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Icon Films’ EP Stephen McQuillan To Lead Company’s Development

Icon Films has expanded Exec Producer  Stephen McQuillan role to encompass Head of Development. His strong journalistic and broad factual background will allow Icon Films to build on their reputation as Specialist Factual producers.

McQuillan joined Icon Films in 2013.  He will continue to EP and in his new role will head up the development team and spearhead the strategy to expand the company’s factual output.

Stephen said ‘It is an exciting challenge to lead the development team at Icon in a time when we are seeking growth in new areas.  I hope we can create new factual formats and continue to produce shows that we are all proud of.”

Harry Marshall, Creative Director of Icon Films, said ‘Stephen's appointment will allow us to expand into new areas. It's  fantastic to have his seasoned judgement and experience of the industry with a proven ability to not only deliver but also surprise and delight'.


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Animal Planet's #1 Series Returns April 5th 2015


Animal Planet’s best-performing series returns with the most daring RIVER MONSTERS expeditions to-date. Jeremy Wade, freshwater detective, biologist and extreme angler, is breaking the surface and diving into the lairs of aquatic beasts with six brand-new episodes of the seventh season of RIVER MONSTERS, premiering Sunday, April 5, at 9 PM (ET/PT).

In the RIVER MONSTERS season finale, Wade travels back in time to uncover the greatest river monster that ever lived in the ground-breaking special RIVER MONSTERS: PREHISTORIC TERROR, premiering in late May during Animal Planet’s fourth annual MONSTER WEEK. 

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Africa's Giant Killers wins Best Natural History at RTS WOE

Africa's Giant Killers Natural World filmed and directed by Brad Bestelink, Natural History Film Unit Botswana, has picked up the Best Natural History Award at the RTS West of England 2014/15 Awards.  

The judges said "the winning film engaged the viewer on a compelling emotional level, has stunning and outstanding footage that was beautifully edited -  beautiful and brutal in equal measure".

The Awards Ceremony was held at Bristol Old Vic on Sunday March 8th 2015 and hosted by Steve Backshall.

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Behind the Scenes of Africa's Fishing Leopards

Of all the large predators in the African bush, leopards are by far the most secretive. Just finding them is tricky; sticking with them, and filming the intimate details of their lives, is something that required luck, determination, and a great deal of time. But it was a challenge that my friend Richard Uren and I always felt privileged to be taking on.

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Life size seven foot Arapaima sculpture revealed

Bristolian artist Jamie Gillman’s latest commission has been revealed by Icon Films. The seven foot sculpture is a life size replica of the 250lb Arapaima that Jeremy Wade caught in 2013, for Season Six of River Monsters.

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Positioning yourselves alongside the super-indies: how can you stand out?


Positioning yourselves alongside the super-indies - how can you stand out? 

Icon Films' Commercial Director Lucy Middelboe joins Debbie Manners MD Keo Films, Helena Tait CEO Nutopia and Tom Brisley Co-creative Director Arrow Media at the BVE 2015 Expo to discuss fool-proof tools for planning and developing compelling stories, developing roadmaps for future projects and the importance of publicity and marketing and how much you should spend and where. 

The session will be charied by Tim Dams Editor Televisual and takes place Tuesday 24th Feb 2.30 - 3.15pm in the Producers Theatre


Groundbreaking Graffiti Panels of Bristol by Local Artist Unveiled by Mayor George Ferguson

Icon Films is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new series of groundbreaking graffiti panels of the city by local art student Sam Bristow.

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Oration for Honorary Graduands Laura and Harry Marshall

Doctors of Law
Thursday 12 February 2015 at 2.30pm  – Orator:  Professor Peter Coates

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor

The Potala Palace, Tibet. Chernobyl, Ukraine. The Zambezi River. The Yassuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador.  The Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. The Berkeley Estate, Gloucestershire. The old Biological Sciences building at this university. These are just some of the places, far and near, that feature in the productions of Icon Films.

Her Majesty The Queen. The Dalai Lama. Henry Kissinger. Iris Murdoch.
Rod Steiger. David Attenborough. Joanna Lumley. These are just a few of the people that Icon has filmed with.

King cobras. Tigers. Great white sharks. The Loch Ness Monster. The Yeti. The bones of the Buddha. Einstein’s Brain. Darwin’s diseases. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. These are just a handful of the subjects about which Icon has made films. Films that have landed Emmy, Grierson and Christ awards, as well as prizes at numerous film festivals. 

Icon is a leading light in the creative economy of Bristol, which houses the world’s greatest concentration of natural history filmmakers. And with us this afternoon are the creative director of Icon, Harry Marshall, and its managing director, Laura Marshall. Usually, on these occasions, there’s one honorary graduand. In view of this unusual award of degrees to a husband and wife, I’ve been granted some extra time. I’ll take them in alphabetical order, until their lives and careers combine. 

