UWE Bristol graduate's Wildlife film selected for prize in Japan

Issue date: 01 May 2015

A graduate from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has had her first film selected for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival. The film is set at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at (WWT) Slimbridge in Gloucestershire and has been selected alongside David Attenborough's latest BBC series, Life Story.

Ida May-Jones followed the lives of two young cranes struggling with the challenges of parenthood early last year as her final project for an MA in Wildlife Filmmaking.

The First Dance of the Crane took around 200 hours to film, over several months, as the pair courted and eventually settled down to rear a family on the wetlands at Slimbridge.

The effort paid off when Ida was the first to see and film the first crane chick emerging from the nest, beating a crew from the BBC's Springwatch who were filming the same birds.

Ida said, “I'm really excited that the film has been chosen for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival alongside such esteemed company!

“We're fortunate in the South West to have these incredible wildlife stories unfolding on our doorsteps. The birds in the film are young cranes, no more than teenagers really, and they're the first of their species to try to settle and rear a family in the South West for more than four centuries. It was incredibly moving to watch the drama of their lives over weeks and months. Hopefully that comes across in the film.”

The cranes which are known as Christine and Monty are now five years old. They were released as young birds in Somerset as part of the Great Crane Project reintroduction programme, run by the WWT, RSPB, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and Viridor Credits.

They currently spend most of their time at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire where they and other cranes are regularly seen by visitors. Staff at WWT are asking that the public report any sightings of cranes to them as they settle down for this year's breeding season.

Peter Venn, Programme Leader, MA Wildlife Filmmaking University of the West of England, said, “We were delighted to hear that Ida's film has been nominated for this award. It is well-deserved recognition of the hard work and commitment she put in during her time on MA course here at UWE. 'The First Dance of the Crane' is a charming, creative and accomplished first film and we wish Ida the best of luck with winning the award.

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