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Take a walk on the wild side

PUBLISHED: 17:30 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:30 09 October 2019

Wilderland is a new film festival taking place at The Enterprise Centre, UEA showcasing nine films which vary in style and direction

Wilderland is a new film festival taking place at The Enterprise Centre, UEA showcasing nine films which vary in style and direction

Archant

As our fascination with nature documentaries grows and we all strive to be a little more eco-friendly, it would be easy to think that we're pretty clued up about the natural world.

Norfolk-based Joe Harkness will be giving a talk about the therapeutic benefits of birdwatching for mental healthNorfolk-based Joe Harkness will be giving a talk about the therapeutic benefits of birdwatching for mental health

But Norwich Science Festival 2019 is aiming to bring us even closer with hands-on demonstrations, workshops, talks, film screenings and more to help us get back to nature in ways we've never seen before.

The events inspired by zoology, nature and the environment kick off with Wilderland, a new film festival taking place at The Enterprise Centre, UEA, on Sunday, October 20. Curated by zoologists Dan O'Neill and Isaac Rice, along with a panel of experts including Doug Allan from BBC One's Blue Planet, it will showcase nine independent films all centred on the subject of conservation.

"We're really honoured to be part of Norwich Science Festival," say Dan and Isaac, "because it's so full of events that the public wouldn't usually see - just like Wilderland."

The nine films featured in the festival vary in style and direction and follow everything from a young cuttlefish as she finds a new home to snow leopards, curlews and a group of people caring for chimpanzees rescued from a science lab.

The Sharks on Screen debate will look at the potential impact Hollywood horror has had on the speciesThe Sharks on Screen debate will look at the potential impact Hollywood horror has had on the species

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"There's actually a lot of hope in the films," say Dan and Isaac. "We want to help people to make a difference and by buying a ticket, people can actively support the first publicly funded conservation film. At the event, you can vote for one of five endangered species - some you may never have heard of, who don't usually get the front seat - and then we'll go out and make a film about it."

Among the events taking place on zoology day on Monday, October 21 is a live animal dissection. Prof Ben Garrod (UEA) and Prof John Hutchison (Royal Veterinary College) will explore the inner workings of an ostrich in a free drop-in event outside The Forum from 10am-4pm.

Prof Ben Garrod will also head to Norwich Theatre Royal from 2-3pm to take part in Sharks on Screen - a must-see for fans of Jaws, Sharknado and The Meg - as science writer Jules Howard, science communicator Hana Ayoob and shark scientist Guuske Tiktak (Manchester University) take part in a light-hearted, lively debate about the potential impact Hollywood horror has had on the species.

"At present, one quarter of all known sharks and ray species are threatened by extinction and more than 20 species are listed as critically endangered," says Jules. "One estimate has it that humans kill as many as 100 million sharks a year.

"Is Hollywood partly to blame or could these films inspire a new generation of shark scientists eager to save sharks from apparent extinction? These are some of the big questions we want to get our teeth into - sorry! - and we'd love to see as many people join in the discussion."

Find out more at www.norwichsciencefestival.co.uk

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