Meet the Wildlife Films Team.
It is not by design but for some reason we attract powerful but mindful women to “The Tree House” our offices and studio. They walk in and then stay! People make a company so it’s time you met the very core of Wildlife Films. When we are in the studio we try to gather at lunch at least, as a family, in true Italian tradition (even though, none of us have any Italian DNA. Some things are worth plagiarizing.)
It’s a time to share stories but also to challenge the conversation on how we can help change the planet…these are the collaborators and co-conspirators that Beverly and I share our days with.
Candice Odgers - Senior Editor, Sound Editor and Colorist
Candice joined us almost 10 years ago for one project, and has worked her way up to Senior editor at Wildlife Films during which she added credits in Editing, Sound Editing and Coloring to her impressive list of over 18 films. I think she’s done more films than we have! Her keen grasp of the whole technical post production workflow as well as the creative process saves our butts daily. Candice loves dark places with no air, so editing is perfect for her and she spends hour upon hour sifting through thousands of hours of beautiful footage (well, not always beautiful!) and sound to piece together these dazzling puzzles that become award winning films. Wildlife editing was an undeniable calling for Candice. After graduating from AFDA (South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Motion Picture Medium (Film) Majoring in Editing and Sub Majoring in Sound Design and Production Design, Candice went straight into documentary editing and has never looked back.
Candice has a deep passion for the conservation of wildlife and the preservation Africa’s great wilderness and as such has become a trusted extension of our ethos and mission at Wildlife Films, working on our conservation films and contributing to the editing of our numerous exhibition projects and talks we to around the world (Ellen, TED, Beijing Conference, New York Ivory Crush, to name a few). Having an incontrovertible love of wildlife and a call of the wild, makes her somewhat of a contradiction (for someone as comfortable working in an edit room daily) but it is where Candice has found her home and niche.
Candice is a SAGE (South African Guild of editors) accredited editor. The SAGE acronym indicates peer recognition of excellence in the field of Editing.
Candice was part of the Editing team that won the prestigious Best Editing Award at the Jackson Hole wildlife film festival as well as the Best Editing SAFTA award for Best Editing for the film ‘The Last Lions’.
Over the past 13 years Candice has not just worked on those18 films but delivered them to some of the finest broadcasters in the world, namely National Geographic, PBS Nature, Animal Planet, Terra Mater, Discovery, Channel Five, ZDF and Canal Plus. Editing, Sound and Conservation are not just what Candice does as a career but rather they are a perfect amalgamation of a calling. She also embodies our Hotel California principle: you can check in but you can never check out. If you are as good as Candice is.
Jolene van Antwerp – Editor
When we hire at Wildlife Films ‘passion’ plays a major role in our decision. They say love hits you (hard) when you least expect it. For Jolene, documentary editing wasn’t something she envisioned for her career. With her head in the clouds, (her words not mine) obsessing over her plan of action to get to Hollywood, she was struck by an unexpected love. Wildlife editing. She is right when she says: ”There is something hypnotizing about nature – some magic that lured me to this genre, a genre where the characters are not directed by humans, but rather where the humans directed by the characters, and yet their personalities are obvious once you roll the images back and forth a hundred time during the editing process. It’s like this hidden world”. Jolene always felt there was a raw beauty in seeing an animal in its natural habitat, its unique behaviour and interactions with other species serve as a vibrant pallet for her to work with. We do see ourselves as artists more than technicians and each frame in sculptured carefully. “Painting these stories are rewarding not only because of the creative process, but also for the awareness it raises for the plight of endangered wildlife.” In that, is our most urgent mission at Wildlife Films, to make films that can change the world’s view on animals. Jolene jumps between long form, television and even some of the new very short form projects we are doing, each as important as the others to get this message out.
Jolene Graduated with a Bachelors degree in Film and Television Production at Tshwane University of Technology in 2011 and in 2013 she had the opportunity to work with Dereck and Beverly Joubert at Wildlife Films. She assisted on her first wildlife documentary “Soul of the Elephant” which won the award for best Wildlife Film at the New York Wild Film Festival, it also featured as a talking point on the Ellen Show. She is currently editing happily ever after.
Leah Buckwalter - Head of Production
Leah keeps us all honest, or at least aimed in the right direction. When I see a scheduling meeting on ‘the schedule’ I try to find something much more urgent to rush out to, but Leah’s job is to grab me by the collar as I leave. She is imminently qualified to do that having run production offices before and having done her Bachelor of Social Science Degree from the University of Cape Town in 2002 – graduating with a double major in Social Anthropology and Environmental and Geographical Science. None of that actually prepared her for wrangling Beverly and my lives but it looks good here.
For the 10 years before Leah wandered in here she worked as a freelance Producer / Production Manager in Advertising, Corporate marketing, Film and Television. Working in such diverse areas of the media space taught her how to manage both massive workflow processes as well as smaller but more immediate deadlines, so you can see why we locked the gate once she was inside. Leah runs our productions and everything associated from the basic camera and production side to all the things that go on around our lives that relate to our unique mission to combine three pillars of our operations: to do hard core conservation, to spread the information and message about how we need to change the way we all interact with the planet and to expose as many people as we can to that influence. At times it’s a three ringed circus for Leah but she is the ringmaster.
Bridget Zietsman – Photographic Editor
Bridget has loved wildlife since she was a child, from the very first day her family drove her into a nature reserve. Bridget's love for photography came about as soon as she could hold a camera and her passion has only developed since then. She believes there is something magical about this combination of wildlife and the ability to use photography to tell those stories in an instant. The never ending challenge of capturing a piece of nature's infinite beauty and her stories is what keeps Bridget coming back for more, going out into the field and excited about working on images that can change the world in a single moment can do that to a person. As a student of the arts and photography she appreciates the marriage between the field work and the digital editing that has now consumed this industry, and of course she is great at it.
This passion led Bridget to obtain a Higher certificate in Photography followed by an Advanced certificate in Professional Photography at the Vega School of Brand Leadership which, like Jolene and Candice before her, armed her to walk into our studio to work with us for a few months, that turned into a year and more, and more… Bridget and Beverly work closely and she manages our stills library amongst other duties, but around the table as we create and share ideas she is a smart collaborator with her hands firmly on the deck of this mighty vessel, one that is determined to capture peoples hearts, minds and souls and take them to that special place.
Frank manages our operation and occasionally accepts awards on our behalf. He is the rock behind the scenes that, while is not a woman, is tolerated at least by the Amazons upstairs in the Tree House and has somehow earned special status with them. Arrive at the studio unannounced and you are best advised to have your story straight because Frank Ndlovu will be there to test you, and in Zulu, ‘Ndlovu’ means ‘Elephant’ and anyone who has faced down a charging elephant bull knows…
While these descriptions may be confused for ‘real job descriptions’ there are quite fluid at times, as I recall from seeing Jolene and Bridget with their heads inside the back up generator recently, armed with appropriate handyman belts and tools giving and assessment on if the flywheel needed to be replaced or just turned a degree or two, or to spring for a new starter motor. Such is the overlap in an ideal work environment where friends work together and recruit for us, and we share a common mission.