WATCH: Sharing his passion for wildlife lands film-maker two awards at tourism film festival

A Cape African vulture at the Shamwari Private Game Reserve. Picture: Instagram

A Cape African vulture at the Shamwari Private Game Reserve. Picture: Instagram

Published Jun 20, 2024


AFTER winning two awards at the annual International Tourism Film Festival Africa (ITFFA), film-maker Andrew Barratt said that while he is grateful for the accolades and recognition of his work, awards are not why he makes wildlife films.

Hungry Bison Films and Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape won in two categories at ITFFA for a Shamwari promotional video and a documentary on the largest vulture relocation in Africa.

The films respectively took the top awards for Tourism Video and Documentary, TV & Web Programme – Wildlife Conservation and won gold.

ITFFA, founded in 2019, aims to recognise and promote works with exceptional and innovative content and contribute towards stimulating the development and growth of the national and African audio-visual industry.

It also honours all video content related to the tourism and travel industry.

According to Barratt, creating films was all about sharing his love for safari and wildlife.

“For me it’s more about sharing my passion for the bush and wildlife and hopefully in the process getting more people to realise how precious these are and why it’s essential we conserve our natural heritage.

“I’ve been very lucky to have been able to work with Shamwari, which shares this ethos,” said the film-maker.

Barratt is a long-time collaborator with Shamwari and was one of the producers of the 13-series Netflix hit, “Shamwari Untamed”. A second series is in the pipeline.

The series is told largely from the perspective of wildlife vet Johan Joubert and ecologist John O’Brien and touches on nearly every aspect of managing a 250km2 reserve.

During the Covid-19 lockdown Barratt teamed up with Shamwari head ranger, Andrew Kearney, to start Shamwari TV.

“At first the intention was to showcase the wildlife and keep Shamwari top of mind while guests couldn’t visit. It proved such a success that nearly 300 episodes have now been filmed and it has a following of almost 40 000 people around the world,” Barratt said.

His award-winning documentary on Africa’s largest vulture relocation tells the story of the first phase of a project to secure the future of wild vulture populations in southern Africa, with the establishment of VulPro@Shamwari.

It documents the largest relocation of vultures ever undertaken, with 160 Cape and African white-backed vultures transported 1 042km from Hartbeespoort to bespoke enclosures at Shamwari.