At the end of a marathon 2-year project, ADI‘s ‘Spirit of Freedom’ reached its spectacular conclusion this month, with the arrival in South Africa of 33 lions rescued from the brutality of circuses in Colombia and Peru. We’ve been following the whole campaign and were in South Africa to film the lions taking their first steps on African soil.

We’ve had the privilege of working with ADI for just over 6 years, following their incredible work as they campaign for animal rights across the globe, and focusing in particular on animal rescues in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. As part of an amazing international team we’ve documented the highs and lows, providing a steady stream of still images and video to help promote, publicise and fund-raise. As the stories have unfolded we’ve worked with ADI’s media team to share them with an international audience; short form videos content is uploaded to Youtube with individual videos receiving over 7 million views. The full story of the 2010 Bolivian rescue was told through ‘Lion Ark’ a feature-length documentary that has won 11 awards at international film festivals and is currently being distributed by ITV. Our footage of the ‘Spirit of Freedom’ campaign will be turned into a series for TV but in the meantime you can see some of it in this South African news piece or read a great account here on the Huffington Post. More importantly the 33 are now settling in to a well earned retirement under the African sun at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa.

Rescued and relocated lions recovering in South Africa, after a tough life in the Peruvian Circus.
Rescued and relocated lions recovering in South Africa, after a tough life in the Peruvian Circus.

We had the great privilege to film an interview with photographer and film-maker Nick Knight today, as part of a film about body image, diversity and fashion. Nick, whose incredible images mark him out as one of the world’s top fashion photographers, offered up some provocative insights on the emerging digital era. For him  ‘photography is over’, it died a death at the start of this century to be replaced by modern, digital image-making, a new medium of immense artistic freedom and possibility, which has shaken off the dead hand of ‘truth’ and moved into a fresh, creative space where the visual imagination can run wild and images can be endlessly controlled, manipulated, adjusted and re-invented. It’s new world, in which we’re just scratching the surface, where Nick’s work delivers an inspiring glimpse of the possibilities – see it here.

An interview with photographer Nick Knight. Photo credit: Yoho Media
An interview with photographer Nick Knight. Photo credit: Yoho Media
An interview with photographer Nick Knight. Photo credit: Yoho Media
An interview with photographer Nick Knight. Photo credit: Yoho Media

Our latest video installation for the National Museum of Scotland’s ‘Discoveries’ Gallery is a projection that explores two centuries of Scottish discovery, invention and innovation around the world. The challenge was to bring these stories to life using a range of static archive material, including documents, maps, portraits, letters and illustrations, creating moving imagery from a time before images moved. The project’s success is a testament to the skill and creativity of designer and animator Luke Spurgeon.

David Livingstone. An image from the Discoveries projection for the National Musem of Scotland.
An image of Alexander Fleming, the inventor of penicilin.
An image from Yoho Media's video projection for the National Museum of Scotland.
Isobel Wylie Hutchison. An image from Yoho Media's video projection for the National Museum of Scotland.

We’re back in Iquitos, Peru, filming another episode of the ‘Spirit of Freedom’ series, which follows the work of Animal Defenders International, a UK-based animal rights charity which has worked with the Peruvian government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The series, which we’ve been filming since April 2014, follows the team as they seize animals from circuses and find new homes for them. The numbers are rising all the time as lions, monkeys, bears and even tortoises come to light. Some of the monkeys seem keen on following a career in the media.

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We’re filming at Petworth House in Sussex today, on the first day of a new film for the National Trust, who have decided it’s time to shake up their approach to interpretation; less talking heads and heavy history, more creativity and imagination. We’re developing an anarchic little film which will bring the place to life, called ‘Petworth; Packed with Personality’, it’ll be a cross between Monty Python and Night at the Museum – hopefully it’ll breath some life into the place. Watch this space!

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Lion Ark – our award winning documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from Bolivian circuses by ADI – now has an exclusive worldwide distribution deal for television with ITV Studios Global Entertainment. We provided crew, equipment, data management and editing services to the film, which was made by Animal Defenders International. We hope this will take Lion Ark to the biggest worldwide audience possible and beyond traditional independent documentary outlets! Lion Ark will be showcased by ITV Studios Global Entertainment to TV buyers at MIPCOM in Cannes next week. The films is currently in movie theaters in Bolivia and opens next month in the UK, with more theatrical distribution to be announced.

We’re filming in Africa this week, shooting a documentary for UNESCO-IHE and the WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) about Kenya’s Mara River and the pressure on shared water resources. Working with a team of Kenyan and Dutch professionals – amazing landscapes, great people and phenomenal skies.

We’re in Palestine this week, continuing our work with UNESCO-IHE on a film about global water resources, conservation and education. We’re filming at Birzeit University outside Ramallah, where Palestine’s leading water engineers are teaching future generations about the importance of water conservation. Inspiring people, doing all that they can, but a frustrating and sad situation.

Our film about Norway’s ice music festival is a finalist in the 2013 Banff Mountain Film Festival. Something of a personal triumph for me as I saw the Banff festival tour about 10 years ago in a tiny cinema in Fernie, deep in the Canadian rockies, and was so impressed by the quality of the films and the audience that I’ve always wanted to be part of the festival.