Mrs Bolinga, Mai Ndombe province, Democratic Republic of Congo
Are there any stories that there was not space for that you wish you could have included or expanded upon?
The problem with any short film is that there is always so much else you wish you could have included. This was especially true of this short film for Synchronicity Earth as we decided that I would film a lot more content than was necessary for just the film. This was so that the film and photographic media gathered could be used in future content such as education, awareness and fundraising programmes by the partners themselves. Making the final selections of which footage to include with my talented co-editor Damian Antochewicz and the team at Synchronicity Earth was therefore especially tough. It’s very difficult to choose but if I had to, there are two stories I would like to have pursued a bit further.
Firstly, I would like to have expanded on one of the central narratives in the film which was the threats that indigenous people face and the vital role they play in conservation.
This is a topic very close to my heart and I am currently developing and seeking funding for a documentary that will look into the rise in the deaths and assaults of environmental defenders globally. Many of these environmental defenders come from remote indigenous communities like those featured in the film.
Secondly, I would like to have expanded more on the conservation efforts to save the Philippine crocodile. This is a species which is critically endangered and facing extinction. Much of what we see in the media is doom and gloom when it comes to the environment, and as an environmental filmmaker and photographer a lot of what I see on a regular basis is difficult and depressing. But people need to see that we can make a difference and that’s why working with groups such as the Mabuwaya Foundation renews hope that we can turn the tide and save species with the right approach. The team were incredibly hard working, good fun and endlessly positive and most importantly of all, they are bringing this species back from the brink. I would love to follow up on this story and see what happened to the new hatchlings we filmed in their centre and to try and find “Cut Tail” the 3-metre male crocodile whose relocation into the wild featured prominently in the film.