Rising Star - Ilaira Mallalieu

I joined Silverback in January of 2013 as a researcher on The Hunt, working mainly across the opening episode & the forests episode. Since finishing on The Hunt I’ve been working on the Netflix Our Planet series.

Silverback Films - specializes in the production of high quality wildlife films for both television and the cinema. Formed in 2012 by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, the company brings together a world class team of wildlife film makers to create the highest quality natural history films. Silverback Films now includes the following productions.

"Ilaira was one of the principal researchers on The Hunt. Her key role was to find a raft of fresh stories for this 7 part series – never an easy job, and even more difficult on subject matter (predators) that have been well filmed in numerous natural history films. However, Ilaira delivered ‘fresh’ – for example in winkling out the amazing Darwin bark spider story that had never been filmed before – and provided her producers with a steady flow of well researched – and realistic - stories for their consideration. She is calm under pressure, easy going and up for any filming challenge, whether that is bad tempered (and supposedly habituated) honey badgers, swarming army ants or dealing with the very basic amenities of remote locations, like Nagaland. She and the cameraman were the first British visitors to this corner of India in 100 years – and the trip resulted in the first broadcast shots of the largest flocks of birds of prey on the planet. Ilaira also co-ordinated and oversaw most of The Hunt’s non-broadcast making of material."
Huw Cordey, SP The Hunt Silveback Films

We asked our Rising Star a few key questions:

What is your childhood ambition?

As a child I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether I wanted to become a pro skydiver, an elephant keeper at London Zoo, or some exciting combination of the two. I did actually do a skydive for my 16th birthday, but sadly that was the sole highpoint of that career. A family holiday to Costa Rica aged 13 made me realise how much more fun it would be to spend time with wildlife in the wild, rather than in zoos & from then on, I was pretty set on working in wildlife filmmaking.

How did you get your first break in the business?

I met Mark Linfield & Vanessa Berlowitz by chance in India, when I was aged 16, & they very kindly (possibly foolishly) gave me their email addresses & said to get in touch if I needed any advice / help. I very much took them up on that offer & over the years following that probably mildly harassed them (sorry). They did give me lots of good advice though, for which I am very grateful. I got the job on The Hunt after seeing it advertised on the NHN twitter feed & after a couple of slightly terrifying interviews got it, and moved to Bristol from London.

Tell us a work related anecdote.

Lots of funny things seem to happen on shoots (mainly because I think if you didn’t laugh, then sometimes you’d actually just cry), so it’s quite hard to pick one. But, spending several nights in various very tiny wooden hides on the banks of the Platte River with Sophie Darlington provided much laughter. One of the oddest was the one we had to share (due to some slight logistical mix ups) with a man named Rusty, who snored unbelievably loudly, spent quite a long time telling us about UFO sightings on the river & then knighted us with a fold-up stool as ‘Knights of Nebraska’.

What part of the job or business do you relish the least?

Other than obviously time away from friends and life back here, travelling with a shed-load of batteries has to be one of my least favourite parts of the job. Also, expenses.

Something that would surprise us.

I sometimes drive a large transit van around Easton & Fishponds which provides food, hot drinks, clothes, condoms & sterile needles to the street sex workers of Bristol. (This is with a great charity called One25, not just me creepily driving round in a van).

Link here, if anyone wants to find out more/donate anything http://one25.org.uk/about-us/why-one25-are-needed-by-women-in-bristol/

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