Archives For Japan Wildlife Film Festival

17-year-old student, Natasha Bishop—winner of the 2012 DOC Big Picture Award in The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challengetells us about her big win at the prestigious Japan Wildlife Film Festival on Sunday.  

It was unexpected enough being nominated for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival (JWFF). It was even more unexpected to have received not just one, but TWO awards!

I was given the Best Animation award, as well as the Newcomer award for being an inexperienced filmmaker.

I’m incredibly happy, however I’m also very sad that the film festival is over. During my time here I have been able to meet amazing people, experience traditional and modern Japanese culture, and watch inspiring and beautiful films from around the world. I’ll be bringing home not only my awards, but also a new enlightenment that I’ve been incredibly privileged to experience at my age.

Natasha in Japan.

Experiencing Japan

The Grand Award of the festival was awarded to Grant Muir, a Wairarapa resident. He is the star of the film River Dog, the one other New Zealand film to be nominated for JWFF.

Grant Muir and Natasha Bishop at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival.

Grant Muir and Natasha Bishop at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival

During the festival I ran three seminars. I talked about my own personal background, my involvement with the environment, as well as digital media. David Jacobs and I also talked about New Zealand’s connection with nature, DOC, and The Outlook for Someday.

The organisers of JWFF have been immensely supportive of me during my stay in Japan, and I’d like to thank them for their hospitality and kindness. David Jacobs, who accompanied me, and the rest of Connected Media have also been really vital in making this happen. I’ve been able to make connections with some wonderful filmmakers and environmentalists, which I intend to strengthen!

Left: Kohta Asamidori, the lovely Public Relations Manager for JWFF. Right: Natasha with Hiroe Makiyama, upper house member of the National Diet  of Japan.

Left: Kohta Asamidori, the lovely Public Relations Manager for JWFF
Right: Natasha with Hiroe Makiyama, upper house member of the National Diet of Japan

I’m flying home soon and I will definitely miss Japan! Since it’s the school term right now, I can’t stay very long. But being here has inspired me to learn Japanese, so that I can come back someday and see more of the sights. It’s also inspired me to pursue a career in film and sustainability.

Among the people I’d like to acknowledge is Air New Zealand for sponsoring my flight, we visited their office in Tokyo and gave them a personal thank you. Also to the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo, the staff there were lovely! And of course, thanks to the Department of Conservation for supporting me from the very beginning. Receiving this JWFF award is the biggest up on the figurative roller coaster that I’ve been on!

Related links

Natasha Bishop, winner of last year’s Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge, and David Jacobs, from The Outlook for Someday, tell us about Arboraceous, the power of storytelling, and the latest exciting development that sees them heading to Japan next month.

David and Natasha at last year's Someday Awards.

David and Natasha at last year’s Someday Awards


Arboraceous winning the DOC Big Picture Award and being chosen as The Body Shop Standout Winner in The Outlook for Someday last year came as a genuine surprise for me! It was great receiving a lot of positive feedback on my animation, and getting the honour of presenting it at DOC’s end-of-year event at their head office.

Making Arboraceous was an opportunity to send a clear message about sustainability through storytelling, which is what The Outlook for Someday film challenge is all about.

Screen shot from the film Arboraceous. Shows man sitting under an apple tree.

Arboraceous: Sustainability through storytelling


Yes that’s exactly what The Outlook for Someday is about. People have always told stories about what’s going on for them – it’s a fundamental part of what it is to be human. These days we don’t tell our stories with pictures on stone cave walls – we have moving images and sound and a global cave wall called the Internet. And what’s going on for us more than anything these days is the question of how we can sustain ourselves and our planet.

So with The Outlook for Someday we aim to help grow a generation of sustainability storytellers. That’s Natasha’s generation – and films like Arboraceous make my job very satisfying. With the film she conveys a profound truth with sweet simplicity.


The moral of Arboraceous is about renewing what we already have on our earth, instead of going off and trying to find a new planet. In making the film I set myself clear boundaries – I wanted to tell an in-depth story without using dialogue or text. So I told my story using colour, expression and symbols.

Illustration of rocket taking off.

There’s only one planet Earth


And in a simple, compelling way the film gets across the absolute key to sustainability as I see it. That we are all connected – to nature and to each other.

Illustration showing a round earth with houses and people around its circumference.

We are all connected – to nature and to each other


I guess that’s why the Department of Conservation has been really supportive and enthusiastic about my animation from the start.

And since The Outlook for Someday win, Arboraceous has been nominated for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival in August this year. As the youngest film-maker to have a film nominated in the JWFF’s 20 years of running, this is a big experience for me! I’m really thankful for all of DOC’s support, and to Air New Zealand for sponsoring my flight to Japan.


Yes big partnery thanks DOC and also to Air New Zealand for Natasha’s flight. I’m really proud of what Natasha has achieved. And I’m excited to be going to Japan to support her and to represent New Zealand as a nation with an emerging generation of young people who tell stunning sustainability stories.

Watch Arboraceous

Arboraceous from The Outlook for Someday on Vimeo.

Follow the journey to Japan on Twitter:

– The Outlook for Someday @tofsfilm

– Natasha Bishop @Maki_Tak

– #Arboraceous

The Department of Conservation is a partner of The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people and also sponsors the Big Picture Award. Read about past winners and learn how to enter the 2013 challenge on the DOC website. The 2013 entry deadline is 13 September.