Issue date: 11 April 2017
A University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) graduate has earned the support of a BBC television presenter in her bid to make a new wildlife film about the prospect of reintroducing wolves to Scotland.
Lisa Marley has received an endorsement from Chris Packham in response to her crowdfunding campaign to capture a project exploring the potential impact of reintroducing the once-native predator to the Caledonian Forest.
For the short documentary, the 26-year-old intends to follow an experimental 'human wolf pack' patrolling the woodland at night. Charity volunteers in the pack will mimic the movements of wolves - testing whether their presence prevents red deer harming the landscape by overgrazing on new forest growth.
Broadcaster Chris Packham, who is vocal in his support for conservation projects, is a fan of Lisa's last film – the award-winning Red Sky on the Black Isle - and has given his support to her new venture on rewilding.
In a comment on her crowdfunding page, he said: “These grass roots, real and reactive films come straight from the hearts of creatives who not only care but motivate their skills to take action; action at a time when we are desperate for people to stop musing and moaning and actually stand up and be counted. It's time to shout above the noise - Red Sky on the Black Isle did this - so please help Lisa turn her talents onto the exciting subject of rewilding.”
Lisa - who graduated from UWE Bristol with a Masters in Documentary & Features in 2015 - passed her initial fundraising target after two weeks, ensuring the film will be made. She is now working towards her second goal which will allow for an extended shoot in the Highlands following the project, run by charity Trees for Life.
The filmmaker said: “I've been overwhelmed by the support for Project Wolf. Now that I have passed my first funding goal, the film will definitely be made. But there is still some way to go - I've now set a second target which will allow me to spend longer in the Highlands with the 'human wolf pack' and with my interview subjects. I'll also be able to use more advanced equipment to better tell the story of rewilding in Scotland.
“When I first heard about Trees for Life's work, I was instantly hooked. It's an incredible project that has the potential to make a real impact on the regeneration of the Caledonian Forest, and I can't wait to get out into the wilderness to experience it for myself.”
Alan Watson Featherstone, founder of Trees for Life, said: “This film will give vital and significant publicity to our Project Wolf, which seeks to demonstrate an innovative approach to helping a new generation of native trees to grow in the Caledonian Forest. By using volunteers to patrol the edge of existing woodlands at unpredictable hours in the night we will be replicating the natural disturbance effect of missing top predators such as the wolf, thereby enabling young trees to grow successfully without being overgrazed by deer.
“The project has potential significance for many other areas in Scotland, and Lisa's film will be an essential means of communicating this message to a wide audience.”
Lisa's last film, Red Sky on the Black Isle, continues to make waves both in the film and wildlife communities. Translated into multiple languages and screened around the world, it picked up the Little Audience Prize at the Raptor Filmz Short Scottish Film Festival last year. It will be shown at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York this October.
The Project Wolf campaign runs on Indiegogo until April 19. For more information, and to donate, visit www.indiegogo.com/at/projectwolf
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