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13Oct2014

Yasmin White's MA Film Project Wins Best Amateur Film @WCFF_org

Yasmin’s film, Paradise Island; back from the brink, which she made for her Masters in Wildlife Documentary Production with the University of Salford, has won an award for Best Amateur Film at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York. Yasmin is attending the festival from 13th to 17th October to retrieve her award and meet with film-makers and conservationists from all over the world, bringing back new and fresh ideas for Icon Films. 

But where did this passion for wildlife and filmmaking start?

Since I was a toddler, I couldn’t stop myself from stroking the nearest cat or dog. My earliest memory with animals was a visit to my grandma’s house in Mauritius, where I spent most of my time with the newborn puppies in the doghouse – I was only four and ended up having more fleas than the dogs! This curious passion for animals has led me on many wild adventures, from working at the vets or the farm just around the corner of home, in London, to faraway places such as Africa and South America.

Like most young girls with a love for animals, I wanted to be a vet. I tried, but I failed. And after a lot of hard work and heartache, I decided to study Zoology instead. Veterinary was behind me, and with my eagerness to share my passion with the world and make a difference I thought an MA in Wildlife Documentary Production would be a fitting next step. It was great but challenging! I gained so many new skills, from directing and producing films as well as filming and editing them. But my biggest challenge of all was to make a 10-15 minute wildlife film entirely on my own. Guess where I filmed it? In Mauritius, where my passion began.

After mans devastating invasion of the island of Mauritius, many of the native fauna and flora met the same fate as the dodo... extinction. Those that managed to cling onto survival were pushed to the brink. However, there was hope on the horizon. It was something of an irony that the last chance to save the Mauritian wildlife was left in the hands of man. And this film tells the extraordinary tale of how a small patch of coastal forest provided a safe haven for the remaining wildlife of Mauritius... saving them from extinction.


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