September 20, 2007
"In an age when nothing seems to move unless backed by the five-letter word “Money”, it is indeed surprising to find someone who creates a documentary woven around his own music to raise awareness about the state of India’s environment, more so when he urges
people to make copies of his film and share it with others without any commercial aspect involved.
Chinmaya Dunster’s film is not a typical documentary – it is more a compilation of footages from a series of multimedia concerts recorded live at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environmental Education and Awareness (BVIEER) in Pune in 2004 that is juxtaposed
with poetry readings, interviews with environmentalists and educators and footage of scenery, wildlife and peoples from all over India, all in an effort to make people think."
Read the full article at
See Dunsters films uploaded on youtube by visiting
August 05, 2007
Here is a quote from a prominent African film authority, which is applicable to a large extent to the situation here in India as well.
"As an industry, wildlife and natural history filmmaking touches uniquely on three socio-economic issues which are crucial to the future of the African continent:
Firstly, in the wake of globalisation, if our rich natural resources are properly managed and developed, then independent and sustainable development in African countries will continue. It is crucial in the pursuit of African renewal and the new partnership
for Africas development that such resources need to be exploited to the advantage of African people.
Second is the crucial issue of conservation and environmental protection - an issue which is not unique to Africa and requires international cooperation and resources to develop effective strategies in combating threats to our environment. Showcasing these
issues on television internationally is an effective way to raise awareness and support for these causes.
The third issue is the development of the African film industry so that wildlife and natural history filmmaking is representative of all Africans. To achieve this, it is imperative to implement training programmes which will foster the development of black
filmmakers and to change the current status of the industry. Put simply, the challenge is how do we make indigenous Africans not only the observed but the observers and the participants in telling the story about this continent.
We need to be conscious of this fact: if we are to ensure the survival of our environment and the prosperity of this industry, filmmaking must become representative and diverse. Africans are presently the trackers, the translators and the lodge servants
in this industry, perhaps sometimes the odd ranger or national park representative... but rarely the arbiter of the story.
We are following through at pledges made at last year’s Wild Talk Africa conference to spend $1 million on developing the industry here and commissioning up-and-coming natural history filmmakers. From now on, through the NHU AFRICA, e.tv will produce 40 hours
of programming a year, ranging from lower-budget/higher-quality series to blue chip documentaries.
So far we have commissioned films on frogs in Madagascar, a lake in Venda, desert elephants in Namibia, climate change in Africa, ground squirrels in the Kalahari, a southern African travel series, a wildlife rehab series in Johannesburg, a good news conservation
series, and of course where would the NHU AFRICA be without films on cheetahs, sharks, wild dogs and crocodiles! Our aim is to work with international broadcasters on some of these productions and we are currently co-producing HD films with NHK, and Five in
the UK and are in discussion with National Geographic over a few more".
Source: WildFilmNews July 2007
July 24, 2007
The Curse of Copper
Kenya-born film makers, Jenny Sharman and Richard Jones (True Nature Films) won the ’Best Independent’ award at Missoula (IWFF) with their film ’The Curse of Copper’. The film also picked up a merit for music. Made in Ecuador, the film is having a very positive
impact in drawing attention to the plight of a unique cloud forest and local communities that are being threatened by a Canadian mining company. The film is helping to stimulate a growing public campaign to try to stop this open cast copper mine from going
ahead, but, as yet, the company continues to push forward with its plans. If you’d like to see the film, please go to
July 16, 2007
The Congolese film "Everyone for Conservation"(3 hrs) won the Merit Award for best Conservation initiative at the International Wildlife Film Festival, 2007.
The film was produced to bring about change in behavior and attitude critical for the protection of both human and wildlife populations. Produced by a Congolese production team, it is being disseminated by Congolese educators.
The premise is that awareness efforts must be grounded in the communities where the problems manifest themselves; the issues must be locally determined, the voices recognizable to the audiences that view the films, and produced in the language or languages
of the region, in a manner and style that is culturally appropriate. Dissemination is at the community level, in group settings that empower people to think and communicate with each other through shared experience.
June 01, 2007
CAUGHT IN THE HEADLIGHTS Broadcast Premiere on Montana Public Television
Caught in the Headlights, 53 minutes, 2006
CAUGHT IN THE HEADLIGHTS, which documents the conflict between wildlife and automobile culture will have its broadcast premiere, June 7 at 7 pm on Montana Public Television <http://www.montanapbs.org/>.
Repeat broadcasts at 4:30 pm on June 9 and 8:30 am on June 10.
In the United States where over four million miles of roads cross the landscape, an animal is killed on the road every 11.5 seconds - with one million vertebrate animals falling victim to automobile collisions annually.
Through the voices of six individuals who are intimately familiar with vehicle-wildlife conflicts, CAUGHT IN THE HEADLIGHTS is a quirky, informative exploration of automobile culture. Two Department of Transportation employees combine humor and sensitivity
while taking the viewer on a tour along Montana’s state highways.
A Wildlife rehabilitator since childhood turned raptor educator, painter, and welder, shares her work and perspective of the hardships that birds face in a world where car collisions are the leading cause of injury and death for raptors.
