I Can Haz Wildebeest?

Wildlife filmmaker seems like the best job ever, getting paid to lie on the Serengeti, tundra, riverbank, ice floe, sea floor, or branch, with a very expensive camera, surrounded by animals. But maybe it sucks? Maybe waiting around for animals to wander past is as interminable as waiting for your cat to look your way when you're shooting your Christmas card? Chris Palmer would know: He's been shooting wildlife for more than 25 years, producing more than 300 hours for television and film. For the past good while, however, he's been chained to a desk, like Indiana Jones teaching class, completing his book, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom. The guy speaks his mind (Jane Goodall calls it “a very important and much-needed book”), striding into the ethics of nature filming like a man who needs a money shot with a croc before sunset — there's apparently a money shot in wildlife filming, which makes Palmer crazy. And some filmmakers rent animals from game farms for staged aggression, which makes him insane. Last month, he wrote a Huffington Post piece with Peter Kimball, slamming Shark Week for focusing "only on presenting graphic, sensationalized animal violence." Then they went after a whole industry, stating, "One of the least expensive ways to create content is to send someone like Jeff Corwin or the late Steve Irwin to grab at animals and make them seem menacing and dangerous." Why is this guy not on TV?
Mon., Aug. 30, 7 p.m., 2010

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