Headshot of Jacob Burley beside Wildscreen Logo

News archive

Wildscreen Festival Tanzania Filmmaker Case Studies: Jigar Ganatra

In the first in a series of Tanzanian filmmaker case studies, we meet Jigar Ganatra, Co-founder and Chair of AFRISOS.

Tanzania: The next generation of wildlife filmmaking talent

Why Tanzania is one of the world’s richest sources of untapped potential when it comes to wildlife filmmaking.

BBC Studios Natural History Unit Announced As Headline Sponsor for Wildscreen Festival 2024

The broadcaster is lending its support to the world’s biggest wildlife film festival.

Headshot of Jacob Burley beside Wildscreen Logo

Meet Jacob – Our Network Assistant!

1. Tell us a bit about your role!

Primarily I run Wildscreen Network, our global community platform. That means my role is both administrative (looking after members, events, and our online platform) and outward facing (meeting industry members, hosting webinars, liaising with corporate partners). I get to do a bit of everything in this job, and that suits me down to the ground.

2. What’s your background? How did you get to where you are today?

Let me introduce you to the phrase occupational gumbo. Over the years I’ve worked across comedy, science, theatre, events, and as a writer. In 2021 I started an MA in Wildlife Filmmaking at UWE, moving into the natural history/documentary sphere whilst before I’d been a science communicator.

Headshot of Jacob Burley

I’ve worked in production since, and still operate as a speaker, filmmaker, and presenter. I first started at Wildscreen in the run-up to the 2022 festival, managing our volunteer pool. Since then I’ve been the in-house boomerang, and this role marks my fourth time starting a job at Wildscreen. Not bad ey? 

3. What motivates you?

Attention and praise. I’m an absolute hound for that kind of thing.

4. If you could change one thing about the natural history industry, what would it be?

This industry needs to get over itself, and start taking itself less seriously. That’s not to say the industry shouldn’t deal with serious issues – that’s vital to our purpose as storytellers and communicators. This is about how we view ourselves. Less faffing, more honesty. Natural history television is in a perennial state of believing its own hype, and that’s so detrimental to innovation and creativity. Coming from theatre, I’m used to spaces that thrive on experimentation and fun. I miss that. Expand!

a bed of ammonite fossils

5. What are your career goals?

I get all my kicks from entertaining. I spend so much of my time thinking about ways to make people laugh. A great ambition of mine is to be a, yuck, TV personality. Roles like this do facilitate that people-person element of my character and interacting with our wide and varied industry scratches an itch for me.

I’ve also increasingly enjoyed opportunities to mentor people as time has passed, so I’ll keep that up. Come what may, however, I want to create and perform. If I can be paid (ideally a lot) to do that? Bosh.

6. Favourite moment working at Wildscreen?

Midway through Wildscreen’s 2022 festival I found myself witnessing the wedding of an elderly lesbian couple I met five minutes prior. I wept. Does that count? If not, I’ll say the camaraderie that emerged amongst my volunteer team in the trenches throughout that manic week. I loved working with them all and they made me very proud. And tired. But mostly proud.

7. What’s your favourite story from nature?

The repeating story of progress and constant change that nature and ecosystems undergo on both a macro and micro level. There’s a bewilderingly vast level of flux happening everywhere all the time, and it has been happening since nature, as we know it, began. I’m enamoured by that great tale, of a place changing so much so many times over billions of years to an extent that we as a species cannot comprehend. Or that clip of a seal slapping a man with a octopus.

8. Describe working for Wildscreen in three words!

Always something new.

9. If you could turn into any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

Peacock. Show-off.

10. What’s a fun fact about you?

My latest film was a semi finalist in the 50th anniversary Student Academy Awards. Come to a Wildscreen Network event and I’ll tell you more.

close-up of male peacock