up carefully.

I would also seek out and enrol corporate sponsors to get behind a TV programme that I have been TRYING to get made for years. So simple - so cheap. Essentially a talk show, the guests can be from anywhere - entertainment, sport, politics, business, other talk show hosts - anywhere. THIS host is not so much interested in talking to them about their latest movie/album/campaign/game/divorce/deal - but in their favourite aspects of Nature's goings-on. The conversation is interspersed with clips from the best of... This deals with low attention span, makes the celeb look like a caring human being- AND, we have key players from the making of great shows as guests too: - After the "wow" effect of that shot - let's meet the cameraman/woman;- following the hair-tingling music that accompanied that sequence, here is the composer; - Hugh Miles, do you endure conditions beyond SAS training on EVERY shoot??... The show will make unknown heroes recognisable - and many are hugely attractive personalities in themselves anyway. (Have you ever met Doug Allan, Kate Davis, Ruth Berry, Mark and Vicky, Howard and Michelle, Alan Root, Haraldo Castro, Trisha Wilson, Will Taylor, Chris Palmer, Caroline Underwood or Mike DeGruy..?!!!?). Lots of humour, tons of sparkle, enrolling and stimulating without the banal or dumbed down too far...

I'd use this as a vehicle to promote the "alliance" of organisations, and we'd provide the special guest with some cool and coveted regalia/clothing or whatever to pin their first badge on. The idea is to collect the entire range of associated i.d. that says you are an active and cool protector. (Am I trying to establish a new c –word instead of conservation I wonder? Coolservation? Coolserver? Probably not...) We make this show available in all languages possible (subtitling is cheaper and easier for the talking head sections) and seek corporate sponsors to put their names to the show AND the campaigns and promote the sales of videos and DVDs through the membership. For example, if you join at a level of $100 per year, you get 2 free DVDs and a discount card for all the other books and videos/DVDs associated with the organisation. The higher the membership level, the more you get from ALL affiliated organisations. I would just about kill to run this. Preferably from the newly established IWMC in Montana (no sales tax and all that delightful energy and enthusiasm) and would be on the phone/web/face-to-face with the BBC NHU, Nat Geo, Discovery, NHNZ, the German Marco Polo Films and more to join in and make their libraries accessible. Vitally, we’d also need to include journalists and media owners who are prepared to make a difference and be recognised as aware and TRUTHFUL reporters and not be sidetracked by the morays of undiscerning, bored and uninformed audiences. Even worse than them are the equally unhelpful advertisers who promote excess-consumption in their markets over a sense of sustainability.

Sorry this is running longer than most e-mails, Tana - but you might guess that I have an incurable enthusiasm for getting Nature elevated and PROPERLY respected in people's awareness. I often get to speak at meetings over here and use the line "It doesn't matter if you're Bill Gates, Bill Cosby, Bill Who or bill me next quarter - without safe natural environments, we're all equally on a road to extinction".

All very best




6. News from High Plains
High Plains Films Documentary Fellowship

High Plains Films (HPF), in collaboration with the Environmental Studies Program (EVST) at the University of Montana will begin offering a documentary production fellowship for the 2003-04 school year. EVST/HPF will accept proposals for documentary film production projects that fit within the broad area of "documenting human relations with the natural world." Fellowships will be awarded to one incoming or continuing EVST graduate student per year. Applicants can send a short treatment and narrative (3-10 pages) along with a personal resume detailing relevant experience for consideration. The strength of the story and treatment are weighted equally with the applicant's relevant experience/skills. Previous video/film production experience is not necessary, but is helpful. We are looking for creative treatments that can be either issue-based or character-driven. Funding will be provided by EVST. Equipment and production assistance are provided by High Plains Films. Email questions about writing a treatment/narrative to Doug Hawes-Davis, <dhd@highplainsfilms.org>. Send completed proposals to: High Plains Films, attn. EVST Fellowship, P.O. Box 8796, Missoula, Montana 59807. Apply at any time. Fellowships will be awarded annually in July/August. For more information about High Plains Films, please visit our web site: <www.highplainsfilms.org>.