Photo Credit:  Ede and Ravenscroft 

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Laura and Harry Marshall to be awarded Honorary Degrees from the University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is recognising Icon Films' co founders,  Laura and Harry Marshall with a Doctor of Laws honorary degree which will be awarded at a ceremony on 12th February in the Wills Memorial Building.

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Declaration of Independents: Laura Marshall joins #Realscreen15 Panel

Consolidation in the unscripted content industry is at fever pitch, with multinational superindies merging, broadcasters buying stakes in prodcos, and prodcos themselves looking to form strategic alliances in the race for scale. But are there advantages in bucking the trend and staying truly indie, both for your production company, and for your potential clients? Hear from some of the top true indies who have chosen to declare their independence, as well as those who have gone the "strategic alliance" route. and also gain some insight into where the trend could be heading next.

Icon Films' Managing Director Laura Marshall joins Danny Fenton, CEO Zig Zag Productions, Johnny Gould, EVP Development & Original Proramming Pilgrim Studios, Deirdre Gurney, Co-Founder & EP Gurney Productions and Laura Palumbo Johnson, Partner Magilla Entertainment LLC 

The session will be moderated by Jenny Daly, President, T Gropu Productions 

Delclaration of Independents 
Thursday 29th January 2015 11.00am - 12.00pm
International Ballroom West Realscreen Summit 2015





Secrets of the Dead recounts the story of the Craven Street Bones

When the skeletal remains of an estimated 28 people were discovered in the basement of the one-time London residence of Benjamin Franklin, people speculated that the Founding Father might have had a much darker side.

What had taken place in this elegant Georgian town house located in the heart of London at 36 Craven Street? Who was responsible for this hideaway of bones? Had the work of a serial killer been unearthed?

Secrets of the Dead investigates the mystery of Ben Franklin’s Bones, airing nationally Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 10-11 pm ET on PBS 

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Our Friend in the West: Comment by Laura Marshall for Royal Television Society

While celebrating Bristol’s success as a creative hub, Laura wonders why some London commissioners treat her as a yokel

Icon Films is based in Bristol, and this febrile, effervescent hub out south west is a fine place to be an indie. It's a dichotomous city, considered conservative and prosperous (think tobacco, Ministry of Defence and banking), but with a long history of innovation and dissent (think Cabot, Brunel and Wesley).

Bristol is home to some of the most innovative companies and institutions in the land. Quantum physicists and playwrights mingle here, using the formal and informal networks that exist – and, through this restless connectivity and constant hubbub, comes great work.

Independence is valued and encouraged – indeed, our elected mayor is an independent – and we have a Bristol Independence Day to celebrate independent traders. We even have our own currency, the Bristol Pound. And this year, Bristol takes on the mantle of European Green Capital.

How does this spirit support the creative industries? While we may be the third-largest production centre in the UK (after Manchester), we can't ignore the fact that we are dwarfed by London and the commissioning power centred there. In Bristol, we know we have to punch above our weight.



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River Monsters Fish On! App Available Now!

River Monsters Fish On! - the essential digital logbook for anglers with exclusive content from hit TV series River Monsters - is available now! 

The simple to use Fish On! app will connect you instantly to a global community of anglers, allowing you to log, compare and compete for the biggest catch. Fish On! is free to download with subscription content coming soon.

With Fish On! you can:

  • Log your catch in seconds while on the river bank – app will automatically record your location, weather conditions and air pressure at time of catch
  • Upload your catch details at a later date (for those fishing in remote locations without internet coverage!)
  • See fellow anglers’ catches appear in the directory in real time
  • Search the catch directory by species, bait, location etc. – take tips from other anglers about what has worked best for them
  • See your total and average catch weights calculated automatically as your log builds
  • Upload your catch photos directly to Facebook
  • Access the River Monsters Catches profile


Click here to download the app for iPad and iPhone 



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River Monsters Fish On! App Launches 19th Dec 2014

River Monsters and Go-Fish partner-up to create angling app ‘River Monsters Fish On!’ launching on iOS 19th December 2014. 

River Monsters Fish On! is the essential tool for anglers and River Monsters fans of all ages, combining a simple, easy to use digital logbook, with exclusive River Monsters content and knowledge.

Building on the already established Go-Fish Angling app, River Monsters Fish On! offers a digital ‘logbook’ for anglers to record, rate and compare their catches, and introduces a fresh look and exclusive River Monsters content.  The app will be available worldwide excluding USA, from 19th December 2014

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Icon Films has desk space to let

Icon Films has desks to let in our newly renovated second floor space with stunning views across College Green.  Short to mid term available with a maximum of 12 months. 

