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Wildlife filmmaker to speak at BUEI this evening

A producer of an award-winning BBC wildfire documentary will reveal behind the scenes stories about his work during a lecture at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute this evening.

Hugh Pearson has worked on television series like ‘Nature's Great Events' and ‘Africa', and is currently on the Island filming a segment for the upcoming BBC documentary ‘The Hunt', along with LookBermuda.

The documentary is a landmark wildlife series exploring the dramatic relationship between predators and prey. It will be broadcast on BBC1 and around the world next October.

Mr Pearson said shooting the project in Bermuda has been a challenging experience. “The people have been great, but the weather has been against us as we've been struggling to get all the shots we need,” he explained.

“There's no doubt Bermuda is a fantastic place, but wherever we go we're always trying to break new ground so it's always a challenge.”

At tonight's presentation, which starts at 7pm, Mr Pearson will also talk about how wildlife filmmaking has changed over the past ten to 15 years and will give his views on how competition with mainstream media has forced documentary filmmakers to change much of what they do.

Belinda Barbieri, the marketing consultant at BUEI, said attendees were sure to be entertained. “The talk will feature a clip from ‘Nature's Great Events', [including a time when] their cameraman was nearly being bitten by a shark,” she said. “We will also show two clips from ‘Africa', one about the deadly dash that turtle hatchlings face in the first few minutes of their lives and the greatest giraffe fight ever filmed. If you think you know about giraffes, think again.

“Mr Pearson is going to show these clips and then give people insight into how they developed from an idea to reality.”

Although one would think Mr Pearson has had scores of terrifying moments on the set of his films, he said the scariest times are when he can't be sure they will be able to capture the sequence they came to film. “Fear of failure is terrifying,” he said.

His most beautiful moments happen when he is at or under the sea, he said. So far in his career he has been able to swim with a female humpback whale and her calf in Hawaii, see a spectacle of South Africa's sardine, and visit the rugged beauty of Alaska.

Mr Pearson is driven by a desire to produce revelatory, world class films about the natural world. For 18 years he worked at the renowned BBC Natural History Unit. He has also worked on Emmy award-winning programmes such as ‘Africa', ‘The Blue Planet', ‘Big Cat Diary', ‘Coast' and ‘Nature's Great Events'.

• Tickets for the lecture are $20 for members; $25 for non-members and $10 for children under age 17. They can be purchased by calling 294-0204. Alternatively you can visit the Oceans Gift Shop at BUEI.

Anyone interested in making a night of it can also get a special 15 percent discount available at Harbourfront Restaurant beforehand. Happy-hour sushi starts at 5pm and runs until 6.30pm, however it is not discounted. For reservations phone 295-4207.

Doors open at 6.45pm; with the lecture starting at 7pm.

Giving a presentation: Hugh Pearson recording the sound of gannets on an island near the coast of southern Africa. Mr Pearson is a guest speaker at BEUI this evening.

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Published October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 25, 2013 at 12:19 am)

Wildlife filmmaker to speak at BUEI this evening

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