FF:W Stand in Solidarity

Beyond the Frame: FF:W Stand in Solidarity

This 90 second graphic piece is a virtual demonstration of solidarity from wildlife filmmakers across the globe. In The Big Discussion, FF:W asked the industry about the responsibilities of our films and this 90 second video captures some of the responses. We know there’s a problem, it’s time to act.

Produced and Directed by Ruth Campbell and Rowan Aitchison
Motion Graphics Development and Production – Jump Design

Development Producer – Ida-May Jones
Development Assistant Producer – Mary Melville

Composer – Anthony Aldersley
Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer – Nicholas Allan
Archive Footage – Offspring Films

Series Development Producer – Rowan Aitchison
Series Producer – Ruth Campbell
Series Executive Producer – Jennie Hammond

Beyond The Frame Production Team: Niel Brooks, Tom Richards, Alice Kirk, Deya Ward, Niel Aldridge, Brian Henderson, Emma Tyrrell, Bridget Appleby, Josh Forwood

With thanks to: Offspring Films, Plimsoll Productions

Watch Beyond the Frame Live at COP26

"Beyond the Frame" - FF:W at COP26

Filmmakers for Future: Wildlife are excited to bring you a selection of specially made short films, followed by a discussion panel hosted by Steve Backshall. We’ll be talking about the role wildlife filmmaking has in battling the climate and biodiversity crisis.

The live event has now finished but you can watch the whole thing right now in the video below .If you head to the Beyond the Frame section of our website, the short films are now also available for viewing!

You can ask questions of the FF:W team here as you watch the session https://app.sli.do/event/facspapl and using the code #900831

Our panellists include Jonny Keeling (Head of NHU at the BBC), Janet Vissering – (Vice president of development and production at Nat Geo Wild), Paula Kahumbu – (Chief executive officer of Wildlife Direct), Ashwika Kapur – (Natural History Filmmaker), Jo Ruxton – (Ocean Generation Founder).

Beyond the Frame – This Saturday at COP26

Filmmakers for Future: Wildlife’s short film project, “Beyond the Frame”, will Premier at COP26 on Saturday 6th November at 11.30am GMT.

The five short films will be followed by a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Wildlife Filmmaking’. You can tune in to the event on Saturday 6th November at 11.30am Live by following this link.

The 90 minute session will be made up of two sections:

  • 11.30am – 12 noon Premier of FF:W Short Film Series “Beyond the Frame” and introduction
  • 12 noon – 1pm Panel Discussion

PANEL GUESTS: Jonny Keeling (Head of NHU at the BBC), Janet Vissering – (Vice president of development and production at Nat Geo Wild), Paula Kahumbu – (Chief executive officer of Wildlife Direct), Ashwika Kapur – (Natural History Filmmaker), Jo Ruxton – (Ocean Generation Founder).

The panel guests will be discussing key topics relating to the future of wildlife filmmaking. This will include discussing how we as wildlife filmmakers can play our part in accelerating the transition to environmentally friendly production methods.
They will also be discussing how we can increase support for local filmmakers to tell their own stories, to their own audiences.
Lastly, the discussion will focus on the power of storytelling and how we can use it to help tackle the climate and ecological crisis. What are we currently excluding from the stories we chose to tell that our audiences need to know?

Again, the films and panel will be live from 11:30am this Saturday 6th November at this link. We will be posting closer to the time with access to watch the event live on our website or on YouTube!

Wildscreen 2020


Wildscreen is the largest natural history film festival in the world. This year, due to it being held online, it was also one of the most accessible. Held every two years, this was its first as a virtual event and the Festival team did a brilliant job. They managed the few inevitable technical hitches and delivered a multitude of masterclasses, screenings, live Q&As and unmissable high profile speakers, including Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg discussing our current planetary crisis.

Here’s a round-up of some of the great environmental messages that came out of the sessions I was able to catch at this year’s festival. 

The audience wants to know, “What can I do?”

A clear message was present -there is a need for urgency in relation to the climate and biodiversity crises and our audience is asking “What can I do?”. Something independent films have the editorial control to address, but often harder to do within the current constraints of the television industry. Most seemed to agree on the need to present positive examples and success stories to inspire and motivate. Can we make more of this kind of content? I hear some of the commissioning sessions sounded hopeful, and I’m keen to catch up on them.

Sir David’s advice – “Above all don’t waste”. 

The conversation between Sir David Attenborough and activist Greta Thunberg raised some important issues including Sir David’s key piece of advice -don’t waste. As the natural history TV business booms, so does our environmental impact. We can find ourselves filming the same animals in the same places, sometimes even with the same crew and kit. One of FF:W’s aims is to help Bristol wildlife TV companies come together to collaborate on ways in which we might be able to reduce waste and duplication.

