Definition December 2022 - Web


FEELING 40? The Wildscreen Festival has been going strong since 1982. Its mission statement is to democratise creation of nature’s stories

I t’s not often the pope, Sir David Attenborough, a drag queen and an Amazonian chief share a platform, but that happened at the 40th anniversary of Wildscreen Festival in October. Marking its first hybrid event, the biennial natural world storytelling festival returned with the theme ‘The Future of Natural World Storytelling for a Better Planet’ – with this year’s focus on craft, industry, global voices and planetary crisis. “This year’s Wildscreen focused on tackling diversity in wildlife filmmaking, or historic lack thereof, both on- and off- screen,” says Andrew Zikking, managing director of Off the Fence. “Not just in a tokenistic way, but it felt like there was an appetite among producers I spoke with – to listen, learn and change for the better.”

in a special case,” says event producer Thomasina Gibson. “So passionate is he about saving the environment that he learnt Portuguese in order to communicate better.” A WIDER AUDIENCE Wildscreen, which takes place in Bristol, used to be the preserve of wildlife filmmakers, naturalists and conservationists. However, in recent years it has attracted a much wider audience. Claire Urquhart, founder, creative director and producer at Silver Strand Pictures is a local with lots of contacts in natural history. But she attended the event despite it not being her usual genre. “I dropped in on a panel discussion called The Future of Content, because it was applicable to general factual

There were virtual presentations delivered by Attenborough and James Cameron, and a live feed of a US drag queen called Pattie Gonia. Pope Francis made an appearance, too. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but he did appear in a documentary called The Letter: A Message for our Earth , by Off the Fence for YouTube. The film features Cacique Odair ‘Dadá’ Borari, an indigenous chief in the Amazon rainforest who brought attention to the exploitation and devastation of the region, and how indigenous people are protecting some 80% of the world’s biodiversity. What’s more, he came to Bristol to talk live, through an interpreter. “Chief Dadá administered a blessing in person, wearing a ceremonial robe and a headdress that had to be flown over


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