African Natural History Unit


An African Natural History Unit (ANHU) will be set up in South Africa, following on from the successful Wild Talk Africa International Film Festival & Conference held recently in Durban. Marcel Golding, CEO of free-to-air channel, has pledged $1m to help develop the wildlife film industry in Africa, and establishing an ANHU is the first step towards this goal.

The ANHU will assist independent wildlife filmmakers in developing their production concepts to a point where they can attract international commissions and co-productions from broadcasters. The ANHU will also utilise its funds to part-commission and co-produce these wildlife documentaries, with international and local broadcasters, and set up a distribution company with the sole aim of marketing these films overseas.

The ANHU will be equipped with the latest HD camera and editing equipment to assist wildlife filmmakers with production. The vision for the ANHU is to manage a 1 x weekly hourly slot for wildlife programmes in South Africa as well as train and develop aspirant black wildlife filmmakers.

At Wild Talk Africa, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) also pledged that it would match the fund of $1 million for wildlife films. This would not be a sponsorship fund, as previously published, but rather that these funds could be applied for through the normal IDC channels. One of the ANHU’s roles would be to facilitate this application process by dealing with the IDC as a single entity representing filmmakers and their individual projects.

The ANHU will continue to provide a forum, through the Wild Talk Africa film festival and conference, for local and international filmmakers, commissioning editors, broadcasters and producers, whereby opportunities for generating revenue for filmmakers and creating business deals can be achieved.

Ultimately the ANHU aims to serve as a central body, to assist, orchestrate and secure wildlife and natural history productions for the African filmmakers.

The ANHU will be headed up by Sophie Zylstra (nee Vartan) and proposals for ANHU funding for wildlife and natural history documentaries can be sent to


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