National Geographic Expands Scope of Second Field Ready Class to Include Science, Adventure and Exploration in Addition to Natural History
Last year, the Field Ready Program made the successful pivot to a digital mentorship and will continue this six-month digital learning and mentorship program between 10 mentees (National Geographic Explorers) and 10 mentors (Nat Geo production partners).
[via press release from National Geographic Channel]
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPANDS SCOPE OF SECOND FIELD READY CLASS TO INCLUDE SCIENCE, ADVENTURE AND EXPLORATION IN ADDITION TO NATURAL HISTORY
TRAINING CURRICULUM DESIGNED TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION BEHIND THE CAMERA FOR UNSCRIPTED PROJECTS
Industry Leaders to Serve as Speakers Including James Cameron, Darren Aronofsky, Chai Vasarhelyi, Bree Frank, Brian Skerry and Others
Nat Geo Taps Premiere Natural History Producers to Serve as Year 2 Mentors Including Nutopia, Plimsoll, Red Rock, Wildstar and Others
(WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 18, 2021) National Geographic unveiled the Field Ready Program in 2020 to promote diversity and inclusion in global television production, providing a clear path for a new generation of people interested in working behind the camera. On the heels of the success of the first year, including Daniel Venturini and Maurice Oniang’o who worked on shoots with industry leader Plimsoll, National Geographic today presented the second class of this program from around the globe. The announcement was made by National Geographic Global Television Networks President Courteney Monroe at the network’s session at the Summer TCA press tour, held virtually.
Last year, the Field Ready Program made the successful pivot to a digital mentorship and will continue this six-month digital learning and mentorship program between 10 mentees (National Geographic Explorers) and 10 mentors (Nat Geo production partners). The mentees will network to share ideas and creative processes. Additionally, Field Ready participants will attend monthly “master classes” and Q&A sessions with industry leaders. In an effort to expand the opportunities provided by this program, National Geographic has opened the live Master Classes and Q&A sessions to more than 35 early-career filmmakers from around the world to audit these courses.
“As a global leader in natural history programming, we are profoundly aware that we need to continue to foster and make decisions to increase diversity and inclusion in natural history filmmaking teams,” said Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president, Development & Production, National Geographic, who is spearheading the program. “To stay on the cutting edge in this highly competitive field, cultivating fresh voices and diverse talent is key. We want to make sure that we are leading in this game-changing endeavor, and are now full steam ahead and embracing the extended program, which is already leading to meaningful mentor and mentee partnerships.”
In partnership with the National Geographic Society, the nonprofit arm of National Geographic, the Field Ready Program will elevate early-career National Geographic Explorers to become impactful and diverse talent behind the lens. This year, the scope of fields is expanding from natural history to also include science, adventure and exploration filmmaking. Its goal is to accelerate skills and industry knowledge to communities historically underrepresented in these fields.
“The National Geographic Society is thrilled to welcome our second class and to further immerse 10 early-career National Geographic Explorers into the industry of film,” said Kaitlin Yarnall, chief storytelling officer at National Geographic Society. “Our commitment to elevating historically underserved and underrepresented groups makes our work stronger, and achieves a more equitable and inclusive world.”
Below is the 2021 class of the Field Ready Program:
· Emi Kondo – Costa Rica – is a Japanese-Costa Rican filmmaker, photographer and multimedia storyteller. Based in Costa Rica and working as a multimedia manager at World Animal Protection International, Emi has made films and photos in several countries in farms, disaster zones and undercover at captive animal venues.
· Jen Guyton – Germany – is a photographer with a doctorate in ecology. Her work focuses on the intersection between nature and human culture. She has worked as a biologist on three continents, including almost 10 years working on wildlife and conservation projects in Africa.
· Jessica Suarez – USA – is a natural history and conservation photographer and filmmaker. Through her work, she explores humans’ relationship to the environment, scientific research, wildlife and wild spaces.
· Jubilian Ngaruwa – Nigeria – is a documentary filmmaker. Her works are focused on stories that are culturally deeply rooted in Africa. Her passion and desire to preserve the African culture and traditions through storytelling drives her works.
· Malaika Vaz – India – is a National Geographic Explorer, TV presenter and filmmaker focused on telling stories of endangered wildlife, the human-wildlife interface and investigating the illegal wildlife trade globally.
