Jacky Poon, producer-cinematographer of “Pandas: Born to be Wild” Talking Animals

    • Society & Culture

Jacky Poon—filmmaker-producer-cinematographer of “Pandas: Born to be Wild,” a new documentary in PBS’ “Nature”—recounts that he did not have a particular passion for animals or wildlife while growing up in China, but those interests were spurred after he moved to the UK at 12 years old. Subsequently, Poon says, he additionally gravitated toward cameras, enrolling in a two-year photography course, and wound up in a program with a natural history focus. He points out that there were people who sought to dissuade him from heading in that academic direction, suggesting it would be an impractical field, tough to make a living, etc. But Poon says he recognized this was his passion, and that he had to pursue it or potentially be haunted by regrets. Turns out he was right–more than a little professionally prescient: He’s 32, and already his CV includes work on films for such first-tier television outlets as PBS, BBC, multiple National Geographic channels, and among those was part of a series headlined and narrated by a towering figure in the world of wildlife films: Sir David Attenborough. Addressing “Pandas: Born to be Wild,” Poon describes some of the unique challenges of shooting the film, including how solitary wild pandas tend to be…and, not unrelated, how unpredictable their movements can be, noting that for every 10 outings planned to see or film pandas, they’d actually spot the animals maybe twice…how dense the forested areas are in and around the Qinling Mountains, where much of the filming was centered. Shooting of “Pandas” spanned three years, and outlines some of the surprises he and his colleagues experienced, part of illustrating the sharp contrast that there turns out to be between “cute and cuddly” captive pandas and their wild counterparts. He also discusses a key storyline of the film: a cub born in captivity undergoing training to become a panda that, once released, could live in the wild. (Photos: Jacky Poon) (https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/, https://www.instagram.com/pbsnature/, http://www.jackypoon.org, https://www.instagram.com/wildlifechinaman/)
 
 

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Maria Matlack, Marketing & P.R. Manager at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, about its inaugural “Wagoween” extravaganza, to be held Saturday, Oct. 24. Matlack outlines some of the activities on tap for the day, including decorating pumpkins, enjoying grilled food and snacks, and—perhaps the centerpiece of “Wagoween”—costume contests for kids and for dogs. Categories for the dog contest include Best Costume and Best Trick. (https://humanesocietytampa.org/event/wagoween/)
COMEDY CORNER:  Matt Braunger’s “Panda Butler” (https://www.mattbraunger.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Loudon Wainwright’s “Dead Skunk”
AUDIO ARCHIVE:
Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/TalkingAnimalsOctFinal.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

Jacky Poon—filmmaker-producer-cinematographer of “Pandas: Born to be Wild,” a new documentary in PBS’ “Nature”—recounts that he did not have a particular passion for animals or wildlife while growing up in China, but those interests were spurred after he moved to the UK at 12 years old. Subsequently, Poon says, he additionally gravitated toward cameras, enrolling in a two-year photography course, and wound up in a program with a natural history focus. He points out that there were people who sought to dissuade him from heading in that academic direction, suggesting it would be an impractical field, tough to make a living, etc. But Poon says he recognized this was his passion, and that he had to pursue it or potentially be haunted by regrets. Turns out he was right–more than a little professionally prescient: He’s 32, and already his CV includes work on films for such first-tier television outlets as PBS, BBC, multiple National Geographic channels, and among those was part of a series headlined and narrated by a towering figure in the world of wildlife films: Sir David Attenborough. Addressing “Pandas: Born to be Wild,” Poon describes some of the unique challenges of shooting the film, including how solitary wild pandas tend to be…and, not unrelated, how unpredictable their movements can be, noting that for every 10 outings planned to see or film pandas, they’d actually spot the animals maybe twice…how dense the forested areas are in and around the Qinling Mountains, where much of the filming was centered. Shooting of “Pandas” spanned three years, and outlines some of the surprises he and his colleagues experienced, part of illustrating the sharp contrast that there turns out to be between “cute and cuddly” captive pandas and their wild counterparts. He also discusses a key storyline of the film: a cub born in captivity undergoing training to become a panda that, once released, could live in the wild. (Photos: Jacky Poon) (https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/, https://www.instagram.com/pbsnature/, http://www.jackypoon.org, https://www.instagram.com/wildlifechinaman/)
 
 

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Maria Matlack, Marketing & P.R. Manager at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, about its inaugural “Wagoween” extravaganza, to be held Saturday, Oct. 24. Matlack outlines some of the activities on tap for the day, including decorating pumpkins, enjoying grilled food and snacks, and—perhaps the centerpiece of “Wagoween”—costume contests for kids and for dogs. Categories for the dog contest include Best Costume and Best Trick. (https://humanesocietytampa.org/event/wagoween/)
COMEDY CORNER:  Matt Braunger’s “Panda Butler” (https://www.mattbraunger.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Loudon Wainwright’s “Dead Skunk”
AUDIO ARCHIVE:
Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/TalkingAnimalsOctFinal.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

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