A Silent Spring, narrated by wildlife cameraman, John Aitchison is my final project for my Masters Degree in Wildlife Filmmaking at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
Each spring more than 30 species of bird travel 1000’s of miles on epic journeys from Africa to the UK. However, up to two thirds of the birds that visit Britain each summer are suffering dramatic declines. This programme uncovers the trials and tribulations of some of our favourite summer visitors (the cuckoo, swift and osprey) and whether the latest tracking technology can help solve the mysteries of their decline before it’s too late.
Conservation is at the heart of this short documentary about three well-loved species and the dedicated people that are working to save them, like Emma Rawling (Perthshire ranger for the Scottish Wildlife Trust) and ‘Lady’ the osprey, who has successfully bred in Scotland for the last 23 years.
Imagine a spring devoid of the iconic calls of our cuckoos and swifts... can we solve the mysteries of their dramatic decline before it’s too late?
Official trailer for The Small Heart of Things by Julian Hoffman, winner of the 2012 AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and published by the University of Georgia Press on October 15th, 2013. The Small Heart of Things intimately examines the myriad ways in which connections to the natural world can be deepened through an equality of perception, whether it's a caterpillar carrying its house of leaves, transhumant shepherds ranging high mountain pastures, a quail taking cover on an empty steppe, or a Turkmen family emigrating from Afghanistan to Istanbul. The narrative spans the common—and often contested—ground that supports human and natural communities alike, seeking the unsung stories that sustain us.
The Small Heart of Things is a book about looking and listening. It incorporates travel and natural history writing that interweaves human stories with those of wild creatures. Distinguished by a belief that through awareness, curiosity, and openness we have the potential to forge abiding relationships with a range of places, it illuminates how these many connections can teach us to be at home in the world. -- Publisher's description
"This writer is a seeker and seer among those who work the land within the cycles of time. He knows how to listen and not simply catalog nature, both human and wild, but create a tapestry of embodied stories born out of the intimate wisdom of sweat and hunger and an earthly intelligence. At a time when we wonder where hope resides, this is a book of faith in the natural histories of community, broken and sustained. Not only does the language honor the encountered beauties along the way, it explores a complexity of ideas that reminds us we are not strangers in the world if we remain open to awe and respectful of the tenacious spirit required to live in place. The Small Heart of Things is a book of patience."
~Terry Tempest Williams, author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World
"'To be at home in the world is to let ourselves be drawn into its embrace,' writes Julian Hoffman in this sparkling, humane collection of essays. Something similar can be said about reading his exquisite book—we're drawn into the warmth and intimacy of his meditations. Part travel writing, part environmental witness, part celebration of the human spirit in the more-than-human world, this book guides us to a distant landscape of borders visible and invisible and of enriching change. Throughout, Hoffman is a superb tour guide: observant, knowledgeable, and deftly surprising in the connections he makes among the myriad small things he enables us to see."
~Elizabeth Dodd, author of Horizon's Lens
"Julian Hoffman's vast knowledge of the natural world is surpassed only by his deep compassion for all beings -- human and otherwise -- who inhabit this planet we all share. The Small Heart of Things is a big-hearted book written in prose as clear and strong as the stunningly beautiful landscapes it describes."
~ BK Loren, author of Theft: a Novel
A collaborative piece between artist Bob Mitchell and film maker Jonny Maxfield. A project set in the stunning industrial landscape of north Wales. Huge photographic images up to 50 ft high displayed as installations in former industrial sites shown with time lapse photography. Once vast, the industry remains in just a few areas but the landscape created is testament to hundreds of years of slate mining.
This project was supported by:
Arts Council Wales, Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park, The National Slate Museum, Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Tudor Lodge – Porthmadog.
Thanks to Michael Bewick, Dafydd Roberts, Roland Evans, Carl & Anya, Alan & Ianto, Mark Waite, Rhys Roberts, Ioan Doyle, Sean Copsey, Mark Parham, Becky Mitchell, Alistair Nixon.
Original stills shot on 5x4 Horseman view camera, Fuji Velvia100.
Time lapse & video shot on Canon 60D and Canon 5D mkii
Canon & Tokina glass
Dynamic Perception Stage One
Mark Cocker is one of Britain’s foremost writers on nature and contributes regularly to The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, as well as BBC Radio. His is the author of several books including the universally acclaimed Birds Britannica (with Richard Mabey) and Crow Country nominated for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2008. He has travelled the world in search of wildlife and won a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to study the cultural importance of birds in West Africa. For the last ten years he has been researching a ground-breaking study in natural history and cultural anthropology which was published this summer called Birds and People. It surveys the significance of birds across the world and is illustrated with images from British wildlife photographer David Tipling.