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Ethics and morality in the environmental and wildlife filmmaking

Friday, August 28, 2020 | ZOOM |@3:30-05:00 pm IST


To Participate Kindly Register:


Limited Seats: registration will be first come first serve basis. 

Certificate will be provided to each participant upon completion of the webinar.



P N Vasanti , an active advocate for more accountable media, leads CMS VATAVARAN – Asia's largest International film festival and forum on environment and wildlife. She specializes in strategy development, designing, researching, evaluating communication initiatives and development programs. She has a PhD in Media Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University and has double Masters degrees in Applied Psychology (Jamia Millia Islamia) and Management (FMS, Delhi University).

Ajay Bedi & Vijay Bedi ,The Academy Emmy® award nominated Ajay Bedi & Viay Bedi, have worked as wildlife filmmakers and photographers for over 20 years. Starting young, they are the third generation of wildlife filmmakers and photographers. They are the youngest Asian to have won Green Oscar for their film and recently won three National awards for Indians first natural history film on Amphibians of India which are given by the President of India. Their films are broadcasted on many international channels and pictures are published in various magazines. Ajay & Vijay Bedi use their camera as a tool for conservation, they want to collaborate with artistes, journalists and policy makers to spread the message of our Planet’s immense biodiversity and the need to conserve this natural heritage for future generations.

Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena , are independent filmmakers and media trainers with over 40 films to their credit. After several years of working as journalists, they quit their jobs to follow their dreams and set up Top Quark Films. Their oeuvre spans the domains of culture, ecology, livelihoods, development and human rights. They have been honoured three times with the National Film Award.

Moderated by:

Aarti Shrivastava, She is a national award-winning Indian documentary filmmaker and Asia 21 leader. She has been a jury member on various film festivals including the International Film Festival of India (Goa), is currently engaged in producing and directing a multi-year feature-length documentary project on the Water crisis in India.


Ethics and morality in the environmental and wildlife filmmaking.

Environmental documentary filmmakers have an ethical responsibility towards their topics. It also requires the acknowledgement and acceptance of the work ethics such as truthfulness of the subject material and a dutiful and non-exploitative filming relationships. Audiences are characteristically unconcerned about filmmaking ethics, particularly in reference to environmental, wildlife and educational films. It is, however, under these categories that some of the most serious ethical and moral grievances have taken place.

Wildlife and environmental filmmaking involve perhaps the most complicated issues of ethics and morality due to the position of its subjects. Generally, the subjects whether it’s a situation or an environmental movement or the wildlife, cannot control their representation by the filmmakers, nor can they give consent to their dealings with filmmakers. We may question that why is the concern about ethics and morality in environmental or wildlife filmmaking? The violations of ethics in this field have an effect on the spread of educational information and human-environmental relations.

From their early days, documentaries had given the general audiences a chance to experience the world. Environmental and wildlife filmmaking is still serving this purpose in many ways by bringing the audiences from different parts of the world face to face with the environmental problems, movements, best practices and also the different species, their behaviours and habitats that few would have the opportunity to see otherwise.

We are living in a very fortunate time where we are having entire TV channels and film festivals dedicated to environmental and wildlife films. The content that have emerged from this field have brought audiences not only different stories of environmental issues, concerns and best practices but also stories of wildlife survival and the beauty and diversity of Earth’s habitats right into us. But what will happen when wildlife filmmaking goes bad? Cases of animal cruelty and harassment and audience deception about the different environmental issues and movements have been evidenced in the history of environmental film.

The idea behind this webinar is to explore these fundamental ethical and moral issues and the dilemma faced by the environmental and wildlife filmmakers and film festivals.

We will also like to explore that;

Documentaries have the potential to serve as potent sources of information. What happens when the message is blurred or lost for the sake of ratings and financial rewards?

Are the film festivals and environment and wildlife filmmakers need to support and advocate the issues or the environmental movement or the species they feature in their documentaries, or is their role simply to inform and entertain?

 Is everything in black and white or there are some grey are also? What is the borderline?

Should the environmental and wildlife filmmakers have to play a role of a passive observers or should behave like a conservation activist?

What are the steps needs to be taken to maintain the documentary integrity and does it have a direct correlation on the impact, relevance and reputability of material with audiences?

As a green filmmakers and film festival organizers what are our social responsibility and what about anthropomorphising the animal subjects.


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