storytelling that moves

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Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.

Documentary Filmmaking

Nature’s Voices is a business partnership of Wiebke Finkler and Lloyd Spencer Davis, who collectively have over 40 years experience making science and natural history documentaries.

Some of the documentaries directed by them are:

The Guardian of Kinabalu

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Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.
Our current project is a documentary that takes us to Borneo’s stunningly beautiful Kinabalu Park with its centrepiece of Mount Kinabalu, a biological hotspot in every sense of the word. We see an incredible range of exotic animals and plants, many of them unique to the area. Our guide is a humble spiritual man who seems to know everything there is to know about the mountain and its rainforests. Alim Biun is connected to the spirits of the forest, who he says we are in danger of offending unless we care for the environment properly.

This film, then, sets out to not only showcase the extreme beauty and diversity of the natural world of Mount Kinabalu, but also the story of Alim Biun, the man with a direct line to the spiritual world and a desire to protect Kinabalu in order to keep the spirits happy.

Meet The Real Penguins

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Made in association with NHNZ and WNET (USA), this documentary won 12 international awards. A major romp through the world of penguins (it was marketed in USA under the title The World of Penguins), this film directed by Lloyd, and for which he was also senior scriptwriter, proved a big hit and was the first ever documentary from NHNZ to be selected for the BBC’s premiere natural history slot. The awards include:

prize_winnerAbu Prize for Best Documentary at the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, Hong Kong
prize_winnerPrix Special du Jury at the Festival de L'Oiseau, Abbeville, France
prize_winnerSpecial Prize of the Jury, 1st International Science Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary

Wind Dancer: the story of Shona Dunlop MacTavish

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Wiebke and Lloyd co-produced a documentary about the extraordinary story of Shona Dunlop MacTavish, the woman who brought modern dance to New Zealand and, in the process, dealt with three of the greatest social upheavals of the 20th Century: Naziism, Communism and Apartheid. The film was directed and edited by Wiebke, and is notable for its beautiful use of imagery.

prize_winnerSelected for the New Zealand International Film Festival
prize_winnerSelected for the WildSouth International Film Festival

Under Galapagos

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The idea behind this documentary, directed, produced and co-written by Lloyd, was to examine how Charles Darwin's ideas on evolution may have been affected had he had an aqualung and been able to explore underwater around the Galapagos Islands. Made in association with NHNZ and PBS, a crew of five lead by Lloyd shot the film in the Galapagos Islands. Combining stunning underwater sequences (these were the first images filmed of penguins and sea lions feeding on tight schools of anchovy that pulsated with almost balletic beauty – subsequently copied by other filmmakers, including the BBC) with a beautiful score, it contrasts the differences in animals above the waterline compared with the similarities in those below. While at first glance this might appear contradictory, the film shows how both provide evidence for evolution by natural selection.

Eating Like A Gannet

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Made in association with NHNZ and Ecology Division DSIR, this film documents the change in the world’s only mainland colony of gannets at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand, and relates the increasing numbers of gannets over 40 years to changes in their food supply brought about by overfishing. In essence, overfishing has removed many of the top fish predators from the ecosystem, allowing numbers of the smaller fish on which they and the gannets prey to increase unabated, thereby providing a bonanza for the gannets. The film is distinguished by its beautiful lighting and intimate look into the lives of gannets. Written and directed by Lloyd, it has been sold and screened in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

Singing Wood

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Singing Wood is a film about a guitar maker that was co-produced and co-directed by Wiebke. It screened throughout New Zealand to rave reviews.

prize_winnerSelected for the New Zealand International Film Festival