Follow the 'Read More' link to view additional images and please contact Tracy Patfield for more information.
e. info@iconfilms.co.uk 
t. 0117 910 20 30

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Icon Films Bolsters Training with Creative Skillset Investment Fund

Bristol based factual producer Icon Films has been awarded funding from Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Funds, which help companies invest in the development of skills and talent in the UK creative industries.

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Icon Films is off to WCSFP 2014

Alex Brisland and Trevor Manning will be joining the delegation and look  forward to 4 packed days of sessions and meetings with the science and history factual media community 


Faking It - Harry Marshall joins the Grierson Debate


Authenticity is a huge issue for factual TV.  How can factual TV retain its integrity with the abundance of scripted television, hoax documentary and pr-controlled access docs?

Icon Films' Creative Director Harry Marshall joins Andrew Sheldon Creative Director True North, Simon Chinn Co-founder Lightbox / Founder Red box Films and Stephen Lambert Chairman All3Media America to discuss the truth in TV and explore the importance of keeping it real. 

The debate will be charied Lorraine Heggessey, Chair The Grierson Trust 

Friday 14th November 2014 14.00 - 15.00 
The Greirson Debate at the Televisual Factual Festival 
BAFTA 195 Piccadilly London  




Icon Films' Leopards 21st Century Cats picks up Wildscreen Panda for Best Editing

Rupert Troskie was awarded Best Editing for Leopards 21st Century Cats.  The film was writtenand directed by Steven Gooder and produced by Icon Films, for  BBC2’s Natural World. 

The ceremony was held at the Passenger Shed in Bristol, before a packed audience and presented by Patrick Aryee and Monty Halls 


Yasmin White's MA Film Project Wins Best Amateur Film @WCFF_org

Yasmin’s film, Paradise Island; back from the brink, which she made for her Masters in Wildlife Documentary Production with the University of Salford, has won an award for Best Amateur Film at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York. Yasmin is attending the festival from 13th to 17th October to retrieve her award and meet with film-makers and conservationists from all over the world, bringing back new and fresh ideas for Icon Films. 

But where did this passion for wildlife and filmmaking start?

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How do you crack the US Factual TV Market?



Taking the Plunge, Crossing the Pond ...

Icon Films' MD  Laura Marshall joins Roy Ackerman, MD Fresh One Productions, Sarah T Davies, VP Production and Development Factual DNI, Dimitri Doganis, Founder Raw TVMatt Robins, Creative Director October Films and Robert Sharenow, EVP & General Manager Lifetime at the inaugural Realscreen London to discuss the challenges and potential triumphs that exist within the U.S. factual and unscripted market, how to maximise your chances of cutting through the stiff competition and making your mark. 

The session is moderated by Debbie Manners, MD Keo Films and takes place Thursday 8th Ocober 9.30 - 10am in the Congress Hall 


Success: Merchant Venturer Laura Marshall talks to Bristol Post about Icon Films' Expansion

Laura Marshall runs one of the most successful independent TV productions in Bristol. Laura and her husband Harry are the driving force behind Icon Films and are fast becoming serious players in the national and international media scene.

And for a woman who describes herself as “slothful” Laura is a bundle of energy who is committed to putting something back into the community.

She is on the board of trustees at the Old Vic and is also a governor at the Merchants Academy.

And the mother-of-three is also one of the first women in the city to become a fully paid-up member of the Merchant Venturers.


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Rebecca McEwan is a Broadcast Hot shot ...

Our Business Affairs and Commercial Manager Rebecca McEwan (AKA @Bex7786) is officially a #Broadcast #Hotshot ... but we already new that.  Congrats to Becca 


Icon Films is off to GEITV

Harry Marshall, Creative Director and Laura Marshall, Managing Director will be joining 2000 + delegates at The Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival 2014 and look forward to a packed 3 days of inspiration, networking, learning and fun.  


To the ends of the Earth without a guide

‘Place our presenter at the heart of a tribe to learn ancient skills, before he embarks on a death-defying challenge in the bush / forest / wilderness / open ocean.’ A standard sort of a brief. Luckily, Hazen Audell is a tireless adventurer so the death-defying challenges were looking good. Finding suitable locations and tribes, however, would be a different matter.

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Icon Films is off to Sunny Side of the Doc 2014

Managing Director Laura Marshall and Commercial Director Lucy Middelboe are heading to La Rochelle to be part of the 2000 strong delegation from 23rd to 26th June at Sunny Side of the Doc 2014.

Bigfoot Files:  Expedition Special Bear has been selected as one of seven successful projects for the Science and Nature 2014 Pitching Session on Wednesday 25th June where Laura and Lucy will join 35 other creative teams from around the world pitching their latest projects in development. 


