Yoho Media; Filming at Wadi Namar in Saudi Arabia

Drone up in Saudi Arabia

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.

Yoho Media; Filming at Wadi Namar in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh - Filming in Saudi Arabia
Mustafa, saved by Animal Defenders International.

15 Million Views & Counting

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.

A Peruvian legal official spells out the law to Circus owners.
A crane lifts Mustafa's cage onto a truck at the end of a long, tense day.

Shooting medium format in Ireland

Very excited to be shooting film for the first time in a decade, and on a spectacularly beautiful day in South West Ireland. We’re shooting stills and re-enactment scenes for a film about the Blasket Islands for Ireland’s Office of Public Works. In order to produce images that have a strong period feel we’re using 6 x 6 medium format film and a vintage Rolleiflex camera. You can see the results here.

Two planes heading West, which is the direction chosen by the inhabitants when they abandoned the islands in 1953.

World’s Shortest Scheduled Flight

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.

Filming the Stones; Standing, not Rolling!

A spectacular day of filming at Stonehenge today – great skies over the Wiltshire landscape.

Tourists at Stonehenge
Tourists at Stonehenge

The beautiful Blaskets

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.

Blasket Islands
Aerial of the Great Blasket
Tearaght seen from the Great Blasket
Ruins on the Blasket Islands
The ruined village, Great Blasket.
Grey Seals on the beach of The Great Blasket Island, South West Ireland.
Seals on the beach of The Great Blasket Island, South West Ireland
A seal off the beach of The Great Blasket Island, South West Ireland
A seal takes a breath

Up High on the Severn Crossing

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.

Severn Bridge
Severn Bridge
Severn Bridge
Severn Bridge
Severn Bridge

33 Lions head home to Africa

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.
Shooting with the WWF in the Massai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Under African Skies

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.

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