The 2007 Wildlife Asia Film Festival - A Catalyst for Change

Message from Chris Dickinson,
Wildlife Asia's Executive Director:

The inaugural Wildlife Asia Film Festival is at an end, but the adrenalin is still buzzing through our veins! This four-day festival was the culmination of over two years of planning, & a lifetime’s worth of blood, sweat & tears! And it was well worth it!

We were humbled by the enthusiastic responses we received from delegates. This truly was a special event for all, & the overwhelming reaction from participants makes a strong argument for staging the festival again next year, contrary to our initial intention of Wildlife Asia being a biennial event. So, we will be working towards this objective, but have a significant mountain to climb if we are to raise the necessary funds in time.

Our deepest thanks to our sponsors, supporters, trainers & participants for making Wildlife Asia a success! And thanks also to our event organisers Pacific World, our fantastic volunteers & venues Suntec Singapore, Singapore Zoological Gardens & The Arts House for making things go so smoothly!

We are truly honoured to announce that two of our special guests - Wong How Man & Valmik Thapar have agreed to be Patrons of Wildlife Asia! Our deepest thanks to both - this is a fantastic endorsement of the significance of Wildlife Asia!

We will announce further news regarding the next fest shortly. In the meantime we’d like to share with you the highlights of Wildlife Asia 2007.

Chris Dickinson
Wildlife Asia Executive Director

View the new promo HERE
Featuring footage from the festival.

CLICK HERE to download our PDF newsletter
Featuring the same content as this page.
Wildlife Asia would not have been possible without the generous support of our Sponsors:

Opening Seminar -
East Side Story

Special Guest Mr Ng Lang,
CEO - National Parks Board

NHK's Shinichi Murata with NPark's Prof Leo Tan

Vikram Channa
Discovery Networks Asia

Opening Ceremony
with Guest of Honour Prof. Leo Tan, & Keynote Address by Wong How Man

VIP Guest:
Professor Leo Tan

Wong How Man delivering keynote address

It couldn’t have been a better start to the festival! We were honoured to have Professor Leo Tan, Chairman of Singapore’s National Parks Board, to open the festival with an emotional and motivating speech that struck at the hearts of all & really helped to set the tone for the rest of the week! During the session Professor Tan presented a token of thanks to each of our Sponsor Partners.

Professor Tan was followed by Mr Wong How Man, President of the China Exploration and Research Society, whose Keynote Address dealt a second knock-out blow to Prof. Tan’s. Delegates & guests were treated to an all-to-brief visual journey through the many years of How Man’s explorations in China.

Our deepest thanks to Prof. Tan & Wong How Man for making the opening ceremony such a memorable experience for all!
The following four days consisted of a busy mix of seminars, workshops, training sessions, all-important social events, public screenings and the Lion Awards. The highlights are as follows...
We got the ball rolling with our first seminar East Side Story - Industry leaders including Discovery Networks Asia VP Production Vikram Channa, NHK Executive Producer Shinichi Murata & National Geographic Channels Int’l (Singapore) EVP Production Bryan Smith took a look at the state of wildlife filmmaking in Asia.

Bryan Smith
National Geographic

Indie-Scene Seminar

The seminar Indie Scene was moderated by Tony Chow from AIPRO (Singapore) & looked at the growing number of indies making moves into wildlife & environmental filmmaking in Asia - panelists from Caldecott Prdn’s Int’l, InFocus, Novista, Scubazoo & TVE Asia Pacific.
Focus On Climate Change saw Tanya Petersen, Head of TV for WWF International joined by Shuji Yamamoto from NHK, Melissa Alipalo from the ADB and Dr Jean Yong from NIE to discuss whether the media is failing to effectively communicate this issue to the public.

"I had a wildlife idea, and at the festival I met potential researchers for the doco, a production team with underwater capabilities AND a network that were interested. Amazing! Thanks, I had 4 fantastic days"
Chandi Jayawickrama
Media Collective

"I enjoyed it very much and found it very helpful learning first-hand what kind of production is going on in Asia... and Asia’s growing importance in the media world."
Steve Fairchild

"At other larger events it's always a struggle to meet everyone, but I have made more new contacts this week than at any other festival I've been to. In particular, the number of Asian film-makers that I met was quite astounding and fills me with hope for the future of natural-history film-making in the region."
Mark Roberts
TV and Film Sound