Icon Films Bolsters Growth With New Appointments

Icon Films has hired Stephen McQuillan and Jonathan Jackson to join their Senior Management Team as part of the strategy to grow the company. McQuillan has joined as Executive Producer to work across development and production, and Jackson has been appointed to the newly created role of Financial Director.

In addition Tom Cooper has been hired as Post Production Supervisor and will be managing the existing in-house off-line edit suites and digital strategy as well as overseeing the fit out of 6 new off-line suites that are part of the office expansion.

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Nat Geo Orders Survive the Tribe from Icon Films

National Geographic Channel announces Survive the Tribe, a six-part factual series exploring survival techniques of ancient tribes around the globe, produced by Icon Films.

The series tracks wilderness guide and suvival instructor Hazen Audel as he journeys to some of the world’s most inhospitable places, attempting survival skills that have kept tribal people alive against the odds for thousands of years.  

Locations being visited include the Kalahari Desert, Mongolia and Arctic Canada.

The series is scheduled to begin airing in the U.K. and the U.S. in July, and internationally later in the year.

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Animal Planet Renews River Monsters for 7th Season

Animal Planet’s best-performing series in network history for six consecutive seasons, RIVER MONSTERS, has been renewed for a seventh season.  

The announcement was made at the conclusion of the penultimate epidsode from S6 “Bone Crusher,” which kicked off the network’s third annual MONSTER WEEK and drove monster ratings  for the network. 

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Icon Films heads to China for landmark China-UK TV Summit

Icon Films’ Commercial Director Lucy Middelboe is joining representatives from twenty-two UK TV indies and Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, for a schedule of meetings, presentations and pitches with more than 100 Chinese leaders of Television and Broadcasting Stations, programme directors and production companies.  


Africa's Giant Killers - A Cameraman's Perspective

Brad Bestelink recounts some of the extraordinary scenes he witnessed filming Africa's Giant Killers for BBCTwo  Natural World 

Richard Uren and I spent two demanding (both physically and mentally) but immensely rewarding years filming in Savute, Botswana. Being able to immerse yourself fully in what was happening only happens in a few select places and only in very particular times.

This is the ultimate confrontation, where the biggest and strongest confront each other to play out the greatest battle found in the wilds of Africa. And when lions hunt elephants, it ignites an unusual sense of horror and desperation. We lived surrounded by these scenes of horror and desperation for so long that we became numb to it, just as we became immune to the smell of death that permeated everything. 

This aritcle first appeared in Broadcast 11th April 2014

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River Monsters' Sixth-Season Premiere Is The Most Watched Season Debut in Animal Planet History

Via Press Relase from Animal Planet 

 First-Ever Live Aftershow, RIVER MONSTERS: LIVE WITH JEREMY WADE, Hooks 1 Million Viewers and Doubled Social-media Numbers -

(New York, April 7, 2014) - RIVER MONSTERS, Animal Planet's best-performing series ever, debuted Sunday with the most-watched-season premiere and also ranked as the most-watched network season premiere among key demos (975K P18-49, 639K M18-49, 605K P18-34 and 595K M25-54). The two-hour opener, "Amazon Apocalypse," caught 1.7M P2+ viewers, 1.2M HH and 915K P25-54. 

Following the season premiere at 11 PM ET/PT, Animal Planet's first-ever live aftershow, RIVER MONSTERS: LIVE WITH JEREMY WADE, drew in a strong 1M P2+ viewers.

Fans also were hooked on RIVER MONSTERS online and across social platforms, as the season premiere saw an 85 percent increase in Twitter activity compared to last season's premiere. RIVER MONSTERS was among the top-five social shows in cable last night, excluding sports and special events, according to Nielsen's SocialGuide. RIVER MONSTERS: LIVE WITH JEREMY WADE continued on AnimalPlanet.com, which contributed to three times the amount of unique visitors/streams to the RIVER MONSTERS fansite when compared with last season's premiere.

In the sixth-season premiere, extreme angler Jeremy Wade took viewers along as he investigated the sinking of the Sobra Santos - one of the Amazon's largest maritime disasters - with as many as 200 passengers losing their lives to something mysterious in the waters.

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Icon Films heads to Cannes for MIPTV 2014

Laura Marshall, Managing Director, and Lucy Middelboe, Commercial Director, will be attending MIPTV from Monday 7th  to Thursday 10th April.  

They will be joining the  UK Indies Stand, number R8.D11 located in the Riviera 8 Lerins. 