Maple Lake Releasing acquires several High Plains Films for international broadcast distribution

Winnipeg, Canada-based Maple Lake Releasing is now distributing several High Plains Films for international broadcast. The titles include, Killing Coyote (83 or 57 minutes, 2000), The Naturalist (32 minutes 2001), and El Caballo (54 minutes, 2001). Maple Lake is also offering a larger collection of High Plains Films for theatrical exhibition. Contact Terry Coyles at <tlcoles@maplelake.mb.ca> about licensing the films for broadcast or renting the High Plains film series. Or visit the Maple Lake www site at www.maplelake.mb.ca/memory.html.


7. A Natural Transformation
The 30 minute documentary 'A Natural Transformation' Jim Karnik produced on the construction of a marsh restoration project located in the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is available for purchase. This is an excellent video for educators and organizations involved with wetland  ecology and restoration.

The half-hour documentary produced for SWIA (Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association) and the California Coastal Conservancy, gives a chronological overview of this complex project. Interviews with key players tell the story of the many years of planning and research that went into the development of this 20 acre marsh. The model marsh not only provides critical habitat for many coastal wetland species but also acts as an important wetland ecology research lab.
The concept behind Wilderness Theater is to create and present a series of widescreen films that capture the essence of wild places. Projects in development/production include: Wild Places of the Sierra Nevada and Wild Places of the Pacific Coast

Wilderness Theater provides an opportunity for wildlife reserves and supporting organizations to have a custom presentation program produced on their reserve for display in visitor centers, lodges and other public places. Production/presentation packages include design and installation of a presentation system using the latest display technology such as flat panel plasma screens. Contact Jim for more details:
Jim Karnik Productions
Wilderness Theater
Films that explore, inform & inspire


8. Mona Monkeys

Khen Johnson is working on a new video docu on mona monkeys. He is looking for any information - from any researcher or filmmaker who has done any work with mona monkeys.

If you can help please contact him at mefia01@yahoo.co.uk

9. New Website for Viewfinders
Viewfinders Ltd now has a new website and this can be found at www.viewfindersltd.com
Many thanks to Dae Sasitorn for all her hard work helping us to create the site and Piers Warren for his helpful tips.
10. CD-ROM Giveaway
We have two projects that have come to an end, and as a result we have remaining CD-ROMs of interactive digital art to give away (with a small charge for P&P).
Volcanic Experience:
How far do you think sound effects and music influence your perception of the visual image? Imagine Psycho without the music. Imagine Spring without birdsong... This relationship between visuals and audio is explored by Experience - a stunning interactive digital art production on CD-ROM and film. It has been produced by Volcanic in collaboration with a number of other digital artists and schools from the UK. Experience is a unique combination of animation, video, graphics, text, photography, painting, music and sound effects. The result is an emotional rollercoaster of ground-breaking art.
More information at www.wildeye.co.uk/volcanic
Dream Chicken
is a multimedia CD-ROM of interactive anarchic digital art. The CD-ROM is wacky, thought-provoking, fun and inspiring with anarchic interactivity designed to challenge not only the user, but the whole concept of interactive multimedia. Dream Chicken fans share a common interest in new media art, satire, anarchy, new age issues and living an interactive life, yet will have a healthy scepticism of the absurdities of contemporary culture.
More information at www.wildeye.co.uk/dreamchicken

You can order BOTH CD-ROMs together with just a 2.95 (UK) charge for post and packing (3.95 overseas - approx US$5.95) - that's for BOTH CD-ROMs!

To order with a credit card (worldwide) go to www.wildeye.co.uk/cdorder.htm - to order by cheque (UK only) see details at


That's it!  Send me YOUR news for the next issue and for the site.
This newsletter goes out to thousands of people in the wildlife film-making industry world-wide.

Piers Warren