Korup – An African Rainforest

Korup – An African Rainforest

Description:

In the 1970’s the world was slowly waking up to the devastating levels of tropical deforestation. At that time, international wildlife conservation was focussed almost entirely on the protection of single species. Little attention was being paid to the larger picture of the total ecosystem and the importance of these natural places to the people who depend on them.

In 1977, Phil Agland travelled to Cameroon with the intention of helping to create a programme of conservation that would try to address the central challenge of making rainforest conservation relevant to the lives of local people. An essential prerequisite was to be the making of a film that would focus international attention on the extraordinary biodiversity of tropical forests. Its purpose was to focus attention on one forest in particular – Korup. An ancient ‘refuge’ forest reserve on the border with Nigeria, known at that time to local people and a handful of research scientists, lead by Dr. J. Stephen Gartlan.

Working in Korup was to prove a challenge. Not only had Agland not shot a film before, but Korup proved to be one of the wettest forests in the world, with almost continuous rain for 8 months. Filming entirely alone, Agland combined Korup with a summer job painting houses to pay for the film stock. The next five years was to be a process of painstaking accumulation of behavioural and ecological sequences, often filmed high in the canopy, pioneering such novel techniques as Image Intensified filming at night. The work led ultimately to the finished film, Korup: An African Rainforest that was to become Channel 4’s first natural history film, broadcast in November 1982.


Positive results
:

The film was chosen to spearhead WWF’s 1982 Campaign to ‘Save the World’s Rainforests’ and the Earthlife Foundation’s Campaign to support the designation of Korup as a National Park, supported by a programme of sustainable development in the designated buffer zone adjacent to the Park.

An official showing of the film to the British Government in 1986, in the presence of Sir Crispin Tickell, head of the ODA, led directly to a grant of £440,000 to the Korup project – the first such Government grant to rainforest conservation.

This grant was followed by grants from the United States, the European Union, and the Dutch and German Governments and a multi-million dollar programme administered by WWF.

Korup was officially declared Cameroun’s first Rainforest National Park in November 1986.

As of 2012, Korup continues to receive significant international funding and remains the focus of a multi-national sustainable development programme.

Subsequent films:

Fragile Earth: A series of six programmes including the award winning Siarau and Selva Verde.

http://www.wildfilmhistory.org/film/131/131.html?filmid=131

http://www.wildfilmhistory.org/film/137/Selve+Verde+-+Central+American+Rainforest.html
Fragile Earth Retrospective
Baka: People of the Rainforest
Baka: Komba’s Forest
Baka: Growing Up
Follow-up film: Baka: A Cry from the Rainforest http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0192w60
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2012/07/Baka-PI.html
Beyond the Clouds
Spirits, Ghosts and Demons
Shanghai Vice
A French Affair
Love and Death in Shanghai

Contact/Links:

Director: Phil Agland
Producers: Phil Agland and Michael Rosenberg
Partridge Films Limited
http://www.wildfilmhistory.org/film/125/Korup+-+An+African+Rainforest.html
http://www.river-films.com/BAKA_People_of_the_Rainforest.html

By Jason Peters

Ancient Forests: Rage Over Trees

Ancient Forest: Rage Over Trees

Ancient Forest: Rage Over Trees

Description:

In 1989, Chris Palmer and Jim Lipscombe made Ancient Forests: Rage Over Trees for the National Audubon Society and Turner Broadcasting. It was hosted by actor Paul Newman and highlighted a protracted battle over logging on publicly owned forests in the United States. At issue were 3 million acres of ancient, or old-growth, forests in the Northwest that were being clear-cut at the rate of 60,000 acres a year-and the fate of the 30,000 workers who made their living by cutting them.

When advance word got out about the film’s content, it led to a logging-industry boycott of the corporate sponsors, all of whom pulled their support for the film in the face of big-industry intimidation. But Ted Turner broadcast the film anyway. To him, and to those like Palmer and Lipscombe who had created the film, conservation was more important than making money. Articles about the controversy appeared in major newspapers all across the country.