Our average carbon footprint is 61 tCo2e for one hour of television screened, which is equivalent to powering over 14 homes for a year. At the top end of the scale for wildlife TV, the largest footprint recorded (since 2012) for a big international series came in at over 400 tCo2e for one hour. Most of that was travel. That’s the equivalent of powering over 90 homes for a year. For one landmark wildlife series, we’re nearing the same footprint as the big budget feature films, at over 2,400 tCo2e. (Source: We are albert) 

Sir David and Greta discussed how the right content has huge value and the ability to be part of the solution, but we also need to look at how we make our programmes. We make our living out of wildlife and wild places and yet international wildlife docs are the highest emitting genre of television. Covid’s broken the seal and showed us there are other ways of doing things. We hope to build a collaboration of companies here in Bristol to help work out where we can save on travel, energy and resources.

There were many other insightful takeaways from Sir David and Greta, of course.   Wildscreen has now made their conversation available to the public. You can watch it here.

Everything’s Changed

Director Tom Musthill hosted an excellent panel discussion with DOP/Producer John Aitchison, Series Producer Verity White, Head of BBC Studios Science unit Andrew Cohen & PD Ashwika Kapur.  

“Everything has changed since Wildscreen 2018. A global pandemic has left economies in meltdown while global climate change has caused wildfires on every continent. Trump has left the Paris Agreement and China’s committed to Net Zero. Greta, ExtinctionRebellion and Black Lives Matter have all dominated the news….So what should our roles be in this rapidly changing world?”

This was an honest and open discussion about the challenges and the opportunities which this new world presents for natural history content production. We as an industry have always justified our travel to deliver important stories from the natural world which can of course have huge value in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.  But there is a growing discomfort felt by many in the industry that we give a false impression of the state of the natural world, and also by the nature of our business, mainly through multiple flights, how we’re also contributing to the problem. Offsetting is one thing, but the results needed will not be achieved quickly enough by this method alone. More discussions are needed about what can and can’t be justified and how we might streamline our processes and reduce our emissions in the first place. 

The discussion received a lot of positive feedback from the audience both in the live chat and on social media. Jason Peters, Wildife film news via twitter: “This was an important discussion. We’re thrilled that so many filmmakers are onboard with telling the truth about the true state of the natural world.

There were so many other great sessions on offer, I wasn’t able to attend all of them but here are a few key message from those I did:

An interesting session on Impact Campaigns asked “How can we make films that bring about real change? How can we use films to support it? And what’s the point of having an impact campaign if it doesn’t result in tangible change?” A conversation between Dave Allen, Joanna Natagesara, Franny Armstrong and Natalie Cash.  At FF:W we’re learning about the new role of Impact Producing and how it might be incorporated within the wildlife TV industry, not just for independent films.

Sky’s CEO Jeremy Darroch in Conversation with Steve Backshall: “Businesses need to think how they can replenish as well as take”  -SKY setting a great example of what broadcasters can do which I’m sure we could learn from here in Bristol.

James Cameron: Deep-Sea Explorer and Filmmaker, in conversation with Orla Doherty from BBC Studios: “We’ve been takers for too long, we need to be caretakers”

Perhaps one of the most striking things this year was the fact that the newly created “Sustainable Panda Award” for 2020 wasn’t allocated at the closing ceremony. 

“The award recognises the production that best uses sustainable practices to reduce the environmental damage across the entirety of a production. Each production entered into the awards will need to outline the measures taken..”  We don’t know the backstory to this but it gives a clear message and encouragement for us all to do better. 

What other sessions did you catch and what did you find most interesting, surprising or encouraging this year? We’ve started up a new thread on our FF:W forum and would love to hear your thoughts, or you can add your comments below.

For those with a pass almost all of the content is now available to view on the website and the networking platform is also staying open until 20th of November.

Congratulations to all the award winners and to the festival team for pulling off the first ever virtual Wildscreen.

Kristina Turner, 
Assistant Producer
FF:W Co-founder

Introducing FFWildlife.org

Introducing FFWildlife.org

After several months of collaboration and cooperation on a growing WhatsApp group, we are very happy to announce the launch of our official website, www.ffwildlife.org
This website will act as a hub for our announcements, growing resources, and our community.

In addition to our WhatsApp group which we recommend to still use as your primary source for notifications and updates, this website provides FF:W members with a forum to engage with each other and discuss ideas, as well as news and resources to everyone, whether they are a member or just an interested party.

It's FREE to join

It takes less than a minute to join our forum and WhatsApp group, click here to register