Review: Nature: Through Her Eyes Festival

Written on January 15, 2020, posted in News, Review

Eden Robinson and Bénédicte Meillon laugh during the panel discussion "Writing Nature: From a Female POV—How it could save the world" on Sunday October 20, 2019 at the Nature: Through Her Eyes festival. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti

October 18-21, 2019
Perpignan, France
www.naturethroughhereyes.com

The Nature: Through Her Eyes fes­ti­val was held in October 2019 in Perpignan, France to cel­e­brate and cre­ate space for women’s accom­plish­ments in the field of nature sto­ry­telling, explor­ing what a fem­i­nine per­spec­tive means to women in their por­tray­al of nature. This fes­ti­val was a free event open to the pub­lic and sup­port­ed the par­tic­i­pa­tion of pan­elists from across the world.

In ear­ly 2019, VII Academy founder Gary Knight and wildlife cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er and pro­duc­er Jacqueline Farmer began dis­cussing the inequities women face in the media indus­try, par­tic­u­lar­ly in sto­ry­telling and art that por­trays the nat­ur­al world. They want­ed to cre­ate a space for women to feel uplift­ed in this field and gain the resources and tools they need­ed to suc­ceed in chal­leng­ing, often male-dominated spaces. The inau­gur­al Nature: Through Her Eyes fes­ti­val, host­ed by the VII Academy, cel­e­brat­ed and high­light­ed women’s roles in the arts, includ­ing writ­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, film­mak­ers, as well as cam­era and sound oper­a­tors. The fes­ti­val explored what a fem­i­nine per­spec­tive means to women in their por­tray­al of nature and in their sto­ry­telling, and why it is impor­tant for soci­ety as a whole. The event cre­at­ed a space for women’s ideas and work that are inno­v­a­tive and impor­tant for all audi­ences to see, regard­less of gen­der, and that express hope for our future sto­ry­tellers and media audi­ences.

The opening panel discussion "The Feminine Perspective" of the Nature: Through Her Eyes festival on Saturday, October 19, 2019. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti
The open­ing pan­el dis­cus­sion “The Feminine Perspective” of the Nature: Through Her Eyes fes­ti­val on Saturday, October 19, 2019. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti

The fes­ti­val was held in the dynam­ic city of Perpignan, France, from October 18-21, 2019. Presenters flew in from all over the world, bring­ing their expe­ri­ence from media, lit­er­a­ture, acad­e­mia and research, and legal and com­mer­cial fields. Programming includ­ed pro­fes­sion­al work­shops, sem­i­nars, film screen­ings, men­tor­ing, net­work­ing events, and pan­el dis­cus­sions.

The fes­ti­val served as a plat­form for women to share expe­ri­ences between gen­er­a­tions and across cul­tures, cre­at­ing a men­tor­ship net­work for young women enter­ing the pro­fes­sion that will last long beyond the fes­ti­val dates.

Panelists came from nine dif­fer­ent coun­tries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Tanzania, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam) to share their expe­ri­ence with an audi­ence of women and men from around the world.

Each pan­el dis­cus­sion was mod­er­at­ed and trans­lat­ed into both English and French; they explored the wide range of chal­lenges women face in this field and the unique strengths women bring to the table.

 

The Panels

Be sure to check out this video playlist for the full videos of each of the pan­els, as well as great con­ver­sa­tions with many of the pan­elists.

Writing Nature: From a Female POV—How it Could Save the World

How do female writ­ers por­tray nature in works of fic­tion and essays? How does cul­ture col­or that per­spec­tive? Nature writ­ing has long been the domain of pri­mar­i­ly white male writ­ers. Today, women are stak­ing their claim on the genre in orig­i­nal ways.

Panelists: Anne Simon, Zakiya Mckenzie, Valerie Chansigaud, Claudia Casper, Vinciane Despret, Eden Robinson and Bénédicte Meillon

View the full dis­cus­sion (in English and French):

Women in the Field, Barriers and Solutions

What is it like to be a woman on an all-male shoot? What phys­i­cal and tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers are chal­leng­ing, and what tech­ni­cal advice do pro­fes­sion­als have for women who are start­ing out? This pan­el includ­ed sound engi­neers, cin­e­matog­ra­phers and pho­tog­ra­phers that addressed a wide range of tech­ni­cal ques­tions and dis­cussed how they’ve devel­oped unique styles in their work.

Panelists: Sophie Darlington, Eshika Fyzee, Anne Lapied, Gail Jenkinson, Sophie Lanfear, and Justine Evans

View the full dis­cus­sion (in English and French):

The panel discussion “Women in the Field, Barriers and Solutions” on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at the Nature: Through Her Eyes festival hosted by the VII Academy. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti
The pan­el dis­cus­sion “Women in the Field, Barriers and Solutions” on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at the Nature: Through Her Eyes fes­ti­val host­ed by the VII Academy. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Women pho­tog­ra­phers, film­mak­ers, and authors often have an edu­ca­tion that lacks any legal train­ing. This dis­cus­sion was led by two lawyers and offered a basic under­stand­ing of rights and con­tracts. It addressed chal­lenges par­tic­u­lar to women—wage par­i­ty, sex­ism, as well as how to fair­ly nego­ti­ate a con­tract.

