BBC Studios Natural History Unit has announced a new talent initiative that will see it invest £1m over three years to develop and support aspiring natural history filmmakers in the UK and around the world.

The initiative, part of BBC Studios’ ongoing commitment to nurture, diversify and attract new production talent, will advance the NHU’s drive towards a more sustainable and inclusive global wildlife filmmaking industry.

In places where the NHU is filming, the initiative will fund opportunities for locally based production talent to access in-country training, offer field experience working with NHU teams on location, and invest in local talent to attend UK-based training courses.

Building further on in-country collaborations, there will also be an allocation of funds to ensure local language versions of NHU productions are made available for local viewings in communities who would otherwise have no means of accessing this content.

The £1m investment will build on BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s long-standing commitment to provide production and craft training, including over 50-years of camera bursaries that have launched the careers of some of the industry’s leading wildlife camera talent – and the unit’s 12-year collaboration with the University of West England to deliver the BBC-accredited MA in Wildlife Filmmaking, featuring mentoring and masterclasses provided by NHU staff.

The new scheme’s in-country training and field initiatives are already in progress with locally based emerging talent working on Kingdom, a major new NHU landmark series for BBC One and BBC America, set in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Recruitment for multiple placements on other NHU series is currently underway.

Jonny Keeling, Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, said: “At the NHU, we’re passionate about telling original and compelling stories from nature to inspire audiences across the planet. To uncover those brilliant new stories and make emotionally engaging films, we’re always looking to encourage and grow new talent with different perspectives. This new investment will reinforce our commitment to attracting and growing those exciting new wildlife filmmakers.”

Image: Seven Worlds, One Planet, Ep 7 Africa, cheetah in Kenya. Photography credit: Kiri Cashell Copyright BBC NHU

Jon Creamer

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