nature/wildlife films

Discovering nature without the Discovery Channel

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 07, 2007

Forum Post

"My parents have always been opposed to buying a TV and they were trying to explain to us the reasons why they were not falling in line with the TV-buying public.

We couldn’t understand all their arguments until they finally put it to us this way: TV is for those who will never get to experience the real thing. Do you want to actually visit, some day, all those beautiful places they show on TV, or would you rather be happy with just seeing them on the screen? The choice simply put was: Buy a TV, or travel around instead. We chose travel. And I am proud to say that till today we have never allowed the idiot box space in our house. We have travelled instead to almost all parts of India. I learnt snake catching in Pune, handled crocodiles in Mamallapuram, studied spiders and earthworms in Chennai and even travelled to Thailand and Malaysia in my quest to learn more about reptiles. All of which I managed to do because I never sat in front of a TV."

Read the full article by Rahul Alvares, a  young snake rescuer from Goa, who has recently won the ’Young Naturalist Award’ given from Sanctuary Magazine by clicking here.



nature/wildlife films

Opinions heard at Wildscreen-India

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 20, 2007

Forum Post


“In India, as in China, stimulating an interest in nature is a task of the utmost and immediate importance. With both economies growing at rates of around ten percent a year, whole ecosystems risk being destroyed. In India the most recent example is the famed bird reserve of Bharatpur. The increased demand for water in Rajasthan has lead to the diversion of the water supply from Bharatpur, the winter home of 70,000 migatory birds, or rather what was the winter home of 70,000. Since the local river was re-channeled the birds don’t come anymore….


In Britain surveys have found that 85% of respondents have stated that they learn most about their environment from television. Patently India is not necessarily a direct parallel, however there is no doubt that television could have a positive role to play in creating awareness among India’s 1.1 billion people. A sizeable proportion of the population do not have access to television, but hundreds of millions do. It is vital then that a strong and vibrant natural history industry evolves to supply this huge market with home grown films to reinforce the sense of wonder and respect for nature that needs to be there, so it can be defended…..


………….In my personal view creating air time on Indian channels is vital to generate a successful Indian wildlife film industry not merely as a platform to sell to American channels but also help preserve India’s wildlife treasures…”


Jeremy Bristow, award winning environmental film producer





nature/wildlife films

Documentary films in India

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 11, 2007

Forum Post

Documentary film making in India has always been a challenging task.  Commissioned projects end up in the can after being screened to a select audience.   The public do not get a chance to see them as the screening opportunities are limited.  But “Vikalp” in Mumbai and traveling film festivals of Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi, and “film vans” in Kerala and Bengal are changing all that.


If you are an independent producer who spend hard earned money in making films one finds the investment does not come back and making more films remains a dream.  But there is hope here too.  Production costs and Camera costs are coming down for one. Outlets for distribution like and google videos offer a free platform to reach your videos to a wider audience. Video CDs and DVDs are a possible distribution method too.   


Read an interesting take on the subject at the following link


Making business sense of documentary filmmaking,0002.htm


nature/wildlife films

Screening at workplaces?

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 22, 2007

Forum Post

Social and environmental film makers all over the world are, generally speaking, a much troubled lot on the financial front. What keeps them going, more than anything else, is their commitment to the cause.

Unfortunately, these thought provoking films rarely get audiences as they face a challenge of distribution. Television channels either do not run them or, if they do, there is no guarantee of attracting enough eyeballs.

Screening at the workplace

Organizations would do well to screen such films in their workplaces. There are many ways to do this including:

  1. Television screens that are sometimes installed in offices.
  2. Create a kind of a You Tube on the intranet so staff can watch these on their desks itself.
  3. Collective Screening: Call staff in groups to a common room, and screen for them. No doubt people watching in a group would be impacted more as they would have a chance to discuss the same with one another, then and later too.
  4. Distribute discs: Get multiple copies of such films on suitable discs and distribute them amongst staff.
  5. Go a step further. Start giving these to customers who make a certain minimum purchase from you. Why give a free soap with a shampoo? Give a film.

nature/wildlife films

Screenings by WWF India

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 12, 2006

Forum Post




        Invite you to a special screening of films on


NOVEMBER  18, 2006


LIVING WITH THE PARK – Ranthambore National Park (English-30 Minutes) 6.30pm 

The film is a look at the popular tiger reserve as an integrated universe comprising its animals and people in the adjoining areas.  The forests connects the two and neither one can flourish with the other.  So is the policy of segregating the park as a preserve for animals alienating the people who lived in harmony with the park for decades, helping the Park?  There are no quick answers.  The film depicts the main attraction of the park the Bengal Tiger, which is in danger of getting decimated here, as it has already happened in Sariska.  Is it time we looked outside the park for the reasons, at the humanity which is living outside, their lives still connected to the Park – the people who are living with the park? Produced and directed by Dr. Susan Sharma-will be present  to introduce the film and take questions.


WILDERNESS NEPAL – (English – 30 Minutes) 7.00pm

 The film looks at the wilderness of the Himalayan region with special reference to Nepal.  Nepal foresters an incredible variety of eco-systems and is a hotspot of bio-diversity.  Exclusive footage of Indian Rhino and the Asian elephant from the Royal Chitwan National Park, which is guarded by the Royal Nepal Army from rhino poachers.  While depicting the natural  beauty of Nepal, the film also projects the “community forests” concept in Nepal which has proved a success in maintaining the wetland area of “twenty thousand lakes” a paradise of bird watchers. Produced and directed by Dr. Susan Sharma-will be present to introduce the film and take questions.


