|Written by FFC|
|Sunday, 17 August 2008 06:15|
Chris Dickinson is a Singapore based Lighting Cameraman, with more than 15 years experience in the industry. He's worked in almost all genres, including ads/promos, features, light entertainment, daytime/consumer, sport, music/performance, animal welfare, environmental & human interest programmes.
Most recently he has been the driving force behind Wildlife Asia - a new initiative with the objective to run a number of national and international events to bring the conservation message to Asia, culminating in the Wildlife Asia Film Festival - Asia's premier international wildlife and conservation film festival.
Chris believes that history is made by individuals, ordinary people who are thrown into extraordinary circumstances. In other words - he says we ALL have the potential in us to make a difference. This is what drives him to do what he does. That, and a passion and awe for the natural world, and an undying belief in the underlying goodness of the human spirit.
Where are you based?
What is it that you do in the film industry? How would you describe your job/s?
First and foremost I'm a lighting cameraman, secondly comes editor... and with my other hat on I'm Executive Director of Wildlife Asia, the Wildlife and Environmental Film Festival for Asia that debuted in 2007.
Who or what inspired you to work in film and why cover nature and conservation issues?
My interest in the TV industry did not come initially from watching wildlife films, but from when I was a child, watching the Noel Edmunds Multi-coloured Swap Shop. This was the first time I saw presenters interacting with the film crew, and I thought ‘"that looks like fun!"
I think my particular passion for wildlife and conservation comes down to David Attenborough and the monumental BBC films of my childhood - Life on Earth etc. together with my parents' large stack of National Geographic magazines. The BBC and Nat Geo allowed me to experience new worlds and I became truly in awe of the natural world, as well as the amazing cultural diversity of our species! Nat Geo also caused me to have an equal passion for photography.
What is your favourite place in nature?
Agh! Well, I guess I'd have to say China, as I have travelled there most extensively. Having been on several trips and two expeditions, mostly to Western China/Tibet, each time I go I am taken-aback by the beauty of China's natural world. There is so much more to explore - I always look forward to going back. (BUT having just returned from Myanmar, I have to say that country is pretty special too - though I hope it will be able to keep hold of its natural heritage!) And I will always have a soft spot for the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
You've been given $10m for a conservation project of your choice. What would you use it for?
I take it that this term ‘project' is open to interpretation? Well, I'd class Wildlife Asia as a conservation project. Although Wildlife Asia does not directly conserve anything, I believe that the company's initiatives, such as the Wildlife Asia Film Festival, are essential to conservation efforts in Asia - by nurturing wildlife filmmaking in the region, inspiring new filmmakers, and providing a catalyst to greater conservation and environmental awareness in the region. In this way Wildlife Asia will greatly benefit conservation throughout Asia, and such a sum of money would ensure that the company's financial well-being indefinitely.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our planet. What singular thing would you like to see done to try to solve this?
I am no expert so find this hard to answer... I guess what I would like to see is all the leaders of the world work together and agree on one unified plan to help solve this problem... and do so in a timely manner! We have reached a tipping point and all that they can seem to do is agree that something needs to be done, and after that do all they can do to avoid actually doing anything about it. It's time that our ‘Leaders' showed some leadership!
What has been your most memorable field experience whilst shooting films?
Hmm... flying with four black rhino from South Africa to Tanzania in an old 4-prop Antinov was pretty memorable. I never thought I'd think of Rhinos as ‘cute' but once you get up close and hear the little squeaky noises they make, and then scratch them behind the ears and witness their pleasure at the sensation, you cannot help but fall in love with the big beasts! This was also my first venture into the wild - so very treasured for this reason too.
Where do you see the planet in the next 20, 30 and 50 years?
I fear things are going to continue to get worse before getting better - due to the lack of firm action from our leaders when it comes to climate change and the destruction of our natural resources. I imagine that we are going to see a number of key species go extinct in the wild - on top of the list I guess is the tiger. There is going to be increased demand on water resources, which as many admit, will be the cause for conflict in many parts of the world. But in the long run I believe that things will improve, though the sacrifices we will have made along the way will be hard for some to deal with.
Man is again reaching for the stars and plunging to the depths of the oceans. What area would you like to investigate?
Before anything else I wanted to be an astronaut - so I would love to go to the stars and explore one of those earth-like worlds that have been discovered... but someone needs to invent faster-than-late travel beforehand!
If you could show one film to the G8 world leaders, what would it be and why?
Hmm... I guess "Planet Earth - The Future"...
What's the best advice you could give to a young filmmaker starting out in wildlife and conservation filmmaking?
Make sure you have the passion to endure great hardship; have a good grounding professionally so that you can support yourself by doing non-wildlife work when times are hard; be creative - look for stories that have not been covered before; be a good filmmaker - know your subject, research thoroughly, present the facts in a balanced way, and tell a good story. Go for it - there has not been a better time for new filmmakers to make an impact!
What would you like to remembered for?
For being a nice guy that made a difference