‘Blue Planet II’ Producer BBC Studios Natural History Unit Reveals $1 Million Talent Initiative

BBC Studios Natural History Unit (NHU) will invest £1 million ($1.08 million) over three years to develop and support aspiring natural history filmmakers in the U.K. and globally.

The NHU produces popular natural history programs including “Blue Planet II,” “Planet Earth II,” “Seven Worlds,” “One Planet,” presented by David Attenborough, “Dynasties,” “Blue Planet Live” and “Springwatch”

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 U.K.-based training courses. 

Funds will also be allocated 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.

Some of the initiatives are already in progress, with locally based emerging talent working on “Kingdom,” an NHU 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.

NHU head, Jonny Keeling, 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.”

The NHU has been providing camera bursaries for some 50 years. These have launched the careers of some of the industry’s leading wildlife camera talent. The unit also has a 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.

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