To view a selection of projects from our slate register with the UK Indies website here  


Icon Films heads to USA to launch Season 6 of River Monsters

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Animal Planet Announce TX Dates for River Monsters Season 6

Extreme Angler Jeremy Wade travels to the Amazon to embark on his longest journey yet in New Season of 'River Monsters'

-- Animal Planet's #1 Series Returns with an all South American Adventure --

-- And in a Rate Encounter, Jeremy Tangles with a Freshwater Foe That Isn't a Fish! --

Animal Planet's best-performing series ever for five years is back, and freshwater detective, biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade is taking viewers along on the mysterious adventure of a lifetime.  Six brand-new episdoes of the sixth season of RIVER MONSTERS return on Sunday April 6 at 9pm (ET/PT) with a special two-hour long premiere called 'Amazon Apolcalypse'.  Re-told by witnesses and passengers who survived the sinking of the Sobra Santos, it's a horrid and poignant story of one of the Amazon's largest martitime disasters.  That night, as many as 200 passengers lost their lives, and something in the water is being blamed for many of the deaths.  Wade is hell bent on finding out what it was ... or is. 

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Icon Films scores 12 nominations at RTS West of England Awards

After weeks of intensive viewing and a day of enthusiastic debate, the experienced and distinguished judges have delivered their verdict in the fields of network television, on-screen talent, craft, digital media and regional television news for the RTS West Of England Awards

The BBC’s Natural History Unit leads the way with a total of 20 nominations for a wide range of programmes it has made and commissioned. Stand-out shows include Africa, Wild Arabia, Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero and The Natural World Series. 

Production company Icon Films has scored 12 nominations spanning categories from best specialist factual to best newcomer, for shows such as River Monsters, BigFoot Files and Hustling America. 

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Viewpoint: The Importance of Being Indie



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Icon Films is off to the Realscreen Summit 2014



Creative Director Harry Marshall, Managing Director Laura Marshall, Commercial Director Lucy Middelboe and Exec Producer Stephen McQuillan will be available at the UK Indies Stand  at the Realscreen Summit 2014. They're looking forward to a packed week of networking, meetings, sessions and snow, and of course drinks at the Ambassador's Residence and dinner with Nat Geo.

Harry is joining the distinguished panel of Geoff Daniels (EVP & General Manager, Nat Geo Wild), Mike Gunton (Creative Director, Factual and Natural History Unit, BBC), Andrew Jackson (EVP, Landmarks and Specials, Discovery Channel) and David Royal (EVP, Programming & Production, Smithsonian Networks), to discuss how networks are shaping the evolution of natural history content and how content producers are ‘going with the flow’.  Climate Change?  The State of Natural History is being moderated by Carl Hall (Managing Director, Warehouse 51 Productions) and takes place on Monday 27th Jan in the International Ballroom East at 3.45 – 4.45pm ET. 


River Monsters wins Angling Times Best TV Show Of The Year 2013

Following the recent announcement that Angling Times readers have voted River Monsters TV Show Of The Year for the second consecutive year, Jeremy Wade had this to say:

"This award is very gratifying. We set out to make River Monsters appeal to a wide audience, including non-anglers, because that is the only way to get angling on terrestrial TV, and we have done that very successfully. One unexpected bonus is the large number of children who are getting excited about fish and the wider natural world through the programmes. But at the same time we of course want keep the attention of anglers, who are the real enthusiasts when it comes to the underwater world. They say that you can't please all of the people all of the time, but this award seems to suggest that we're doing something right. Thank you AT readers!"


Merry Christmas from Icon Films


Treasure Trove Of Gremlins Found In Borneo

By Professor Anna Nekaris

For many years, slow lorises were considered just two distinct species, despite having overlapping ranges with a wide variety of small apes and monkeys, lorises, which cannot even leap or swim, were still lumped together, whereas their day-living cousins were divided into more and more species. We now know that nocturnal species use more subtle clues to differentiate themselves, and face masks, in the case of slow lorises are one of them.

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Calling All Anglers

River Monsters will be among the 100 exhibitors, including all the major players from the course, match and carp world, at the Northern Angling Show this weekend.  We hope to see you there! 

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River Monsters Goes Live

Join Jeremy Wade, live on tour throughout March 2014, for an evening of mystery, mayhem and monster wrangling. 

Book your tickets now at www.rivermonsters.tv 

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Icon Films is proud to launch our NEW SHOWREEL

Watch it here

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Paul Walker, Sept 12th 1973 - Nov 30th 2013. He was a good guy and a kind person.

Everyone one who met Paul knew at once he was a really good soul, doing his best to make the world a better place. You cannot say better than that of anyone. 

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Harry, Laura & Alex are off to WCSFP 2013


And looking forward to 4 packed days of sessions and meetings with the science and history factual media community 


How big boots led to Bigfoot

How do you turn a pair of hiking boots into a film about the yeti?  Well, it’s a long story – so, here goes.

