Jul 23 , 2020

Masterclass: Industry Greats - Wildlife filmmaking with Vanessa Berlowitz and Mark Linfield

  • When: 23rd Jul 2020, 11:30-12:30
  • Organised by: ScreenSkills
  • Location: Online
  • Price: Free
  • Age: 18+

This masterclass will offer career information and insight from Vanessa Berlowitz and Mark Linfield, the co-founders of Wildstar Films, the Bristol based production company whose team has worked on some of the most successful documentaries and wildlife feature films of all time. Time will be allowed for audience Q&A.


Vanessa Berlowitz co-founded Wildstar Films in 2018 after 28 years of running teams and making award winning wildlife films and documentaries. She is currently an executive producer on a number of new series and is working on a film with Mark for Disneynature.

Vanessa spent the first 24 years of her career working at the BBC Natural History Unit and made over 15 films for 5 internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning, landmark series – Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Life of Mammals, Land of the Tiger and the Human Animal – as well as for major long-running strands and series such as The Natural World, Wildlife on One, Animal People and Postcards from the Country. The films she has worked on with her teams have been highly awarded by EMMY, BAFTA, RTS, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula International Wildlife Festival and Wildscreen. She is an EMMY-nominated writer and a BAFTA- and Grierson- nominated director.

She won a Primetime EMMY as the series producer of Frozen Planet and then went on to become a lead executive producer for the BBC, developing and winning Great Bear Stakeout, Life in the Air and Planet Earth 2.

After Vanessa left the BBC, she worked as a consulting executive producer with Nutopia and helped develop the series vision for One Strange Rock. She then teamed up with her husband, Mark Linfield, who she met at Oxford University when studying for her MA in Biology and Anthropology. They moved with their son to Botswana to live in the bush for 2 years while making a film for Disneynature

Mark Linfield co-founded Wildstar Films in 2018 after nearly 30 years of directing and producing award winning wildlife films. He is currently on the senior creative team for several series at Wildstar and directing two new films for Disneynature.

After receiving an MA in Biology from the University of Oxford, Mark began his career fronting a documentary about gorillas in the Congo. After several years with the BBC, Mark joined an independent production company, Green Umbrella where he produced and directed many award-winning films for The Natural World and Wildlife on One including The Temple Troop, Gelada Baboons – The Battles of Braveheart, Orangutans – The High Society and Capuchins – The Monkey Puzzle.

Mark returned to the BBC in 2000 to produce and direct on the BAFTA-nominated Life of Mammals, on which he travelled the world with Sir David Attenborough filming the weird and the wonderful. Mark went on to direct two episodes of the hit TV series Planet Earth, winning a Primetime EMMY for the opening show Pole to Pole. Mark followed this as producer/director and series writer for Frozen Planet.

Mark directed the theatric wildlife movie Earth which remains one of the most successful wildlife feature films of all time. For Disneynature he has directed Chimpanzee, Monkey Kingdom and co-directed Penguin. He has two more Disneynature films in production.

This event is supported by the ScreenSkills Television Skills Fund which invests in training for the freelance television workforce thanks to contributions from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

It is part of a ScreenSkills programme managed by the Indie Training Fund to support freelancers to upskill and stay connected, helping keep the industry resilient in these difficult times.

This session will take place online via Zoom. Click ‘get ticket’ to reserve your place: you must login or register before you are able to get a ticket for this event. A booking confirmation with a joining link to the session will be sent to you via email.

If you are no longer able to use your ticket, we ask you to please contact support@screenskills.com so that we can release your place. Our sessions are often oversubscribed, so we’d like to give other freelancers the opportunity to fill available spots. Thank you for your consideration.