Midlands Spotlight - Wildlife filmmakers Paula and Michael Webster
By midlandsmovies, Jul 24 2017 04:33PM
Midlands Movies speaks to Paula and Michael Webster, two Leicestershire filmmakers who are journeying across the Atlantic for a new documentary to be filmed in South America.
Living and working in the Midlands, Paula Webster grew up with an interest in wildlife and nature conservation. From Leicester’s Lea Meadows Nature reserve to volunteering for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Paula has spent a lifetime of love supporting their causes.
But soon the couple’s life was turned upside down as they headed to South America to promote the diversity of the continent where their photographic and film-making skills could be fully utilised.
Working as a two person team, Paula is very much the technical worker behind the camera with Michael acting as presenter.
“We work together on the scripts for our films, I do all the editing and Michael’s experience as a still photographer is invaluable”, says Paula.
She adds, “We come back to our home to the Midlands in the Charnwood Forest to do the important work of editing and catching up with friends and family, as well as giving talks on our work to photographic and wildlife groups”.
And despite the global nature of their endeavours, Paula is keen to emphasise her connections to the local filmmaking community back here.
“I have an excellent network of friends in the Midlands who help me with advice on my films. This is so important! Colin Sullivan from Market Harborough Movie Makers is a great help with the technical side of editing on my EDIUS software. Jill Lampert from Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers is a boon for helping develop a good story and Melvyn Rawlinson from Nottingham is a great guy who always gives thoughtful, constructive criticism. I have recently joined the Seven-Five group at the Phoenix in Leicester and hope to work with them in the future”.
Their most recent project is about the struggle to save a rare bird in Patagonia for Aves Argentinas, the sister organisation in Argentina to the RSPB in the UK.
“As you can imagine filming in the wild, windswept expanses of Patagonia was not easy”, explains Paula. “First we had to find the birds. They were spread over high plateaux, miles from the nearest tarmac road. We spent weeks searching for them. We then had to find a camp site sheltered from the wind. This meant a two hour walk laden down with all our gear to get to the lagoon where we had seen the birds. We were lucky! The birds started to display on day 2 of our stay. What an incredible performance”.
One of their main challenges was involving members of the Hooded Grebe Project who were not professional actors and the couple worked carefully to encourage people to speak English as well as try to make them look natural in front of the camera. Although not easy, the Websters had to be very flexible in their filming often leading to a lot of last minute dashes across the volcanic plateaux with new sequences to be written into the film.
With 6 trips already in the bag and more planned for the future, the Websters show that there is a whole world of film opportunities for local filmmakers. Along with their love of wildlife and travel documentaries, they haven’t forgotten their roots with their film “What Does It Mean to You?” including voxpops from their very own hometown of Leicester.
Check out more information about the filmmakers at their official site http://living-wild.net and watch the full film on the Vimeo video below.
Midlands Movies Mike