In 1997 I was in the kingdom of Bhutan making a natural history film called The Last Shangri-La. We had a local nomad as a guide called Nado (which means Black) who carried all our equipment on his surly yaks from camp to camp. Nado wore an old pair of holey plimsolls – through which his toes poked -  but every morning,  when I woke, he’d be making the fire and feeding the yaks and have on my excellent Gore-Tex trekking boots, which I’d leave the night before to dry out by the fire. 

As we came to the end of the expedition Nado suggested that if I gave him my boots I could sleep with his wife back at his village. I made a counter offer. If he told me where I could film a Migyur – the name the local give to the yeti - he could have my boots.

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Has A British Scientist Finally Unlocked The Mystery of The Yeti?

New DNA research on hair samples by Professor Bryan Sykes, a leading British geneticist, may reveal the answer to the centuries-old mystery of the Yeti: it is a genetic match to an ancient polar bear.

The results feature in a new Channel 4 documentary series, Bigfoot Files (starts October 20th) presented by Mark Evans, who sets off on a global quest to unlock the real story of Bigfoot.

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Icon Films heads to MIPCOM 2013

Lucy Middelboe, Commercial Director and Owen Gay, Head of Popular Factual will be attending MIPCOM from Sunday 7th  to Thursday 10th October.  

They will be joining the  UK Indies Stand, number LR4.15 located in the Lerins Hall Riviera Seaview Building. 

To view a selection of projects from our slate register with the UK Indies website here  


My Gromit, Gromitasaurus

By Huncan Daskell

The Gromit Unleashed auction takes place this Thursday, 3rd October. It represents the end of a wonderful 10 weeks for Bristol and for me personally it represents the end of a beautiful friendship.

My Gromit, Gromitasaurus, will be Lot 5 in the auction and I will be there on the night hoping to see him find a new home and most importantly raise money for Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal, to support sick children and their families at Bristol Children's Hospital.

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Landing an ob-doc at Animal Airport

Nicholoas Head on Juggling airport -security checks with flamingos and tigers

Observational shooting these days, more often than not, means a one-man, multi-skilled cam-op/soundie/producer/director/AP/researcher/runner doing all jobs simultaneously while carrying all their own kit, collecting release forms and logging as they go.

Now add to that going through full airport-security checks roughly ten times per day, which include removing belts, boots and bags and any metal - and trying not to get run over by a jumbo jet.

It’s all in an average day for the Animal Airport directors as we document the lives of the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre staff who check animals in and out of the country.

This aritcle first appeared in Broadcast 24th September 2013

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The man who hustled Al Capone

By Alexis Conran

I’ve always been interested in the world of gambling and proposition bets – outlandish tales of men who would bet huge amounts of money on anything and everything. Sometimes it would be as simple as guessing how many watermelons were in a truck but at other times it would require tremendous skill. Their physical dedication rivalled that of Olympic athletes and their mental abilities were up there with maths geniuses.

I read all the stories of famous hustlers who lived by their wits, and fell in love with that world, which has found its way into Hollywood movies from Ocean’s 11 to The Sting. And, after makinThe Real Hustle for BBC Three, when the opportunity arose to follow in the footsteps of my idols for Channel 5 in the three-part series Hustling America, I knew it was going to be a very personal journey. The question was would I be good enough to emulate the greatest gamblers of all time?

This article first appeared in The Telegraph Monday 9th September 2013

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Harry and Laura are off to Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2013



The moose are bugling and the aspen is turning, snow dusts the tops of the mountains and great herds of natural history film producers begin to make their bi-annual migration to the Grand Tetons.  A week of meetings, panels, hiking, partying and creative discussions in one of the most beautiful places on the planet is the draw 


An Evening with Dan Snow


Place your bets on how well we hustled the US

By Martin Turner 

We wanted to follow in the footsteps of famous con men, says Martin Turner

Once, sharp-suited, fast-talking con men travelled across the US from town to town, offering outlandish ‘proposition bets’ to anyone with a dollar to their name.

These wagers were, of course, skewed in the hustler’s favour, usually involving some obscure skill they’d practised for years or a trick that only they knew.

In sending Alex Conran in their footsteps, we wanted to combine the most devious historic bets with new ones. For inspiration, we turned to the very best: legendary hustlers such as Titanic Thompson and Amarillo Slim.

This article first appeared in Broadcast September 12th 2013 

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Desert Seas

By Jamsheed Din

Published in Dimensions International

The raw footage was breath-taking. On Bob Pollock’s TV screen, an under-water world that only a few had ever seen was revealing itself. Weeks of hard work had paid off.

