We reached out to our Jackson Wild Media Awards filmmakers to ask them five questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
Producer, Director, and Host Bertie Gregory: The island of South Georgia has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. Paired with 9000ft glaciated mountains that erupt straight up out of the ocean, and a week-long sail in a 50ft boat through some of the roughest ocean on the planet, it was a bit of a no brainer as a location for a wildlife adventure series. We wanted to get to know 4 of the toughest species that call this place home. Whether is be sass, teamwork, endurance, or city living, I wanted to capture their different survival strategies. That said, the key reason I chose this place was its presentation of the very best and worst in our own human nature. From Captain Cook’s discovery of the island to the whaling era and now its comeback, we wanted to show what’s possible when you protect a place.
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share?
BG: During the filming of the macaroni penguin episode, I was sat about 20m from where the adults were leaving and returning from their daily hunting trips at sea. Out of nowhere, a male Antarctica fur seal came bolting out of the water, running on its front flippers, towards a group of penguins waiting for their turn to enter the water. Having read zero accounts of Antarctic fur seals hunting macaronis on land I couldn’t quite believe it when the seal grabbed one and began thrashing it around. It was pretty brutal to watch but the real surprise came when the penguin managed to slip out the grip of the seal and get away. The seal turned its attention towards another group. As the seal ran across the rocks, almost all the penguins scattered. All except one who having just watched his comrade get thrown around, turned and faced the seal. The little penguin put its fins out at the seal as if to say, ‘come at me’! The seal looked pretty unsure of what to do and after a brief standoff, turned and headed back to the water. That was certainly one bold little penguin.
Any fun facts about the program, the subject matter or the production crew that might surprise the audience?
BG: During the 7-day ocean crossing to the filming location, I got to know the bottom of a black bucket quite well. I named him Barry Bucket. Over the course of the journey we got to know each other quite well. I used to feed him regularly and then take him for a swim, before feeding him again.
Why did you pick your presenter to be the on-camera host telling this story?
BG: Because if I’d chosen someone else, I would have been out of a job!