"The festival had a great vibe to it. There was a fantastic mix of talents and entities as well, from conservationists to producers, to cameramen, presenters, conservationists, NGO leaders etc...
It proved to be not only a fun and exciting festival to attend but also very successful on a business level inc. developing new contacts.
Kate Fitzgerald Absolutely Wild Visuals

"I thoroughly enjoyed the seminars and workshops, a wide variety of choice and creative topics. I thought the choice of panelists was very good; they all had interesting things to say."
Scott O'Connell
Wild Asia

"...It’s a door to new Markets. Great people, very good event, super hotel, beautiful food. Do it again and again!!"
Klaus Scheurich
Marco Polo Film AG

"A great start and well done! ...It’s a very key networking event, and one which is absolutely fundamental to the growth of wildlife programming in SE Asia."
Simon Christopher

Ullas Karanth

Duncan Pollard

Mike Birkhead, John Stainton,
Steve Fairchild

Focus on the Tiger Crisis - Our panel included Ullas Karanth from WCS, Chris Shepherd from TRAFFIC & filmmaker Mike Birkhead who give us a greater understanding of the tiger crisis & debated how the media can help bring the tigers from the brink of extinction.
Green is the Colour of Money - This thought-provoking discussion debated the economic impact of our use & abuse of the environment. Moderated by journalist Nirmal Gosh with contributions from James Compton from TRAFFIC, Duncan Pollard from WWF International, Thomas Thomas from Singapore Compact & Euston Quah from Singapore’s NTU.
Films that Make a Difference - the final session of the festival in which we identified the kinds of films that ARE making an impact on conservation, before asking whether more can still be done! A fiery topic that provoked a heated debate that will continue beyond the festival. Contributors included John Stainton, Steve Fairchild from WCS, Bryan Smith from National Geographic & Joe Yaggi from Jungle Run.

Cheryl Low
Wildlife Asia Director

Youth filmmaking workshop at Jurong Bird Park

Opening night reception at the Arts House

Valmik Thapar speaks to Lady McNeice at Botanic Gardens

Workshops & Pitching
Delegates had a great opportunity to develop their skills in a number of areas - scriptwriting, pitching, location sound recording, non-linear editing/mobile filmmaking & HD camerawork.
Our trainers included Frances Berrigan of Cicada Films, Brian Leith from the BBC, Ronald Tobias from Montana State University, David Curl from the Australasian Natural History Unit, Hiroyuki Kozako from NHK, Mark Roberts from TV & Film Sound, & Brad Dillon from Most Wanted Pictures, as well as the great people from AV8 & Apple! All did a remarkable job & the sessions were very well received by participants.

Intro to Video Cameras workshop

Proposal Pitching workshop

Speed Pitching
These sessions provided delegates with valuable one-on-one meetings with broadcasters and potential co-production partners such as National Geographic, Animal Planet, PTS, Cicada Films, Marco Polo Films & Caldecott Productions Int’l. Speed Pitching will definitely become a regular event at Wildlife Asia.
Dr Brady Barr
National Geographic
Sound Recording ins the Field workshop Some of our youth participants Delegates & guests at Wild Night at the Zoo
A Wild Night at the Zoo

Hayden Turner opening the show

Hayden with guests Valmik Thapar, Dr Brady Barr, and Wong How Man

Valmik Thapar speaks passionately about the tiger crisis!

With special guests:
Wong How Man - China’s celebrated explorer
Dr Brady Barr - Record-holding herpetologist & TV presenter
Valmik Thapar - Tiger expert & conservationist
A truly enjoyable evening for all!

Hayden Turner did a fantastic job as our very own Jay Leno, fielding great questions to our guests who returned with wonderful, inspiring & moving replies.
Nights like this make one realise that you simply cannot ask to be in the company of better people!
During this event we also focused on the tiger crisis - we hope Wildlife Asia will become an important platform to raise awareness of such issues in Asia.
After 90 minutes of engaging dialogue our delegates were treated to an awesome spread of food as well as a tour of the Night Safari!

The location could not have been better - our thanks go to the Singapore Zoo for helping to make this such a memorable night. We’ll definitely make Wild Night a regular feature of Wildlife Asia.

