Towards the conservation of Ladakh
Gautam, is one of India’s accomplished animal filmmakers and studied film in Canada. He has won several national and international awards for his films including the national award. However, for the past five years, Ladakh for Gautam has been no less than a second home.
Just before the Covid-19 outbreak last year, Gautam completed a three-part “Into the Himalayas” film series, which focuses on multidimensional aspects of the Himalayas, including Ladakh.
Gautam says the films were shot on the insta360 Pro, a high-end stereoscopic 360 camera in 8K resolution.
“These films were made within the framework of the ‘Secure Himalaya Project’ with the support of Ladakh Wildlife Department for the United Nations Development Program and the Union Ministry of the Environment. We thank Sajid Akbar from the Ladakh Wildlife Department, who was a great help in making this project a success, ”Gautam said.
Gautam, who lives with a passion for wildlife, says that the yet-to-release 3-part series films shine a light on the people, ecology and wildlife of Ladakh.
“These films also deal with securing livelihoods in Ladakh. Not everyone, especially policy makers, visit Ladakh. With these films, we try to create empathy. The films will offer a virtual reality experience of Ladakh and will not only highlight the scenic beauty and wildlife, but also some harsh realities such as the solid waste issues in this region, ”Gautam said.
Coming from a family of nature lovers, Gautam’s passion for cinema began at a young age and he now focuses on using film as a means of raising awareness of wildlife and combining film genres. natural history and conservation.
Two of his films have been shown on Animal Planet and Discovery, Gyamo – Queen of the Mountains and Looking for Sultan. Both films have won international awards and recognized for their conservation message.
Gautam has experimented with the technology and over the past two years has experimented with 360 cinematic virtual reality technology to create immersive experiences for telling stories and conveying curatorial messages to new audiences. In Ladakh, he managed to film wild snow leopards in 360 VR, a first in the world of animal cinema.
360 degree videos, also known as “immersive videos or spherical videos”, are video recordings where a view in all directions is recorded at the same time, filmed using an omnidirectional camera or a set of cameras. .
The award-winning film “Gyamo-Queen of The Mountains”, critically acclaimed, produced by Riverbank Studios in 2017 in association with Discovery Communications India was the first project filmed in Ladakh involving Gautam. The film is about Gyamo, a snow leopard found in Ladakh and his two cubs, who have not been seen since the appearance of a large male snow leopard, Gautam says.
The father-son duo of animal filmmakers Mike Pandey and Gautam Pandey, while following the trail of this leopard, discovered that there are many challenges surrounding this endangered big feline.
“This film is aimed at nature enthusiasts, government authorities and tourists with the aim of making them more aware of the prevailing conditions and the need for urgent intervention to stop further damage to the local ecology” filmmaker Gautam told Kashmir Ink.
By highlighting the problems of the pristine region of Ladakh, Gautam, through his work, showed a pile of rubbish due to the presence of tourists in large numbers.
“A large number of tourists arrive in the Ladakh region every year and their numbers are only increasing. We don’t blame anyone. This is just the reality of the problem. In places like Ladakh where the terrain is difficult and the region remains isolated for most of the year due to extreme weather conditions, disposable plastic is not intended for this region, ”Gautam said.
The piling up of garbage in Ladakh also encourages the growth of the stray dog population, which poses a great threat to snow leopards. These dogs also mate with wolves which produce a menacing breed that attacks both humans and wildlife.
“Through our films, we hope to generate more awareness on this critical subject and hope for a swift intervention from the authorities,” said Gautam. Ladakh authorities are making efforts to manage solid waste. The important message is that plastic should be banned in environmentally sensitive areas like Ladakh. I hope that after seeing this part of the film there is a commitment not to throw a plastic bottle in such a beautiful place as Ladakh, “Gautam says. He says conservation-based issues are usually ignored. because most of the spotlight is on the scenic beauty of spa resorts and other eco-sensitive places.
Gautam says the government should promote conservation awareness films, especially those based on 360 VR technology. “The government and other relevant agencies must help distribute these films. The need of the hour is that the viewing of films based on this technology is supported ”, explains Gautam.
Some of Gautam’s recent projects include the filming and camera trapping of brown bears. He filmed and made videos based on 360 technology in the Jabarkhet nature reserve in Mussorie.
Gautam has also served as Director of Photography for various projects, including an ongoing project, a 6-part series about the jungles of India, which will be released on the Discovery Channel. He was also director of photography for “Wild Cats of India, 2018, Felis Creation – Nat GeoWild”, a 3 part series about big and small cats of India, broadcast on NGC wild and Hot Star. In the Himachal Pradesh series from 2013 to 2015 for the Himachal Forest Department, Gautam was the main cameraman and participated in the time-lapse shots and drone work on all 4 films. He filmed and trapped the Western Tragopan, a rare pheasant that had never been filmed before in India.
The films covered both the culture and biodiversity of the mountain herdsmen, the high lakes and the Pong Dam in Himachal.
Gautam is a graduate in Advanced Film and Television and majored in Directing, Camera and Lighting from Sheridan College Institute of Advanced Learning, Canada. He also runs film workshops to share and help build a community of filmmakers who want to tell stories that need to be told. A synopsis of Gautam’s work can be found on his Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/riverbankstudios/? Hl = fr