We’re back in Saudi Arabia this week, working with the Riyadh Development Authority, a government department that is responsible for developing the infrastructure of the capital. Their projects include transport, parks, libraries, and roads. We’re making a documentary about the river network that runs through the city, feeding into Wadi Hanifa. Over the past 15 years the city has been working hard to restore and renovate the rivers, which had become neglected and polluted during the development of the city. Today the entire river network is being reborn as a beautiful public resource, forming one the longest, continuous urban parks in the world.
Mustafa the Mountain Lion (Cougar) was rescued from a miserable life in the Peruvian Circus by Animal Defenders International. He had lived in chains, kept in the back of a pickup truck, but thanks to ADI he was given a new home in the forest. His story has captured the imagination of people around the world, reaching over twelve million view on Youtube.
We’ve been lucky enough to work with Animal Defenders International since 2008, documenting their campaign to end animal suffering in circuses. We’ve followed their every move as they’ve uncovered the suffering, campaigned for change and worked tirelessly to save and re-house the animals, moving them to new homes at sanctuaries in South America, South Africa and the US. As the events unfold we produce a stream of video and stills content, working as part of an international team to helps ADI promote their cause. The viral success of Mustafa’s story is a tribute to the amazing work done by Animal Defenders International, but also to the power of simple, honest storytelling, supported by active online networks. ADI’s Youtube Channel has 10,000 subscribers and their Facebook Page 230,000 likes, but the story has clearly reached way beyond this, driven by the power and presence of the animal rights movement online.
Our work following ADI’S work in Bolivia was made into the award-winning feature length documentary Lion Ark which is distributed by ITV Studios.
Mustafa was rescued from a circus in the badlands of Northern Peru, near the town of Piura. The rescue was the result of a long, tense day of negotiations between the Peruvian legal authorities and the circus owners. Piura’s public prosecutor faced-up to an angry crowd, reading out the letter of the law – that’s the Peruvian penal code in her left hand. Both sides pulled in reinforcements; the circus owners using local radio stations to call in extra muscle and the authorities responding with a contingent of riot police.
The world’s shortest scheduled flight, from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands is shorter than the runway at Heathrow, with a duration of less than 2 minutes. We made a short film about the flight as part of a package of documentary films for the renovated galleries at the National Museum of Flight, which opened earlier this year. Today the film has been picked up by media outlets around the world, including CNN in the US and Sky News in the UK. It goes to show that in a world hungry for content it’s so often museums that are telling the best stories. It also demonstrates the way in which digital media assets (videos, stills and even stories) that are designed so use in galleries, can have a real reach and enable museums to tell their stories beyond their physical limits.
A new film for Scruffs Workwear, produced in partnership with Lobster Pictures and Halo. Great to spend a couple of days on the spectacular Severn Bridge with the fantastic team that work so hard maintain the structure.
A spectacular week of filming on the Blasket Islands in the far South West of Ireland, for a short documentary for the Blasket Island Visitor Centre.
Out location scouting on the beautiful Severn Crossing, preparing for a forthcoming shoot, enjoying spectacular views of the bridge, the River Severn and both England and Wales.
The National Museum of Scotland opened 10 beautiful new galleries this week, exploring the worlds of art and science. The galleries look fantastic, a real visual feast that is adventurous, entertaining and amazing. The museum has a fantastic energy to it, described as a ‘Temple of the curious’, The Times said “it seems all of human achievement is laid out for the curious visitor”. We are proud to be part of this, having made 17 short documentaries for the galleries, covering everything from Particle Physics to Body Image.
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.
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.
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.