Host: Hayden Turner
TV Presenter & Conservationist

High Definition Cinematography workshop Valmik Thapar being interviewed by local television Delegates at our trade show Wang Jingming from CCTV
Outreach - Youth & Public Screenings
Youth Events
Me & the Environment - on our relationship with the natural world & the effects our actions have on the environment. With speakers Louis Ng from ACRES, Dr Geh Min from the Nature Society (Singapore) & Siva from Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.
Filming in the Field - a workshop run by Allan Michaud & Sandesh Kadur at Jurong Bird Park, giving participants an insight into how to become a wildlife cameraman.
Talent of Tomorrow gave us the opportunity to learn of the outstanding achievements of budding young filmmakers - including the Wham brothers from the US.
Youths Speak Out provided youths with a platform to air their concerns about the environment & express what they think we can do to make their future bright and green. An inspiring event for all - it’s great to see that Singaporean youths have such a passion for the natural world - something that we must nurture in years to come.

Dr Brady Barr with youth participants

Youth workshop with Siva from RMBR

Michael Wong at the Botanic Gardens

Public Events
Outside of the main festival venue, we screened films throughout the week at Singapore’s Arts House. The National Parks Board also generously played host to Valmik Thapar, Mike Birkhead & Lion Awards Winner Michael Wong for two special screenings at the Botanic Gardens great new facility the Botany Centre.

We thank NParks for their generosity & warm reception of our guests, and look forward to working closely with them on future festivals.
Lion Dancers opened the Lion Awards Our hosts Emilie-Ann Oehlers & Hayden Turner Chandi Jayawickrama
Orchid Award Winner
Michael Wong
Cormorant Award Winner
The Lion Awards

Vijay Bedi receiving Loris Award

Moon Bear Winner Xi Zhinong

James Gibbons, Miles Kupa & John Stainton, during Steve Irwin Tribute

Brian Leith receiving the Lion Award on behalf of the BBC

The Lion Awards are named after Singapore - ‘The Lion City’, & the individual awards are named after different endangered flora & fauna found in Asia, apart from The Elements Craft Awards which are named after the Chinese elements.
The Judges for this years awards were:

Tadashi Ansai - Senior Producer, Nature & Science Programs, NHK Enterprises
Tony Chow - President, Association of the Independent Television Production Companies (Singapore)
Mok Choy Lin - Supervising Producer, National Geographic Channel Asia
Ronald Tobias - Discovery Professor of Science & Natural History Filmmaking, Director, Graduate Program in Science & Natural History Filmmaking, Montana State University
Vikram Channa - Vice President Production, Discovery Networks Asia
We are extremely grateful to the Judges for giving up so much of their time!
The awards ceremony was aptly started by a lion dance, after which our hosts Emilie-Ann Oehlers & Hayden Turner took command of the show. Twenty awards were presented including one that the Judges were compelled to create during their session the day before the festival - the award for best Asian film, which we decided to call the Loris.The judges were impressed by the quality and diversity of films submitted - over 140 in total.

The actual award itself is in the form of a special print designed for Wildlife Asia by Singapore’s celebrated Artist Mr Tan Khim Ser. We are indebted to Mr Tan for generously designing and painting this work of art.

The characters “shi zi” is the Chinese word for Lion; the bamboo in the background denotes peace and longevity; and finally, bamboo in Chinese is “zhu”, which also closely sounds like the Chinese word for pig – and according to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the Golden Pig. It all comes together!


View the new promo HERE
Featuring footage from the festival.

Steve Irwin Tribute
Half-way through the Lion Awards we took time to pay tribute to Steve Irwin. Steve’s producer & long-time friend John Stainton joined Discovery Networks Asia SVP Programming & Creative Services James Gibbons & Australia’s High Commissioner Miles Kupa to share memories & pay respect to a man who made a highly significant impact on wildlife filmmaking & conservation & who will be dearly missed by millions. Our deepest thanks to Discovery Networks for making this very special tribute possible, and thanks also to John Stainton for finding time to come over - though he was not able to stay long, he made a great impact on our delegates.

Steve Irwin during a visit to Singapore Zoo

John Stainton

Our congratulations to all winners - for the full list CLICK HERE. We’d like to make a special mention of Michael Wong who wins the award for the best acceptance speech!

Wildlife Asia is extremely grateful for ALL who submitted films to the Lion Awards, and we sincerely hope we'll see more great entries next year - and from MORE Asian filmmakers.

The Awards were a great climax to a great four days!

After the formalities of the Awards we let our hair down at club DXO for our Awards Party.
Our post-Awards party at DXO... ...with the Singapore skyline as a backdrop! Party people with WA Director Cheryl Low The wonderful Pacific World girls!