Rising Star - Ben Wallis

I have been at Brian Leith Productions since 2012 and many adventures have been had. I have filmed under the arctic ice with Inuit mussel gatherers, have sailed through the north west passage in search of orcas and have filmed snow leopards on the largest and highest plateau on earth in China. I have come far too close to a moose, had a polar bear trying to climb onto our boat and have been higher than anyone in a helicopter over the remote mountains of China.

It’s been a brilliant, inspiring, funny journey and there are more adventures ahead! Brian and Mandy Leith have allowed me to grow as a programme maker and have offered endless opportunities and support with every project. It’s a fabulous place to work.

Brian Leith Productions - Brian Leith Productions was set up in 2006 and is based on Whiteladies Road, Bristol, UK. Brian has won numerous awards over the years as Producer / Executive Producer of programmes and series for a variety of broadcasters.

"We would like to nominate Ben Wallis one of our producer directors Ben directed our film Ghost of the Mountains a film about filming snow leopards for our Disneynature movie Born in China. It is nominated in the Man and Nature category at Jackson and we are very proud of the film and of all the great work Ben as done at BLP over the last five years."
Brian Leith, Executive Producer BLP

We asked our Rising Star a few key questions:

What was your childhood ambition?

I was born in Africa and my parents moved back to South Africa for work when I was young. Apart from a brief moment of wanting to be an airline pilot, I have only ever remembered wanting to make wildlife films to help people fall in love with - and then hopefully care enough - to make strides to protect our natural world.

How did you get your first break in the business?

I finished university at Bristol and then immediately did all I could to try and get a television job in Bristol. This was back in the days of writing letters and sending faxes! I managed to get in front of Andrew Jackson - who in those days ran Tigress Productions. He just so happened to be making a major series on Africa for National Geographic. He asked me if I knew how to fix a 4x4 which I did. I started the next day and was at Tigress for almost a decade! I owe a lot to Andrew Jackson and those at Tigress during that time. By the time I left Tigress I was a Producer/Director.

What’s a good bit of advice you’d like to share?

Only worry about the things you can control!

Do you have a film nominated at Jackson? If so, was there a personal highlight of working on it?

Brian Leith Productions have two films nominated at Jackson; Disneynature’s “Born In China” and Disneynature’s “Ghost of the Mountains” for Disney and Netflix. I was one of the main field directors on Born in China and was the Writer and Director on “Ghost of the Mountains.”

I am very proud of the work the BLP and China team did in China. I worked in two locations where we were the first international film crew to ever get there. Not only did we film a number of firsts – that was a great achievement in itself - but we also undertook some incredible ground breaking expeditions into very remote locations.

What are you working on now?

I am just completing a second film with Disneynature for Netflix (a follow on from “Ghost Of The Mountains”) about the adventures we had whilst filming “Born In China”. We are now in pre-production of a new wildlife series for Nat Geo Wild.