“I saw spectacular scenes that nobody has ever seen before — this is what the people of Saudi Arabia don’t know exists right outside their door,” said Pollock. Pollock, of Saudi Aramco’s Media Productions Division (MPD), had been working with award winning U.K. film makers to capture the subsurface worlds of the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. The uncut footage had justified all the time and effort — the film crew had struck gold. A global audience would now have the chance to see the hidden treasures that lie beneath the two seas that flank the East and West Coasts of Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Gulf was formed at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago, and the Red Sea’s history goes back even further. This story, however, begins back in 2008


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Sky Goes Fishing In 3D With River Monsters

River Monsters Pack of Teeth in 3D, An Icon Films Production for Discovery Communications LLC in association with itv Global Entertainment, airs on Sky 3D Channel Wednesday 31st July 2013

River Monsters Pack of Teeth sees intrepid biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade venture deep into exotic back waters in search of a flesh-eating river monster but this time, there’s an added dimension.

Shot in glorious 3D, you’re right there with him like never before as he navigates the Okavango delta of Botswana investigating sinister stories of a deadly fish, rumoured to lurk unseen in these eerie waters. A killer with shark-like teeth, there are tales of it hunting in packs, feeding in frenzies on schooling fish and even human bodies. It sounds like the work of giant piranhas but there’s nothing like that here. Or is there? Monstrous fish may be the least of his worries though as Jeremy takes on scorching heat, irritable hippos and man eating crocodile on his mission to identify and catch this ravenous river monster.

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The power of YouTube in influencing public opinions & Slow Loris conservation

Millions of people watching YouTube videos of slow lorises may not have realised that they are indirectly responsible for the demise of one of the world’s rarest primates and since 2007 have been listed on Appendix 1 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The illegal trade in slow lorises, fuelled by their demand as pets in Asia and elsewhere, appears to be enhanced by people watching the cuddly primates on numerous YouTube videos.

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Our Neighbourhood Leopard

By Rom Whitaker and Janaki Lenin 

Karadi Malai Camp, South India

Try as we might, the big male leopard who still has his eye on our now house-bound-at-night dogs, would not show himself during the shooting of 'Leopards: 21st Century Cats' for BBC Two's Natural World strand.

We set up eight camera traps over the 8 month period and we now have miles of video and stills of porcupines, civet cats, jungle cats, mongoose, hares and monkeys, but nary a single shot of our spotted friend.

Then, last Thursday night, after a sharp shower of rain, the big cat calmly walked down our driveway, jumped the fence to our campsite and then disappeared off into the adjacent jungle. We made some beautiful plaster casts of his pugmarks in the soft mud and managed to get this single butt-shot as he ambled off the driveway. The dogs (we too) peacefully slept through it all.

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Showreel scoring project bringing together Icon Films and students on the University of Bristol MA Composition for Film and Television course.

By Will Goodchild, Composer 

I approached Icon Films with the idea of having students write and produce music for Icon’s wildlife showreel. Icon would be looking for a strong contemporary track to help promote its work on-line. The students’ compositions would constitute one of four assignments I was setting for them and therefore formed part of their academic assessment. More importantly, however, it would bring their work to the attention of an internationally established production company creating a broad range of factual content for the major broadcasters – a great opportunity for the students’ work to be heard and assessed by industry professionals.

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Academy Award winning star to promote Bristol in online film series


A series of online films featuring one of the world’s best-loved animated characters, Gromit, will be unveiled from Thursday 30 May, as part of a campaign to promote Bristol as a fabulous summer destination for a short break.

Commissioned by Destination Bristol, the film stars a five-foot sculpture of Gromit, one of 80 making up a major new public art trail called Gromit Unleashed, organised by Aardman Animations with charity partner The Grand Appeal. Each Gromit on the trail, set to hit the streets of Bristol this summer, is being designed by celebrities and artists including illustrator Raymond Briggs, comedian Harry Hill and designer Sir Paul Smith.

Download the Press release…

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River Monsters Season 5 Finale Grabs 2.2 Million Record-Breaking Viewers


The season finale of Animal Planet’s best-performing series ever, RIVER MONSTERS, netted a series high 2.2 million P2+ viewers on Monday night.  The Memorial Day, two-hour finale showcased extreme angler and biologist Jeremy Wade unlocking some of the mysteries of the Loch Ness Monster and capping off the network’s second annual Monster Week.  “Legend of Loch Ness” is the most-watched RIVER MONSTERS episode across all demos, including HH (1.4M); P18-49 (1.3M); P25-54 (1.2M); M18-49 (750K); M25-54 (711K); P18-34 (621K); W18-49 (505K); and W25-54 (482K).  The season five finale helped Animal Planet rank among the top two ad-supported cable networks of the night among M18-49, excluding sports. Animal Planet has officially greenlit a sixth season to debut in 2014.