Raising a child as a single father may be hard; try combining that with an hour long commute to work through prime deer and elk habitat. One auto-body painter tells stories of close calls with wildlife on the road while warning of societal stubbornness.
A road ecologist from the Netherlands studies opportunities for creatures to cross roads safely while providing his own social commentary on the past, present and future of our transportation infrastructure.
Another man seeks apology and ceremony by turning roadkill into bronze sculptures. His bold artwork challenges us to examine our dependency on the automobile through death preserved on the walls of a Seattle-area gallery.
CAUGHT IN THE HEADLIGHTS weaves together these diverse voices united in their reverence for the long ignored casualties of the highway.
High Plains Films
P.O. Box 8796
Missoula, Montana 59807
May 15, 2007
Wildlife Asia Film Festival took place in March 2007 in Singapore.
"Cherub of the Mist" by Bedi Films (India)won the "Best Asian Film " award. "Village of Dust, City of Water" by Moving Images(India) won the award for the Best Environmental Film.
Naresh Bedi and Mike Pandey were given special awards for contribution to film making.
The following films/programs were selected for screening at the festival.
"The King is Dying" by Special Investigation Team, CNN-IBN
"Man Elephant Conflict" by NDTV
"Ganga is Dying" by Special investigation Team, CNN-IBN
March 07, 2007
"My parents have always been opposed to buying a TV and they were trying to explain to us the reasons why they were not falling in line with the TV-buying public.
We couldn’t understand all their arguments until they finally put it to us this way: TV is for those who will never get to experience the real thing. Do you want to actually visit, some day, all those beautiful places they show on TV, or would you rather be
happy with just seeing them on the screen? The choice simply put was: Buy a TV, or travel around instead. We chose travel. And I am proud to say that till today we have never allowed the idiot box space in our house. We have travelled instead to almost all
parts of India. I learnt snake catching in Pune, handled crocodiles in Mamallapuram, studied spiders and earthworms in Chennai and even travelled to Thailand and Malaysia in my quest to learn more about reptiles. All of which I managed to do because I never
sat in front of a TV."
Read the full article by Rahul Alvares, a young snake rescuer from Goa, who has recently won the ’Young Naturalist Award’ given from Sanctuary Magazine by clicking
February 20, 2007
“In India, as in China, stimulating an interest in nature is a task of the utmost and immediate importance. With both economies growing at rates of around ten percent
a year, whole ecosystems risk being destroyed. In India the most recent example is the famed bird reserve of Bharatpur. The increased demand for water in Rajasthan has lead to the diversion of the water supply from Bharatpur, the winter home of 70,000 migatory
birds, or rather what was the winter home of 70,000. Since the local river was re-channeled the birds don’t come anymore….
In Britain surveys have found that 85% of respondents have stated that they learn most about their environment from television. Patently India is not necessarily
a direct parallel, however there is no doubt that television could have a positive role to play in creating awareness among India’s 1.1 billion people. A sizeable proportion of the population do not have access to television, but hundreds of millions do. It
is vital then that a strong and vibrant natural history industry evolves to supply this huge market with home grown films to reinforce the sense of wonder and respect for nature that needs to be there, so it can be defended…..
………….In my personal view creating air time on Indian channels is vital to generate a successful Indian wildlife film industry not merely as a platform to sell to
American channels but also help preserve India’s wildlife treasures…”
Jeremy Bristow, award winning environmental film producer
February 11, 2007
Documentary film making in India has always been a challenging task.
Commissioned projects end up in the can after being screened to a select audience.
The public do not get a chance to see them as the screening opportunities are limited.
But “Vikalp” in Mumbai and traveling film festivals of Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi, and “film vans” in Kerala and Bengal are changing all that.
If you are an independent producer who spend hard earned money in making films one finds the investment does not come back and making more films remains a dream.
But there is hope here too. Production costs and Camera costs are coming down for one. Outlets for distribution like youtube.com and google videos offer a free platform to reach your videos to a wider audience. Video CDs and DVDs
are a possible distribution method too.
Read an interesting take on the subject at the following link
Making business sense of documentary filmmaking
January 22, 2007
Social and environmental film makers all over the world are, generally speaking, a much troubled lot on the financial front. What keeps them going, more than anything else, is their commitment to the cause.
Unfortunately, these thought provoking films rarely get audiences as they face a challenge of distribution. Television channels either do not run them or, if they do, there is no guarantee of attracting enough eyeballs.
Screening at the workplace
Organizations would do well to screen such films in their workplaces. There are many ways to do this including:
- Television screens that are sometimes installed in offices.
- Create a kind of a You Tube on the intranet so staff can watch these on their desks itself.
- Collective Screening: Call staff in groups to a common room, and screen for them. No doubt people watching in a group would be impacted more as they would have a chance to discuss the same with one another, then and later too.
- Distribute discs: Get multiple copies of such films on suitable discs and distribute them amongst staff.
- Go a step further. Start giving these to customers who make a certain minimum purchase from you. Why give a free soap with a shampoo? Give a film.