The “Oscars” of Nature Film: 5 Wildscreen nominations for TMFS
July 2016: Time to celebrate: the nominations for the 2016 Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, United Kingdom, the most important nature film festival in the world, have just been officially announced. The Vienna-based production and distribution house Terra Mater Factual Studios are delighted to find three of their productions within the final nominees in five different categories: “David Attenborough’s Light on Earth” (categories: Science Award & Technical Innovation Award), “IVORY” (working title; category: Theatrical Award) and “Wild Weather with Richard Hammond” (categories: Series Award & Script Award).
The Wildscreen Panda Awards are considered the Oscars of the Natural History doc industry. At this biannual event, the competition is strong: hundreds of productions from around the globe have been entered into the festival’s 20 categories, and all of them have been screened by preliminary judges.
“Receiving this message today made us all very happy and also proud – it’s a very special achievement for our company”, CEO of TMFS, Walter Köhler, exclaimed. “Our greatest thanks goes out to our partners and all the people involved. Their efforts, their creativity and their hard work have absolutely paid off, and it’s these qualities on which we build in producing our premium productions.”
“David Attenborough’s Light on Earth”, is a ground-breaking one-hour documentary about the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence. Sir David Attenborough himself was overjoyed to come on board this marvellous science & nature production, presenting various kinds of life forms which produce their own light – and most importantly, explaining why they do so. Glow worms and fungi, microorganisms and larvae, as well as an astounding variety of deep sea creatures – extremely light-sensitive cameras have revealed never-before seen behaviour of all kinds.
Scientists around the globe were absolutely delighted by these takes, and cameraman and ingenious mastermind behind some of the used technology, Martin Dohrn, found himself in the centre of attention by highly excited scientists.
Not only Martin Dohrn’s specially developed camera technology, but also his unique way of processing the imagery are to be made responsible for a second Wildscreen Panda Award nomination in the category Technical Innovation.
“David Attenborough’s Light on Earth” was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios and Ammonite Films, in co-production with the American SVOD service CuriosityStream, and in association with BBC, UKTV and ABC Australia.
“Working together with the BBC on this project was an absolute success”, says CEO Köhler. “The BBC broadcast generated not only incredibly high ratings, but also fantastic reviews from professional TV critics and loads of terrific response by viewers online.”
In the category Theatrical – documentaries for the big screen – the Wildscreen nomination jury honoured the TMFS production “IVORY”. Every year, approximately 30,000 elephants are being slaughtered in Africa because of their ivory. This production is a spectacular undercover film, following the reasons and background of illegal poaching, and uncovers connections and routes of the global ivory trafficking. Activists risked their lives, using spy cams to uncover the main players alongside their wheeling and dealings. Africa’s most wanted poacher, ivory wholesalers in China and ivory sculptors in Vietnam play their part in this unveiling theatrical documentary.
“’IVORY’ is a statement – and a topic which is really close to my heart”, emphasises TMFS CEO Köhler. “This film MUST provoke actions. It should be a wake-up call to the public, to authorities as well as politicians around the globe. We must save the elephants, because with poaching going strong with these high numbers, the day will come all too soon when there are no more elephants left. We must do everything we can to avoid this magnificent animal from going extinct!”
This captivating and moving Terra Mater Factual Studios production with Vulkan Productions in association with Malaika Pictures feature doc was directed by Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson.
Best of Series: “Wild Weather with Richard Hammond” is an elaborate three-part production, covering the different forms of weather on our planet. Ex-Top Gear star Richard Hammond is following the most diverse and spectacular weather phenomena around the world, taking part in experiments set up by scientists and experts, and himself experiencing these forces of nature. In addition, Episode 2 of the weather trilogy, entitled “Water: The Shape Shifter”, is nominated for the Script award.
This science mini-series was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios in co-production with Oxford Scientific Films and the Open University in association with BBC, Hamster’s Wheel and PAAN.
“Now it’s wait and see”, Walter Köhler summarises, obviously pleased. “The Wildscreen Award ceremony takes place on October 13th, 2016. Then we’ll see whether we’ll be honoured with one of these highly sought-after Panda Awards. But honestly, TMFS titles make up for nearly 10% of all the nominations at this year’s Wildscreen Festival. This alone serves as a proof that our documentaries and films, premium both in content and technology, are getting the international attention and recognition they deserve.”