Positive results:

The film played a pivotal role in convincing the U.S. Forest Service not to log a beautiful Oregon watershed called Opal Creek, full of centuries-old fir, hemlock, and cedar. Audubon and Turner lost a lot of money, but saved a forest. Thanks to the film, Opal Creek was eventually designated as a wilderness area and thus firmly protected from logging.

Other Achievements:

In 1993, author David Seideman wrote a lengthy book of investigative journalism called Showdown at Opal Creek in which he spent several years interviewing all the key people involved in the controversy. Seideman’s book made the case convincingly that it was the documentary Ancient Forests: Rage Over Trees which was seminal in leading to the federal legislation protecting Opal Creek. It wouldn’t have happened without the film.

Contact/Links:

Host: Paul Newman
Producer: James Lipscomb
Producer: John Lipscomb
Executive Producer: Chris Palmer

Email: palmer@american.edu Web: http://www.american.edu/soc/cef/
National Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org/
Turner Broadcasting System: http://turner.com/
Ted Turner: http://www.tedturner.com/home.asp

Online references: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1815587/
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/audubon_video_ancient_forests_rage_over_trees/#want_to_see
http://tv.nytimes.com/show/40036/Ancient-Forests-Rage-Over-Trees/overview
http://tv.yahoo.com/ancient-forests-rage-over-trees/show/2403/castcrew
http://www.locatetv.com/tv/world-of-audubon/1201293
http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/video/for10.html

By Jason Peters

Borneo’s Pygmy Elephants

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXtVSSStymo

Description:

Borneo’s pygmy forest elephants were once believed to be a feral population derived from domesticated imported Asian elephants, but DNA testing has confirmed they are a unique subspecies, who’ve lived on Borneo for at least 300,000 years.

This film tells the story of forest guide, Bert Dausip, observing and befriending the
elephants. His daily deep-jungle expeditions reward him with some of the most intimate and close up encounters with forest elephants ever filmed. Bert discovers one year old Fig and his elephant family living in the forests alongside the Kinabatangan River, in northeastern Sabah.

In befriending these elephants Bert has discovered that Pygmy elephants are far gentler than anyone could have ever imagined. They aren’t the aggressive killers that people think they are. Even females with newborns accept his presence.

Bert is probably the only person in the world who can track down and observe forest elephants in their wild forest home on a daily basis. This in itself is a spectacular accomplishment, but little did Bert know that once he collected the DNA samples for science his familiarity with the pygmy elephants would become crucial to an action plan to save these remarkable animals and their habitat.

Positive results:

Borneo’s pygmy forest elephants were once believed to be a feral population derived from domesticated imported Asian elephants, but DNA testing has confirmed they are a unique subspecies, who’ve lived on Borneo for at least 300,000 years.

This film tells the story of forest guide, Bert Dausip, observing and befriending the
elephants. His daily deep-jungle expeditions reward him with some of the most intimate and close up encounters with forest elephants ever filmed. Bert discovers one year old Fig and his elephant family living in the forests alongside the Kinabatangan River, in northeastern Sabah.

In befriending these elephants Bert has discovered that Pygmy elephants are far gentler than anyone could have ever imagined. They aren’t the aggressive killers that people think they are. Even females with newborns accept his presence.

Bert is probably the only person in the world who can track down and observe forest elephants in their wild forest home on a daily basis. This in itself is a spectacular accomplishment, but little did Bert know that once he collected the DNA samples for science his familiarity with the pygmy elephants would become crucial to an action plan to save these remarkable animals and their habitat.

Contact/Links:

Director: Joe Kennedy
Producer: Michael Patrick Wong
Executive Producer: Ellen Windemuth
Production Company: Michael Patrick Wong & Off the Fence

Buy the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Borneos-Pygmy-Elephants-seen-Discover/dp/B0027VD3OU

By Jason Peters