This study examines why the Kruger Park struggled to become a leading venue for wildlife filmmaking and then, paradoxically, at a time when South Africa came under increasing political and military pressure, wildlife filmmaking took off very successfully. Another paradox is that the growth in wildlife filmmaking also paralleled the growth of wildlife hunting in Southern Africa.
The study turns to Actor-Network theory to examine the complex interplay between local filmmakers, international commissioning agents like Mike Rosenberg, international broadcasters and the animals involved. It argues that Southern African filmmakers were often able to aim successfully both at European and North American markets and points to ways in which innovations from Southern Africa influenced broadcasting trends internationally, particularly in the move away from a British blue-chip BBC ethos and style.
It concludes with an examination of Africam and WildEarth and the vision of founder Graham Wallington about the future of wildlife documentary.
Introduction: The social, political and technological background
Chapter 1. The Kruger and the politics of conservation
Chapter 2. Catching rhinos: from Ian Player to John Wayne
Chapter 3. East to South: why African wildlife filmmaking moved from East to Southern Africa
Chapter 4. Alan Root in Kenya and the Bartletts in Southern Africa
Chapter 5. Michael Rosenberg and cultural brokering
Chapter 6. David and Carol Hughes
Chapter 7. Dieter Plage and South West Africa
Chapter 8. John Varty and the role of the private lodge
Chapter 9. Technology transfers and local innovations
Chapter 10. The new millennium: Kim Wolhuter, the Jouberts and Mad Mike and Mark
Chapter 11. The future of the genre?: WildEarth television and the attractions of wildlife live
Ian Glenn is an Emeritus Professor of Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and the author of The First Safari: Searching for François Levaillant.