UWE Bristol + BBC present unique opportunity to learn how to become a wildlife filmmaker

Issue date: 11 April 2012

UWE Bristol and the BBC's world leading Natural History Unit (NHU) in Bristol have teamed up to deliver a pioneering postgraduate degree in Wildlife Filmmaking.

“This groundbreaking MA, which is recruiting now for September, will inspire graduates who can demonstrate a real passion for wildlife and who have a strong desire to tell stories about the natural world,” says Alex Gilkison, UWE Bristol's Pro-vice chancellor in the Faculty for Arts, Creative Industries and Education.

Potential students will need to show a portfolio of material of work produced in the last three years that might include photographs, screen based work, development work, sketchbooks or research material showing personal areas of interest.

The MA in Wildlife Filmmaking has been designed and developed with the expertise of some of the NHU's best known and most successful producers. These include James Honeyborne, who directed the Meerkat feature film and looks after 'Ends of the Earth' and 'Africa'; Steve Greenwood, series editor of 'The Natural World' and producer of BBC 1's 'Lost Lands'; head of NHU radio, Julian Hector and producer Kathryn Jeffs, whose credits include 'Frozen Planet' and 'Planet Earth.'

Students will need to show that they are highly motivated to enter this field. They might be taking part in relevant activity and/or building relevant experiences, for example through volunteering, conservation experience, wildlife or travel filmmaking, writing, photography or 'adventure' activity.

A joint team of academics and professionals have been working together over the past year to design the programme and identify the skills requirements for the multi-platform broadcasters and programme managers of the future.

The one year course, which will be based at the University's new multi-million pound broadcast studios on Frenchay Campus in Bristol, will provide a distinct and bespoke learning experience.

It is anticipated that more than half of all the teaching will be delivered by current and former NHU production personnel - the very best in the business and arguably the world.

It will also draw on the talent in Bristol's successful independent production companies who do business with the major international players including Discovery and Animal Planet. And there's support from the city's international natural world festival - Wildscreen.

The course has been nurtured by Andrew Jackson, outgoing head of the NHU and UWE Bristol's Alex Gilkison.

Wendy Darke, Head of the NHU said, “The NHU's continued success as a world leader in natural history content production is entirely dependent on our access to talent, both within the NHU; the freelance community in the Southwest and our partner organisations. The MA in Wildlife Filmmaking from UWE Bristol has been designed from the ground up to ensure that the very best talent is available to the industry which I'm delighted to support.”

Alex Gilkison adds, “Two of the mutual strengths of the BBC and UWE Bristol are partnership and talent development. This initiative allows us to combine these qualities for the benefit of the industry and its future stars.”

UWE Bristol and the BBC are key members of the Anchor partnership ­ launched by BBC director general, Mark Thompson, three years ago to foster knowledge exchange and excellence in a rapidly changing digital environment.

Tom Archer, head of BBC Factual, is a driving force for innovation in creative thinking and the shared development of training and enterprise in the region. He adds,” Never has the expression 'together we are stronger' felt more appropriate, this is an idea whose time has come. The results for the future could be very exciting indeed.”

To find out more about this exciting new MA see http://courses.uwe.ac.uk/D4P31/2012

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