Venue: India International Centre, Main Auditorium

40, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi 110003


For further information please contact: Mr Raj Pal Singh,Network Services and Supporter Relations, World Wide Fund for Nature-India, Pirojsha Godrej National Conservation Centre, 172 B, Lodi Estate, New Delhi, 110003 = Tel: 41504815-19/41504808 E-mail:




nature/wildlife films

podcast of Green Films

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 01, 2006

Forum Post

Green Planet Films support environmental education through film, and their newest enterprise is a podcast called GREENSTREAM: a source for eco film news.

With podcasts representing one of the fastest growing trends in online media, they hope that GREENSTREAM will keep you tuned into the latest happenings in the world of environmental films. These films are a powerful educational tool to use for yourself or share them with others.

They also hope this podcast will help attract more people to support the growing environmental movement by learning about issues covered in these niche documentaries and taking action. Each podcast will include an interview with a special guest, a featured DVD, film festival updates, and the latest eco film news.


nature/wildlife films

WildScreen Awards-2006

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 23, 2006

Forum Post

Two Indian films have made it to top awards at the prestigious "Wildscreen" Film Festival at Bristol, U.K.

These are


 Last Dance of the Sarus

Global Broadcast News Pat. Ltd (India)


Cherub of the Mist

 Bedi Films (India)

nature/wildlife films

Distributing on the internet

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 15, 2006

Forum Post

For an ecologically sensitive film maker, films are a medium of communication and the communication process is not completed until the message is delivered to the proper audience and feedback (positive or negative) is garnered.

With internet sites like for free distribution and for paid distribution, the age of low cost film making seems to have arrived for wildlife film makers.

And making your work available for free download on the Net does not preclude you from also selling an easy-to-access version at a reasonable price (say Rs 200-300) for home viewing. You get the mindshare and publicity, and you also have a (modest) revenue stream.

nature/wildlife films


Posted by Susan Sharma on August 10, 2006

Forum Post

A country with no natural wealth of its own, is attracting tourists worldwide who want to study animal behavior. This country is Singapore. Jurong Bird Park and Santosa Island are must visits for wildlife lovers.

The open zoos of Singapore educate, conserve and entertain. The need to protect endangered species is communicated so well through these efforts that corporates invest liberally in the upkeep of the Singapore Zoological Gardens. The butterfly and insect sections, the Dolphin Island and other nature related sections of the Zoo are crowd pullers.

Short two minute video clips of my visit are uploaded at the following links

NOTE:   In case the links do not open, cut and paste the urls in your browser. Use the BACK button in your browser to come back to IWC Blog.

"Sky Meets Sea"

"Animals Teach"

Hope you like watching them. I look forward to your comments.


nature/wildlife films

Power of Video to change/motivate? Read this real life story

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 09, 2006

Forum Post

"Ela Bhatt was totally sold on the idea.

With support from the United Nations Development Programme and USAID, she managed to bring the Martha Stewart team to Ahmedabad. Twenty women from SEWA were given an intensive three-week training. They were all women from the unorganised sector who were unfamiliar even with basic electrical stuff, let alone digital technology. There was Leelaben, the vegetable vendor, Shubhadraben, the bidi-roller, Taraben, the incense-stick-maker…

Leelaben recalls: “I was dying every day and living every day. As a vegetable vendor I used to sit in Manek Chowk market with two baskets of vegetables. But the police always abused us, displacing us whenever they wished to.” For Shubhadra, the bidi-roller, protesting against unjustified wages or insufficient security measures in the workplace was difficult before she learnt how to record her demands. It’s been a long journey since 1984.

For the poor illiterate women of SEWA, Video Sewa has become a tool for change. What began as a sensitisation programme has turned into a mechanism for protest and marshalling public opinion. From simply depicting poor women’s concerns, it has become a canvas for information-dissemination, awareness-building and policy advocacy.

But for the users of this technology, there’s no jargon-spewing. The day Leelaben understood the hidden powers of the video she knew immediately what she had to do. Neelam Dave, coordinator Video SEWA, joined SEWA in 1981. She was among the first group of 20 members to be trained. Although Neelam was a trained photographer she was not exposed to the digital media and she found the training immensely useful. Explaining the effectiveness of video as a communications tool, Neelam says: “Video footage can make the authorities sit up. Leelaben and Shubhadraben both recorded the deplorable conditions of vegetable vendors and bidi-rollers. Armed with the footage, we visited the Ahmedabad civic authorities that responded faster than ever before.”

On a different occasion, the bidi workers of Anand district united to agitate against their employer who had illegally sacked them from their jobs. They had no testimony to back them up, but they had recorded their experiences, which were used as evidence in the Supreme Court, resulting in a favourable judgment and compensation for the women. Neelamben explains that this is not an isolated incident. “We went to Lucknow some years ago, to organise women doing chikankari embroidery. After the core training programme was over we screened some footage of a rally we had shot in Ahmedabad. The footage related to the demands of readymade garment workers for minimum wages. The Lucknowi women were enthused. They immediately decided to organise a similar rally in Lucknow. Such is the power of video,” says Neelamben.

With over 100 films completed, Video SEWA is now a movement. Somewhere down the line it became more than just a protest tool. It is also a space to discuss and negotiate macro issues like food security, water and sanitation, labour rights and women’s rights."

Nilosree Biswas (Nilosree Biswas is a journalist and filmmaker based in Ahmedabad) InfoChange News & Features, April 2006


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