Last month Frontier, Wildeye, Wildlife-film.com and NHU Africa collaborated to launch a film competition, hoping to find some exciting new wildlife film-making talent! We asked entrants to send us a 3-minute wildlife video, as well as a 150-word production proposal explaining how the footage could be made into a feature length film or series.
Thanks to everyone that entered, we had a great mix of submissions and really enjoyed the whole process.
The films were judged and critiqued by Vyv Simson, Commissioning Editor and Creative Director at NHU Africa and Piers Warren, Principal of Wildeye - International School of Wildlife Film-making, and adjudicated by Jason Peters, Editor of Wildlife Film News/Producer of Wildlife-film.com (With help from Alex Prior/Frontier and Christopher Mason/NHU Africa.)
Here are the top ten in order of entry:
- Deer in Winter by Matt Smith
- The Adventurer with Alex Jones - Alligator by Alex Jones
- Day of a Norfolk Bait Digger by Philip R K Jones
- Wildlife at War by Charlotte Storme van’s Gravesande
- Yosemite by Natasha Young
- St. Kilda by Marcus Brent-Smith
- Unexplored Wilderness – BERA by Gaurav Periwal
- Strange Marine by Alexandra Kent & Chip Roy
- A Quiet Corner by Cain Scrimgeour
- Bioluminescence by César Luiz Leite
Strange Marine by Alexandra Kent & Chip Roy
Film: Captivating visual subject with some good macro photography and behavior. ‘Weird creatures’ is a compelling hook and engages viewers immediately. I would like to have seen some development of this ‘weird’ story line in the writing, even if it was as simple as ‘let’s meet some of the weirdest characters around’. The film could have had greater impact with a careful use of music.
Proposal: ‘Strange’, ‘Weird’ or ‘Extreme’ are words that grab the attention. The proposal is well written and clear and could certainly strike enough interest to form the basis of a discussion with a broadcaster. But to develop this into a series would need some genuine story development. It is the sort of subject that might benefit from a presenter.
Film: An excellent short – superb images and an engaging script. The narration was delivered in a rather unusual way and needs to flow more. Pay attention not to add too much detail when writing for young audiences. But overall the most watchable and enjoyable three minute short.
Proposal: The proposal was good but needed more detail/examples of how this series would be different from the many others there have been about marine life.
Day of a Norfolk Bait Digger by Philip R K Jones
Film: An engaging short film with a beginning, a middle and an end but which doesn’t quite show its true potential. This idea stands or falls on the strength of the main character - the bait digger. We have to want to spend time with him. At the moment we don’t get enough idea of his character to get us really engaged. We need to hear him speak on location, not just in commentary. We need to know something about him and his life - that might give us the reason to want to follow him. Does he have some special knowledge to impart, is he a wry philosopher, does he have some unique insight into the landscape and the animals?
Proposal: Clear in what it’s outlining as an idea. Good too in suggesting a particular place in the TV world where such a film might fit. But to develop this into a full length film the proposal needs to focus much more on the attributes of the bait digger-to sell the strengths of the character much more. It is his unique world we are offering to take viewers into and it is through his eyes and understanding that we need to see the wildlife. So let’s hear about that in the proposal.
Film: Good photography and sound and a clear concept. Easy to visualise this as a 50 minute show. More of a story for the digger needs to be developed and the species seen need to be named with more info along the way. The narrator’s voice was poor so either a new voice needs to be found (an actor to give the voice of the digger) or a narrator to voice most of the script with occasional snippets from the digger himself. Excellent start.
Proposal: The proposal was one of the best in the contest with good detail.
A Quiet Corner by Cain Scrimgeour
Film: Well shot with some good long lens work. Makes good use of natural sound. Very much an ‘impressionistic’ montage. Gentle and intimate, the film gives no real sense of the nature of the location or the proximity to urban area. Both need developing to give substance to the idea of ‘my patch’ as a television series, as outlined in the proposal.
Proposal: The idea is clear but as stated, it could only work as a series of shorts. The proposal doesn’t have enough content to sustain a series at 30 or 60mins. To get to this level it would need human characters to take you on some sort of journey into ‘their patch’ to reveal a hidden world.
Film: Some excellent images (some of the best in the contest) but seemingly a random collection of wildlife. With no narration it was hard to get a feel for the style of the series and how stories would develop. Some good natural sound too.
Proposal: The proposal was rather vague – needs more examples of storylines and more technical info required – formats, length, audiences etc.
Vyv Simson wanted a special mention for The Adventurer with Alex Jones commending the films high production values.
Congratulations to all three entrants. A discounted place on the popular Wildeye ‘Introduction to Wildlife Film-making’ course, a selection of titles from Wildeye Publishing and a year’s membership of Wildlife-Film.com have been won! Thanks again to everyone who entered, we really appreciate all of your great efforts. Keep your eye on Frontier Official Facebook for more competitions in the near future.