New nature documentary explores the diversity and fragility of Texas wildlife.
New nature documentary explores the diversity and fragility of Texas wildlife
Ben Masters in South Texas, filming Deep in the Heart Ben Masters knows his way around the animals of Texas.Email article Cellphone footage of police and a suspect being arrested after a police officer was shot and injured in West New York, New Jersey.New York City public school classrooms.June 4, 2022, 4:02 AM UTC By Liz Calvario It might be Anderson Cooper’s birthday, but his sons stole the show.
A graduate in wildlife biology from Texas A&M, he's made a quintet of short films about species as diverse as pronghorns and mountain lions.But his new film, Deep in the Heart , was not just a leap in scale for him: It's unprecedented, the first-ever documentary looking at habitats and their inhabitants, statewide.Officers were reportedly responding to a domestic violence incident at a home on 59th Street.He first thought of the idea of a Planet Earth -style documentary about Texas five years ago when he was wrapping on his border documentary, The River and the Wall.The measure would be phased in over five years."I was kind of surprised nobody had done it in the past," said Masters.Two officers returned fire, striking the suspect.However, after four years of filming in every wild place imaginable in the Lone Star State, Masters pondered,"If I knew then what I know now, I'm not certain I would have done it.I feel so blissfully happy and lucky to have these two sweet, funny, little boys in my life,” the journalist captioned his post.
" For starters, animals don't read call sheets,"and a lot of the shoots we went on were extremely risky.He has been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.Maybe it was luck, maybe it was the animals wanting their stories to be told, I don't know, but we got really lucky." There was also a lot of hard work, and a lot of assistance,"from research organizations, biologists, scientists, landowners … We'd reach out to our network that we'd been working with for years and ask them, 'How do you shoot ocelots?'" Most nature documentaries of this scale are episodic and designed for television, but he wanted to make Deep in the Heart a theatrical experience, and so sought to make a feature"where nature is the main character.Advertisement This is a developing story." That meant creating a narrative centered around a menagerie of Texas wildlife.First, the selection would represent the whole state, from the Panhandle to the Gulf, the heights of Big Bend to the subterranean depths of the Edwards Aquifer; secondly, each animal would represent something larger about themselves.BREAKING NEWS.“He mostly just sleeps and eats, and he certainly poops, but he already seems like a wise and thoughtful little chap.
Take the state's living fossil, the gigantic alligator gar:"It has this amazing strategy of reproduction where they just wait in the river until conditions are perfect to spawn, which coincide with floods.… That's been working for gar for 70 million years, it's related to the health of Texas rivers [and] we've altered that with all of the dams and our water use." “Maybe it was the animals wanting their stories to be told, I don’t know, but we got really lucky.” – Ben Masters The end result is a uniquely cinematic experience that immerses the audience in the Bracken Cave Preserve as 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats take flight, as well as footage of of some of Texas' rarest species.Masters said,"I was told early on, by someone who studies ocelots, that we'd never get footage of one in the daytime.
" After several months, they put together the first high-quality footage of an ocelot ever captured in the USA, including six hours in daylight and the endangered predator with her kittens.He also hunted down a truly unique part of the Texas biome: Matthew McConaughey.Getting the iconic Texas actor to narrate was"shockingly easy," according to Masters.He simply reached out to his agent, made the pitch, and got a simple response:"Matthew loves Texas, Matthew loves wildlife." The filmmaker sent over a rough cut, and McConaughey signed on the next day.
"That was the moment I went, 'We may have something special here.'" Of course, four years of climbing, clambering, crouching, and swimming with cameras meant a lot of unused footage.Masters said,"We filmed a sequence of a bobcat with some kittens, and we also filmed a really beautiful sandhill crane courtship dancing display … I'm glad that we left them out, because they don't fit the storyline that we laid out, but I'll hopefully find a use for them somewhere down the line." A version of this article appeared in print on June 3, 2022 with the headline: New Nature Documentary Explores the Diversity of Texas Wildlife A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene.Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press.
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