Panelists: Michelle Bruce, Astrid Roussel-Olive, Benjamin Sarfati

The Feminine Perspective

What is par­tic­u­lar about the per­spec­tive that women bring to films, pho­tographs, writ­ing and art about nature and the wild world? Are there sub­jects that inter­est women which are not addressed by men? Do women look at the wild world dif­fer­ent­ly? This pan­el explored the unique, inno­v­a­tive, and often col­lab­o­ra­tive approach women cre­ators employ in the arts.

Panelists: Arati Kumar-Rao, Valerie Chansigaud, Vinciane Despret, Vanessa Berlowitz, Eden Robinson and Erica Francis Rugabandana

View the full dis­cus­sion (in English and French):

Inventory and Exchange, the State of Affairs

How can we over­come obsta­cles to make women’s work about nature bet­ter fund­ed and more vis­i­ble? What are the bud­gets allo­cat­ed to women in the tele­vi­sion indus­try, the pub­lish­ing world, and the world of pho­tog­ra­phy? Established indus­try pro­fes­sion­als dis­cussed how they have nav­i­gat­ed pro­fes­sion­al set­tings and what strate­gies they sug­gest for women enter­ing, offer­ing direct pitch­ing and fund­ing advice.

Panelists: Birgit Peters, Paul Zimic, Isabelle Graziadey, Michelle Bruce, Goedele Gillis, Vanessa Berlowitz and Anne de Malleray

Film Screenings

Throughout the four days, the pro­gram includ­ed mul­ti­ple film screen­ings open to the pub­lic as well as the fes­ti­val audi­ence. In total, 550 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in these screen­ing events at the Cinema Castillet.

The Nature: Through Her Eyes festival opened at the Cinema Castillet in Perpignan, France with a screening of "The Woman Who Loves Giraffes." Protagonist Anne Innis Dagg and Executive Producer Paul Zimic answer audience questions after the screening on Friday, October 19, 2019. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti
The Nature: Through Her Eyes fes­ti­val opened at the Cinema Castillet in Perpignan, France with a screen­ing of “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes.” Protagonist Anne Innis Dagg and Executive Producer Paul Zimic answer audi­ence ques­tions after the screen­ing on Friday, October 19, 2019. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti
Renowned Canadian researcher of giraffes and protagonist of the film “The Woman Who Loves Giraffe,s” Anne Innis Dagg, speaks with Indian filmmaker Eshika Fyzee after the screening of “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes" on Friday, October 19, 2019. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti
Renowned Canadian researcher of giraffes and pro­tag­o­nist of the film “The Woman Who Loves Giraffe,s” Anne Innis Dagg, speaks with Indian film­mak­er Eshika Fyzee after the screen­ing of “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes” on Friday, October 19, 2019. © Stephane Ferrer Yulianti

School Screenings

240 chil­dren from CM1, CM2, CE2 and 6eme (col­lege) from Perpignan and the local area attend­ed a free screen­ing of “Malin Comme une Chèvre” with local film­mak­er Emma Baus.

Festival and pub­lic screen­ings

  • “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes” received a stand­ing ova­tion for the 86-year-old Canadian pro­tag­o­nist Anne Innis Dagg.
  • The episode “Frozen World” from the Emmy award win­ning Netflix series “Our Planet” was pre­sent­ed by Producer and Director Sophie Lanfear.
  • An episode from the BBC’s “Dynasties” series, “Lions,” was pre­sent­ed by the British cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er Sophie Darlington.
  • “Mbudha, sur la route des cham­panzées,” an award-winning film about the dis­cov­ery of a pre­vi­ous­ly unknown group of chim­panzees in Congo, was pre­sent­ed by cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er and direc­tor Caroline Thirion.
  • “Aigle et gypaètes” is a 90-minute fea­ture about the birds and wildlife of the French Alps, pre­sent­ed by French direc­tor Anne Lapied.

Short films

  • “In Zebedee’s Memory”: a short con­ser­va­tion film through the lens of pup­pets, pre­sent­ed by Vietnamese direc­tor Linh Luyen.
  • “Vinu – The Elephant Keeper”: a short film about the dying mahout tra­di­tion in India, pre­sent­ed by cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er Eshika Fyzee.
  • “Bo Bo and Mo Mo”: an ele­phant con­ser­va­tion short by Burmese direc­tor Zarchi Damloup.
  • “Nature Love Stories”: an exper­i­men­tal short about ocean life by Australian direc­tor Michaela Skovranova.
  • “Le tombeau des épuisés”: a short by French direc­tor Marion Feranandez.
  • “I fol­low rivers”: an exper­i­men­tal, poet­ic short by Alaskan direc­tor Tessa Schmidt.
  • A still from “In Zebedee’s Memory”

  • “Le tombeau des épuisés”

  • “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes”

  • “Our Planet” episode “Frozen Worlds”

  • “Mbudha, sur la route des cham­panzées”

  • BBC’s “Dynasties” series, episode “Lions.” Copyright: BBC/BBC Studios/ Stefan Christmann/ Nick Lyon/Theo Webb

  • “Bo Bo and Mo Mo”

  • A still from “Nature Love Stories”

  • A still from “Malin comme une chèvre”

Be sure to check out www.naturethroughhereyes.com for more infor­ma­tion about the 2019 Nature: Through Her Eyes fes­ti­val.