MWF 31: Sophie Darlington - Wildlife Cinematographer & BAFTA Winner

Sophie shares her journey into wildlife filmmaking, the importance of a strong message in her films and diversity in the future of the industry.


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In 1986, curiosity aroused by Peter Matthiessen’s ‘The Tree Where Man Was Born’, Sophie Darlington arrived at ‘Gibb’s Farm Safari Lodge‘ in Tanzania. Whilst there she ran into Hugh Miles and Keith Scholey, two of the BBC Natural History Unit’s finest who inspired her to become a wildlife filmmaker. 

In 1990, Sophie was introduced to legendary wildlife filmmaker, Baron Hugo van Lawick, who was, as luck would have it, in need of a camp manager/sound recordist. It turned out he required a new camera operator too, so Sophie studied cinematography for several years under his watchful eye in the Serengeti National Park.

Since 1991, Sophie has worked as a filmmaker and cinematographer specialising in natural history in remote locations throughout the world from 78 degrees South to 78 degrees North with a lot of Africa in between.

Her impressive list of credits includes BBC’s Perfect Planet, Seven Worlds, Dynasties, Netflix’s Our Planet as well as National Geographic’s Earth Live. Sophie was part of the core team that won the BAFTA for Cinematography in 2016 for BBC’s The Hunt and was accepted as a BAFTA member in 2018.

In the future, Sophie would like to spend more time promoting the role of camerawomen in wildlife filmmaking as well as teaming up with young creatives with an expertise in technology to explore new techniques and alternative avenues for natural history content.


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