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Nature’s Storytellers – The Next Generation

If you searched for information about the natural history filmmaking industry, it’s almost inevitable the …

Meet The Edge of Nature: Short Film Fund Grantees

Wildscreen has unveiled five short films that will receive funding through its Edge of Nature: Short Film Fund. Delivered in partnership with On the Edge, this inaugural short film fund will bring new perspectives and fresh approaches to the natural history filmmaking genre, targeted at Gen Z audiences.

The selected filmmakers who hail from India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and the UK will receive grants totalling £60,000 for their projects. The filmmakers who will all be making their professional Directorial debut, all belong to groups currently underrepresented within the natural history genre. The films will pioneer fresh, out-of-the-box storytelling approaches whilst spotlighting EDGE species and habitats.

In addition to the grants, the fund provides wraparound support for the filmmakers, including bespoke industry mentors, a training programme delivered by industry experts to help develop their skills and progress their careers. Wildscreen and On the Edge will also support the filmmakers across the entire lifecycle of the project and beyond. Bristol-based post-production house Evolutions, will also be partnering on the project to provide the filmmakers with post-production support and expertise.

The short films will be premiered at Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, UK, slated for 14-18 October 2024.

Launched through an open call in September 2023, over 100 applications from 32 countries were received. The projects were selected by a jury composed of industry experts headed up by Dr Alex Bowmer, Director of Natural History at On the Edge. The other jury members were: Roy Conli, Producer at Walt Disney Animation Studios; Andres Sehinkman, Co-founder and Director at Planta Alta, an award-winning production company based in Argentina; Beth Blood, Founder and CEO of On the Edge; Kartiki Gonsalves, Director and the first Indian Film Director to win an Academy Award for Elephant Whisperers; and Lucie Muir, Wildscreen CEO.

Roy Conli, said: “The Edge of Nature program [film fund] is designed to open the eyes and hearts of a younger generation to the wonders and challenges facing our beautiful planet. It creates a platform for young, talented filmmakers to share their vision with much needed financial support and mentorship. I am inspired by the thoughtfulness, passion and persistence of the next generation of natural history filmmakers. Through the support of the Edge of Nature program, their voices will touch and inspire a new, young, social media savvy audience.”

Andres Sehinkman added: “It’s great to be part of initiatives like this one, promoting new talents and fresh ways of storytelling. Taking the first steps as directors or scriptwriters in the natural history industry is not always easy, that makes funds like the Edge of Nature: Short Film Fund so important.”

Lucie Muir, Wildscreen CEO, said: “We were blown away by the volume, quality and sheer creativity in the submissions to our inaugural Edge of Nature: Short Film Fund. We look forward to supporting this talented group of filmmakers as they bring their ideas to life, offering an alternative take to traditional natural history storytelling.”

Dr Alex Bowmer, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to support emerging filmmakers in Natural History, those who want to tell new stories and change how nature is portrayed on our screens. Not only that, but for the first time, we are casting the spotlight on Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species and spaces, those who receive little to no attention. Think of them as nature’s underdogs, and this fund as the opportunity to tell their stories.”

The successful grantees were:

Nikki Tan, Singapore

Buhê

Buhê is to survive and to fight in the indigenous Tboli language. Faced with the pressure of preserving his culture, a member of the Tboli tribe uses the power of song and drag to protect his land.

Will Clothier, Bristol, UK

Ramfy

Wildlife filmmaker and conservationist, Will Clothier, travels back to South Africa in search of a very special pangolin. Back in 2018 he helped raise Ramfy, the very first hand reared Temminck’s pangolin to successfully be returned to the wild. But when tragedy strikes, is all his hard work for nothing?

Aravind Mohanraj, Chennai, India

The Frog That Fell From the Sky

In Munnar, young Tiyara holds a unique fascination for frogs. Her quest to find the rare Galaxy Frog, set amidst the enchanting Western Ghats, unveils the beauty of this ecosystem.

Tania Ãlvarez Guerrero, Mexico City, Mexico

The Maya Forest: When a Tapir Gazes Upon You

Through a series of letters, children share mythical tales, legends, and personal anecdotes about their encounters with tapirs.

Myles Storey, Malaysia/UK

Would You Still Love Me if I was a Sticky Frog?

A young couple in a long distance relationship, test each other’s commitment by imagining themselves in the place of three different edge species.

Find out more about the On the Edge Short Film Fund here.