Where is Saint Helena ?
Surging up from the oceans depths in the middle of the South Atlantic lies an island, independent of any continent, that offers a window into the past riches of our planet.
Nearly 2000km away from the nearest landmass, this tiny volcanic island is considered to be one of the most remote places on earth. It has played a pivitol role in European history, has been host to several of Europe's most promenant historical figures and is best known as the last home of Napoleon Bonaparte.
However Saint Helena is unique not only in its history and extreme isolation, but also in its diverse flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth. This otherworldly drop of land in our planets vast ocean is home to a multitude of micro-ecosystems from subtropical forest, to exposed desert-like plains, to rich marine sanctuaries; each with its own key, and often unusual endemic species.
Why Saint Helena ?
Once teeming with exotic creatures, since the islands discovery in the early 16th century its indigenous residents have become victims to the long drawnout decline associated with the introduction of less specialised and highly adaptable alien species. The central role of the island in the European Empire’s web of expansion meant that it was many centuries before the colonial powers were willing to loosen their grip, and by then the island was almost unrecognisable from the paradise the first Portuguese had described it to be.
However, today the story of Saint Helenas wildlife is one of hope. Despite its losses Saint Helena is still home to more than 500 endemic species found nowhere else in the world, making it per hectare more biodiverse than the Galapagos. Its nutrient rich seas are filled with silver clouds of endemic butterfly fish and dolphins that play amongst the waves; giant whale sharks gather in unprecidented numbers to scoop up vast blooms of plankton whilst seabirds fill the skies squabbling over their catch. On land there are daisies that have evolved into trees and forests that are perpetually shouded in cloud, whilst below their branches one of the worlds rarest insects, a fluorescent yellow woodlouse, sheperds its young along the fronds of an endangered fern.
Saint Helena is an unsung gem of the natural world and - understanding the profound importance of their islands natural history - the people of Saint Helena have come together to help save and safeguard the island; bringing species back from the brink of extinction, rediscovering lost species, and designating vast swathes of land and ocean as vital reserves. The remarkable efforts and dedication of the Saints have resulted in their achieving what many would have deemed impossible, and should stand as an example to us all as to what can be accomplished when we work together.
Why make a film ?
The story of Saint Helena is threaded throughout occidental history. Since its discovery at the beginning of the 16th century traces of the influence of this humble island can be found in many major historic events. It has been host, willingly or not, to some of Europes most remarkable characters from Fernão Lopes to Napoleon Bonaparte, from Charles Darwin to Jacques Cousteau. It is even believed to have been the inspiration for one of Shakespeare’s last, and perhaps his most unusual play, The Tempest, which speaks on the themes of colonisation, and the relationship between man and nature.
Through this documentary we will re-explore the relationship between man and nature on the island from the perspective of its often forgotten non-human inhabitants. By looking at key research and conservation projects, and highlighting some of the islands most unusual and iconic species, we will show how intrigue and joy can be found in sharing our planet not only with large charismatic species, but also creatures who are no bigger than a grain of rice, and plants that have been alive since before Napoleon was born.
The holistic and cooperative approach of the Saints to the preservation of Saint Helena’s wildlife, and their pride in their endemic species, is the foundation for the islands conservation success. We believe that their efforts should be championed, and through this documentary we will strive to inspire hope and determination in others to follow in the example of this bastion for biodiversity.
Want to be a part of this adventure ?
Saint Helena: A Bastion of Biodiversity is an independent production that aims to spread the message of environmental conservation through cooperation and collaboration. The filming for this documentary took place over six weeks at the beginning of 2020 and we are now in the post-production stage. Through championing the conservation work that is being done on Saint Helena as a blueprint for others around the world and highlighting some of its increadible species, this documentary offers a unique opportunity to show not only what happens when conservation is successful but also how it becomes successful.
To aid us in the continuing creation of this documentary we are looking for sponsors that share our values and our will to act for the environment. Whether you represent a corporation or you are an individual you can be part of this adventure from start to finish, sharing in the excitement and discovery as we film some of the planets rarest inhabitants.
If you wish to be a part of this adventure and help us spread its message please click on one of the links below: