INTO THE WILD
Film has been my passion since age 14 when a friend let me work as a cinematographer and model builder for his science fiction S8mm movie. Since early childhood animals and nature around my home in the south west of Germany fascinated me, so the plan soon was to become a biologist, which I did. But as my love for film and nature was deep and my dedication to measuring, counting and a scientific career was not, I started to work as a full time wildlife filmmaker in 2000.
Photo by Uri Golman
It is probably fair to say that wildlife filmmaking is one of the most demanding fields of film production. My niche is using both the knowledge of the biologist and the creativity of the cinematographer and filmmaker to tell authentic, emotional stories from the heart of nature.
My one man production company has a minimal overhead, so I think I manage to squeeze much more production value out of a budget than bigger production companies. Every film needs and gets full dedication. But many things are beyond my control, mainly animals and weather, so perfectionism can only bring you so far. Far enough in most cases. But a Zen attitude is probably necessary to stay healthy in the wild - both mentally and physically.
I have seen big or even small, but unexperienced film teams do a lot of damage to their locations. I work more environmentally friendly and sustainable, alone or in very small teams with the best local experts I can get, to capture unique and often never seen before moments on digital film - be it the bisons of the high Caucasus or a praying mantis in a meadow in my homeland. For a one hour programme I often need about 200 shooting days over a period of two years.
My favourite animal - my dog excluded - is the arctic fox.
Occasionally I get rather nasty mails from people who insist that I should have stopped animals from killing other animals or that I should have saved animals from starving by feeding them. And how could I dare to film the last breath of an arctic fox pup. Most of all this painfully shows me how estranged from nature and the circles and cycles of life most of us have become today. At the same time many wildlife films depict a strongly distorted image of nature because they are commercial products of the entertainment industry.
My biggest fascination has always been the extreme beauty that nature probably only reveals to one species - us. Because it is only in our eyes and minds.