· Manuel Seoane – Bolivia – is a photographer and visual storytelling explorer currently working on a documentary project in his country about the importance of Indigenous territories for the conservation of the forest and the world’s cultural heritage.
· Miora Rajaonary – Mauritius – is a documentary photographer born and raised in Madagascar, currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Through her work, she focuses on identity and social issues in contemporary Africa. Over the next few years, Miora plans to focus on the consequences of climate change on the populations of the islands in the Indian Ocean.
· Munmun Dhalaria – India – is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and National Geographic Storytelling Explorer from India. Her work revolves around wildlife conservation, science communication and social-issue documentaries, where she amplifies local voices for both online and broadcast films. Her work revolves around wildlife conservation, science communication and social-issue documentaries where she amplifies local voices for both online and broadcast films. She lends a humanistic lens to nature filmmaking and believes in highlighting lesser-known species and landscapes from the subcontinent.
· Pablo Albarenga – Uruguay – is a National Geographic Explorer, documentary photographer and visual storyteller exploring Human Rights issues in Latin America. As a photographer, Pablo has dedicated his work to investigating, studying and photographing the colonization process that is still affecting traditional populations in Latin America.
· Sofia Lopez Mañan – Argentina – is an Argentine artist/photographer currently working on various photographic projects in Argentina with a deep commitment in environmental issues where she seeks to unravel the boundaries between the natural and unnatural, questioning how humans perceive their habitat and other ambiance through issues of animal trafficking and conservation.
· Colette Beaudry – SeaLight Pictures, Australia
· Dominic Weston – Wall to Wall Media, U.K.
· Jeff Garcia – The Best Productions, U.S.
· Kim Woodard – Lucky 8 TV, U.S.
· Lisa Mao – Nat Geo Wild, U.S.
· Martha Holmes – Plimsoll, U.K.
· Ruth Roberts – Talesmith, U.K.
· Shannon Malone-deBenedictis – Red Rock, U.S.
· Simon Willgoss – Nutopia, U.K.
· Vanessa Berlowitz – Wildstar, U.K.
Each one-hour “master class” is taught by a leader in the industry. The hour includes 40 minutes of storytelling and teaching followed by 20 minutes of Q&A with the mentees. The courses represent years of expertise – knowledge that takes a lifetime to accumulate.
· Brian Skerry – National Geographic Explorer
· Dominique Andrews – director, Production Management, National Geographic
· Janet Han Vissering – SVP, Development & Production, Natural History, National Geographic
· National Geographic Society Impact Video Team – Globally recognized team
· Plimsoll Gear Shop – Emmy© Award-Winning Team
· Sandesh Kadur – Green Oscar(R) Nominee and National Geographic Explorer
Additionally, there are premium Q&A sessions with industry leaders that will help the mentees hone their skills even more. In these sessions, invaluable industry knowledge will be shared around a core theme, with the Q&A format to help inform each of the mentee’s interests.
Q&A Sessions will include the following:
· Brandon Sargeant – Camera Operations in the Field
· Bree Frank – The Future Filmmaking
· Chai Vasarhelyi – The Art of Filmmaking
· Darren Aronofsky – Bringing Your Vision to Life
· Faith Musembi – Filmmaking as a Career
· James Cameron – Science & Tech in Storytelling
· Terence Carter – Producing Purpose-Driven Content
Upon graduating from the program, the Field Ready class of mentees will be announced to the wider production community as qualified candidates to be placed on National Geographic productions around the world. The program will become a reliable resource to our production partners as they look to hire and mentor the next generation of talent. By creating a pipeline of qualified candidates and endorsing them as Field Ready, the goal is not only to make an impact on the future of this business but to be the leaders in ensuring we stand by our commitment to diversity and inclusion. With this second class, Nat Geo has expanded the program to include more diverse voices in additional fields representing channel content, including science, adventure and exploration in addition to Natural History Filmmaking. We will also be looking closely at D&I funding to ensure our mentees will have work opportunities once the program is complete. Finally, we will be rotating volunteers every two years to expand involvement with the program.
For inquires into Field Ready Year 2, please email NGPFieldReady@natgeo.com. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com or our press site www.natgeotvpressroom.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NatGeoPR.
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