The Natural World In Motion: Homegrown Wildlife Documentaries On Our Radar

The global climate has been in decline for decades. Natural disasters, increasing in number and frequency, are clear evidence of this. Countries around the world are facing the real threats of climate change. Take Pakistan for example; since June this year it has been drenched by rain and by August more than a third of the country was under water, according to the climate minister. The floods also followed an intense, record-breaking heatwave in March, much like India’s, showing how turbulent and unpredictable nature can become if left unattended. And climate change has been consistently ignored.

Humans aren’t the only ones facing the damage. Natural disasters permanently destroy the ecosystem and directly affect wildlife. Animals are losing their habitat and more and more species are being endangered every day, which is truly tragic, whether it’s the killing of tigers, leopards, elephants and black bears that have been killed in India, or the human-wildlife conflict that is increasing with increasing numbers Population increases leaving few resources for fauna

With the escalation of damage, social responsibility is also required.

Consequently, many filmmakers are taking the initiative to raise awareness of the urgent problem of wildlife decline.

Here is a list of 5 documentaries from India that are raising awareness of the wildlife crisis and exploring the impact of climate change on the different species in our landscapes:

I. At the edge.

This is a documentary series about the different species of animals across India that has never been seen on TV before. In Season 1 of the series, local conservationists, environmentalists, scientists, and biologists talk about the wildlife in their communities and the different methods they use to protect endangered species.

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In Season 2, explorer Malaika Vaz travels the subcontinent, immersing herself in the country’s remarkable landscapes and habitats. She meets some of the rarest animals living here and explores the stresses that climate change is putting on their lives.

The documentary series is directed by Akanksha Sood Singh who is a passionate wildlife filmmaker. She has won three National Film Awards presented by the Indian President, a Wildscreen (Green Oscar) nomination, a UN Film Award, a Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival nomination and recently the World’s Emerging Documentarian Award.

You can watch On the edge on Disney+Hotstar

II. The Secret Life of Frogs

Directed by brothers Ajay and Vijay Bedi, this is a documentary about the ecosystem and lifestyle of frogs. It discusses a variety of species found in the Western Ghats and the endangerment of certain species such as the purple frog.

The filmmakers have captured the fascinating story of these colorful amphibians deep in the rainforests of India over a 3 year period. They miraculously filmed behavioral facts previously unknown to science, documenting for the first time the entire life cycle of the critically endangered, rare purple frog, which emerges from the underground to breed just one day a year.

Ajay and Vijay Bedi are third generation filmmakers in the family. Not only have they contributed to the research community by writing a scientific paper that is still used to study amphibians, but they have also submitted a proposal to the state of Kerala to make the purple frog a state frog, leading to its conservation would contribute.

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The film was screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival and the Woodpecker International Film Festival. He received an Emmy nomination for Best Editing in a Documentary. It has also won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film and the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film: Cinematography.

You can watch The Secret Life of Frogs on Discovery+

III. The kingdom of the Jujurana

This documentary is a journey into the kingdom of Jujurana, one of the most endangered pheasants on our planet, living against the backdrop of extreme socio-political pressures being exerted on a beautiful temperate and subalpine forest landscape. The species’ red-faced, blue-wattled, horned male is a beautiful pheasant who mesmerizes females with his stunning courtship dance. The documentary about the filmmaker’s journey to the Jujurana kingdom shows what it takes to protect this species at a time when India is rapidly losing its biodiversity.

Filmmaker Munmun Dhalaria is an independent filmmaker and National Geographic storytelling explorer focused on wildlife conservation, gender and science communication.

The kingdom of the Jujurana was awarded Best Film: Mountain Wildlife at the 4th IMF Mountain Film Festival in 2020.

You can view this documentation on Youtube.

IV. Gaur in my garden

The documentary explores the interactions and conflicts between humans and animals that arise in Kotagiri, Nilgiris – a major biodiversity hotspot in India – through the experiences of Keystone Foundation campus residents with the gaur, or Indian bison, an endangered species and endangered species.

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Directed by Rita Banerji, a conservation filmmaker. Under her banner Dusty Foot Productions she has produced several award winning films including a Green Oscar winner at Wildscreen, UK. In 2015 she founded The Green Hub – a youth and community based grant in North East India for video documentary, environmental and indigenous knowledge related work.

This documentary has been screened at festivals in Kathmandu and Thiruvanathapuram

You can view it here.

V. Wild Karnataka

This is a 1×60 blue chip natural history film produced by Icon Films and Mudskipper for the Karnataka Forest Department and ITV Global Entertainment. It documents the natural and animal history of Karnataka, which is also the state with the highest number of tigers and elephants.

Directed by Amoghavarsha, an Indian filmmaker and wildlife photographer. He has worked with National Geographic and BBC in the past. His films have won awards such as the 67th National Film Award, the Impactdocs Award of Merit and the Australia India Youth Dialogue Alumni Fellowship for 2015.

It won the 2021 National Film Award for Best Exploration/Adventure and The National Film Award for Best Non-Fiction Narrative/Voice-Over.

You can view it here.

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