Monday, December 23, 2013

Biggest & Baddest, second season in full swing.

The second rabies' shot is done, one more to go, visa is in the mail and in less than three weeks I'll be joining the brilliant "Biggest & Baddest" film crew in Uganda on yet another incredible adventure.

Biggest and Baddest is the brainchild of Peter Von Puttkammer. It's a great television series which airs on Animal Planet and Discovery. Now in its second season, it's an adventure, conservation, travel and wildlife show (not necessarily in that order). It tracks some of the biggest and most ferocious animals of the world, and while providing all the drama and information you'd expect from a great host driven wildlife show, it also discusses conservation issues and the problems that arise when the habitat of these creatures is reduced and they start to come into conflict with local communities. 

Peter is a brilliant director/producer (and cameraman) whom I've had the honour of knowing and working with since 2010 when we first worked together in the Amazon on his PBS Secrets of the Dead documentary about Col. Percy Fawcett (Lost in the Amazon). The host of the programme, Niall McCann, is a biologist, explorer and quite frankly one of the sharpest lads I've even met, he's also incredibly good in front of the camera and picked up "TV" faster than any other journalist or host I've worked with over my 30 years in this industry. 

The entire team is just a joy to work with, from the Venezuela Amazon (Anacondas), the outback of Australia (Crocodiles), the grasslands of Nepal (Tigers) and the Bayou of the USA (wild hogs), there's no other group I'd rather be with in tough, often dangerous situations producing stellar and important TV. Here's some behind the scenes pics over the last couple of years. 

Photos courtesy the Amazing Andy Dittrich; Niall McCann and Jon Ritchie. Scroll down to the bottom for the show's trailer.

Todd on Elephant back -
the only way you can track tigers safely.
(photo: Andy Dittrich 2011)

Todd Southgate with Peter Von Andy Dittrich 2012
Biggest and Baddest gang in Australia's Northern Territory.
hoto: Andy Dittrich 2012

Photo: Andy Dittrich 2012
Niall Catches another Python in the Venezuelan AmazonPhoto: Andy Dittrich 2011
Photo: Andy Dittrich 2011

Photo: Jon Ritchie 2011 (Nepal)

Photo: Niall Mccann (Venezuela)

Photo: Jon Ritchie 2011

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Damocracy doco wins award and goes on tour

The Damocracy film will be screened in January at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, in Nevada City, California - the largest film festival of it's kind (by and for environmental and justice activists) in the US. The film will also be included in the film festival's tour of the US, and will have in screen in 100 cities. Damocracy also recently won the "Environmental Anthropology" Award at the CINECO international film festival in Portugal.

Monday, December 02, 2013

30 Years supporting indigenous peoples in Brazil.

I sadly missed the event because of obligations which took me to Canada, but even from over 5000 miles away that didn't make the honour of being part of something uniquely special and important any less awesome.
This year the Norwegian Embassy's Programme for supporting indigenous peoples celebrates 30 years of work in Brazil. The milestone was marked on November 19th by a historical photo exhibit, live performances (including performances from Norway’s' own indigenous peoples, the Sami) and the presence of indigenous dignitaries like Raoni Metuktire and Davi Kopenawa Yanomami at Brazil’s National Museum in Brasilia. Many incredible NGOs, which receive financial support from Norway to help fight for the rights of indigenous peoples, were also present and their work celebrated on this night.
One other element to this evening’s programme was a short 30 minute documentary I had filmed, written and edited highlighting the Embassy’s work and the work of their partners over 30 years. Yes, call this shameless self-promotion, but it’s one of those extraordinary assignments where you’d be an absolute lummox not to flag-wave your own involvement. Not just because I feel the final product turned out well, but on a purely selfish personal level, I was given the opportunity to spend time with, and learn from, so many inspirational people doing stellar social and environmental work. The Embassy’s exhibit is traveling to various cities in Brazil, and I assume the video will follow. I hope to make it to one of the showings, although 2014 is building up to be one wild roller-coaster of a year. My sincere congratulations to Kristian Bengtson and PatrĂ­cia Benthien for the incredible work they do on behalf of the Norwegian Embassy; work which truly has, as I've personally seen, made a significant difference in the lives of indigenous peoples here in Brazil.