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Conservationist lands funding for conservation films

CONSERVATIONIST Kudzanai Dhliwayo is among 10 African filmmakers to receive support from in collaboration with African Wildlife Foundation to develop conservation films from an authentic African perspective.

These filmmakers will share their own experiences in order to change people’s view of the continent, while inspiring communities to protect nature, wildlife and cultural heritage.

Nature, Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers (NEWF) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) introduced this year’s African Conservation Voices Producers Lab (ACVPL) cohort of 10 storytellers at the NEWF 2024 congress.

These 10 storytellers have become NEWF fellows. ACVPL was made possible with support from Africa Refocused, NEWF’s collaboration with the National Geographic Society.

The 10 mid-career filmmakers will receive support throughout the nine-month fellowship in developing, shooting and distributing short conservation films told from an African perspective. They will also participate in workshops throughout the programme including one that was held in Nairobi, Kenya, recently.

Filmmakers were drawn from African countries including the  Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Mauritius and Kenya.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style Dhliwayo said ACVPL equipped and empowered Africans.

“The programme gives us access to the storytelling industry, networking opportunities, access to equipment, tap from a reservoir of knowledge from renowned storytellers just to mention a few,” she said.

Dhliwayo emphasised that there was a certain way of telling stories with an impact, adding that there had to be an end goal. She noted that there was a difference between a story and a mere narration.

“I intend to tell a Zimbabwean story which I hope will impact people towards nature, it is the only way that we can save biodiversity, only if people care. I hope the stories I will tell will be able to connect people with nature, hold people responsible for their impact on biodiversity and make a difference in the country.” Dhliwayo said.

Rachel Wambui, lead for NEWF story labs said: “With Fellows representing Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe and Mauritius, ACVPL demonstrates the true power of pan-African collaboration.”

Wambui also said NEWF had strengths as a storytelling organisation and the African Wildlife Foundation has vast experience as a conservation organisation, adding that they were leveraging on the reach and impact of both.

“And seeing the cross-pollination of our collective storytelling community that includes AWF’s African Conservation Voices, NEWF Fellows and African Geographic Explorers has been so exciting.” she added.

The Fellows’ films will explore themes surrounding human-wildlife coexistence, climate change, the role of indigenous and local communities in conservation, community resilience and species conservation.

In 2022 Dhliwayo carried out the EDGE of Existence project which was the first global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history.

Her project aimed to understand the status, causes of decline and improve conservation awareness on vultures among communities surrounding the Gonarezhou National Park.

Other filmmakers who are part of the programme are Adams Cassinga from DRC, Shuimo Trust Dohyee and Sama Mildred Ngenseh from Cameroon, Ghaamid Abdulbasat Hatibu and Aika Kirei from Tanzania, as well as Anthony Ochieng Onyango and Benjamin Owuor from Kenya.

Source | ZiMetro


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