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First speakers announced for Wildscreen Festival Tanzania

Award-winning Tanzanian Filmmaker, Erica Rugabandana, unveiled as headline speaker; short doc “Chameleon Corridors” set for world premiere.

First speakers announced for Wildscreen Festival Nairobi. Tickets now on sale. 

Oscar-winning Director, Kartiki Gonsalves, unveiled as headline speaker.

Today (Monday 15th May 2023) Wildscreen have announced their first line-up of speakers for their first festival in Africa – Wildscreen Festival Nairobi, which is being delivered in partnership with BBC Studios Natural History Unit.

Tickets are now on sale for the two-day event (30th June – 1st July 2023), which marks Wildscreen’s first outside-of-UK festival in Africa, signifying the continent’s importance within the international wildlife film and TV industry. The new mini-festival will feature African storytellers and filmmakers, as well as key global industry players and decision makers. 

Award winning filmmaker and presenter, Jahawi Bertolli (National Geographic Explorer, iLCP Associate Fellow) joins the programme as official host of the 2-day event. Growing up in Kenya, Bertolli nurtured a deep curiosity and love for the natural world. His current focus is on sharing African wildlife and conservation stories in an innovative way—through the eyes of communities directly in touch with the environment and its animals.

Kartiki Gonsalves, the first ever Indian Film Director to win an Academy Award, for her debut short documentary The Elephant Whisperers, also joins the line-up for a headline interview. An Associate Fellow of iLCP, she founded Earth Spectrum to use the power of storytelling to raise awareness about biodiversity and cultural life. Gonsalves will be interviewed by Dr Paula Kahumbu, CEO of Kenyan-based conservation organisation WildlifeDirect and presenter of the new National Geographic  series The Secrets of the Elephants.

Jonny Keeling Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit  also joins the programme, as well as Faith Musembi (Producer Director) & Caroline Cox (Production Executive).

Other speakers include Janet Vissering (SVP, Development and Production, National Geographic Channel), and award-winning Kenyan wildlife photographer and filmmaker Peter Ndung’u.

Tickets for the two day event are available now, with concessions starting at just £30.

Book now at https://events.wildscreen.org/products/wildscreen-festival-nairobi

About the Speakers

Jahawi Bertolli

Jahawi Bertolli is a National Geographic Explorer, iLCP Associate Fellow, NEWF Fellow and Mentor, American Society of Cinematographers fellow, award-winning filmmaker, musician, photographer, and TV presenter. Growing up in Kenya, Bertolli nurtured a deep curiosity and love for the natural world. His work highlights themes of environmental, marine, and shark conservation to portray the beauty, power, and vulnerability of wild environments. His current focus is on sharing African wildlife and conservation stories in an innovative way—through the eyes of communities directly in touch with the environment and its animals or through music that connects to our Ancestral past through his National Geographic supported First Rock Project.

Bertolli received a Vulcan Visiting World Filmmaker Scholarship for the Jackson Wild Summit and the Howard Hall Award of Excellence in the 2021 Ocean Geographic Picture of the Year competition. He was a Global Voices Finalist at the Jackson Wild Media Awards for his short film Bahari Yetu and was on the Official Selection at the 2021 International Wildlife Film Festival. His work has been displayed in D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the UN Headquarters in New York. Bertolli is a CBBC Planet Defender, presenting in a new CBBC hallmark series made by the BBC Natural History Unit, and former co-host of the Ecoflix series ‘The Pulse’ and PBS YouTube series ‘In Our Nature’. He is also a trustee and the vice chairman of the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust.

Kartiki Gonsalves

Documentary filmmaker from the Nilgiri mountains in Southern India, Kartiki is the first ever Indian Film Director to win an Academy Award in the history of India for her debut film’ The Elephant Whisperers’. One of first women chosen as a Sony Alpha Artisan of Imagery in India, an Associate Fellow with iLCP.

She founded Earth Spectrum to use the power of storytelling to raise awareness about biodiversity and cultural life. Her passion for adventure brings new perspectives and a deeper public understanding to the environmental and humanitarian issues that define our times by documenting our natural world, to help others better understand the profound connection that we share with it. She focuses on capturing the diversity of cultures and tribes across the world to give a platform to women & indigenous tribes, especially those working to conserve nature. Also on solutions and where conservation is working to give hope.

Jonny Keeling

Jonny Keeling has worked at the BBC Natural History Unit since 1996 producing and directing wildlife and adventure documentaries. These include Planet Earth, Planet Earth II, David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals, Mountain Gorilla, The Natural World, Wildlife on One, Lost Land of the Volcano and Lost Land of the Tiger. He was head of the Children’s Natural History Unit for 7 years, producer of the 3D giant screen film ‘Antarctica’ and executive producer on the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning Seven Worlds, One Planet. In 2021, BBC Studios announced Jonny as the 14th Head of the Natural History Unit.

Janet Vissering

Janet Vissering oversees the natural history slate and animal content across the channel and Nat Geo on Disney+. She’s responsible for hundreds of hours of programming commissioned each year across platforms worldwide, including the Emmy-Award winning Secrets of the Whales.

Vissering manages the development teams, working with the world’s leading producers, distributors, creative agencies and strategic broadcast partners. Previously, she was SVP of strategic development and co-finance. Prior to her current position, Vissering served as VP of international acquisitions at National Geographic Channels International from 1998-2000 after working at Discovery Networks International, where she was head of program acquisitions and development from 1995-1998.

At Discovery, Vissering was a regional marketing manager for The Learning Channel, Affiliate Sales and Relations, in 1993. A graduate of the University of Maryland in College Park with a major in international relations/business, Vissering is a native of Korea and speaks Korean fluently.

Faith Musembi

Faith Musembi is a Producer Director based in Bristol, England. She is drawn to telling narratives which showcase the beauty of Africa’s natural resources, while highlighting the complex, but pertinent issues regarding their sustainable conservation. If you don’t find Faith in an office in Bristol, you’ll find her in one of Kenya’s breathtaking wilderness areas.

Caroline Cox

A strong advocate of the Production Management community, Caroline has worked across multi genre TV production for nearly 20 years, from Natural History to Factual Entertainment, Daytime to Children’s output. In 2019 she delivered the BBC1 landmark series ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ as Production Manager, before moving into the Production Executive role, where her broad portfolio includes recent BBC1 titles ‘Green Planet’, ‘Frozen Planet II’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History’ as well as the much anticipated ‘Planet Earth III’. She also oversees new titles for a variety of international broadcasters.

Peter Ndung’u

Peter Ndung’u is an award winning photographer and filmmaker from Nairobi, Kenya with a passion for documenting nature, wildlife and people stories. His journey has seen him document stories and work across Africa for the last 10 years. He has also been featured on global platforms and publications such as Apple, Canon, National Geographic and CNN in addition to being exhibited on several occasions. Peter is currently working with National Geographic Society’s Impact Story Lab as an Associate Producer to develop a film in Kenya. He was a Jackson Wild 2021 & 2022 Summit fellow and is also a NEWF and African Conservation Voices fellow. His goal is to create awareness about nature, the environment, wildlife and culture while encouraging people to actively get involved in conserving the beauty that Africa has to offer.