Download the Press release…

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Icon Films is Proud to Support the Whitley Awards

Icon Films is proud to support the Whitley Awards and make another film that celebrates the extraordinary work of the individuals and the initiatives that the fund has supported over the last 20 years. As  committed conservation film makers it was a delight and privilege.  



In Memory of Farni, Tuca and Jonas


When Filming The Hunger– Death Race, Icon Films was privileged to work alongside the San Bushmen who opened their community to us and shared insights into their dying hunting  tradition.

In September of 2012, five of the San Bushmen who we had spent time and filmed with were caught in a bushfire in Namibia.  Cgunta Khao/Khao and his relatives Tuca, Farni and Jonas were trekking in Bushmanland with an Australian when the fire appeared and to protect the tourist they encircled her taking the brunt of the fire.  Tuca, Farni and Jonas died due to their sustained injuries and Khao himself was in a critical condition with 70% burns. 

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Icon Films picks up 2 awards at 2013 Chicago International Film Festival Television Awards

Chicago International Film Festival Television Awards has announced the award winners for this year's competition including two awards for Icon Films: 

Jungle Gremlins of Java for BBC2’s Natural World, Directed by Steve Gooder, has been awarded the Silver Hugo for Science and Nature Documentary Production.

Steve said  ‘I’m amazed but chuffed that the judges were so tickled by our lorises. ‘Hugos’ aren’t given away lightly, so this is a fantastic honour for Team Gremlin’. 

Million Dollar Moon Rock Heist for National Geographic Channels International, Directed by Jeremy Bristow, has been awarded a Certificate of Merit for History and Biography Documentary Production. 

Jeremy said ‘This was a fascinating film to make and would not have been possible without the extraordinary collaboration from NASA and the FBI.  I am delighted that it has been recognised by such a prestigious festival’.  

The ceremony awards night is being held at the Raddison Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, USA on Tuesday 23rd April 2013 and all winning productions will be published on the festival's website after the event. 


River Monsters Season 5 Premiere Reels in Big Ratings ...

The network's best-performing series, RIVER MONSTERS, baited viewers with a two-hour, monster-sized season opener, "Face Ripper," in which host, biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade took viewers along as he investigated a horrific death in a Bolivian river where a man's face was ripped to shreds. The season premiere, which aired on Sunday, reeled in gigantic viewers with 1.8M P2+, making it the most-watched season debut in Animal Planet history and the second most watched episode of River Monsters ever.

Read more about Season Premiere of RIVER MONSTERS Reels in Big Ratings for Animal Planet - BWWTVWorld by tv.broadwayworld.com


Why we sponsored a Gromit

By Harry Marshall, Creative Director 

The idea of huge Gromits dotted around Bristol is brilliant.  Everyone loved the Gorillas but Bristol is Gromit's home town.  Like all good ideas, it feels so right. 

The Grand Appeal is raising vital money for the Children's Hospital and the new extension and Icon Films is doing what it can.

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NGCI Announces Bones of The Buddha

(WASHINGTON, DC – March 14, 2013)  National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) today announced the co-production of Bones of The Buddha (1x60) from Icon Films, which will premiere internationally on National Geographic Channel in early summer.    

Retracing the steps of an unexpected find in Northern India in 1898, Bones of The Buddha explores one of the most amazing discoveries in Buddhist history: a huge stone coffer containing five ancient soapstone jars, over 1000 separate jewels – as well as ash and bone. One of the jars has an inscription indicating that these were the remains of the Buddha himself. But, the most extraordinary find in Indian archaeology has been marred in doubt and scandal for over 100 years. For some, the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. For others, it is the final resting place of the messiah of one of the world’s great religions. Renowned historian of India, Charles Allen, sets out to solve this extraordinary mystery once and for all.


The Great Icon Bake-Off

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It's official - River Monsters Season 5 coming to the US on 7th April 2013

There are monsters still out there ... 'River Monsters' and angler Jeremy Wade Plunge into the most dramtic season yet of Animal Planet's best performing series as he goes in serach for murky man killers ...

There may come a time when the question of what lurks below is answered. But that time isn’t now. For four successful seasons of Animal Planet’s RIVER MONSTERS, host, biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade has searched for answers, taking viewers along as he unravels fish tales of giant killers – where sometimes the fact is stranger than the fiction!  


Icon Films picks up 3 awards at The Royal Television Society Awards West of England

Icon Films picked up three awards from their nine nominations at the prestigious RTS West of England Awards. 

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Laura Marshall welcomes HM The Queen at Bristol Old Vic

Our MD Laura was honoured to welcome HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip on a tour of the theatre and onto the stage of Bristol Old Vic in her capacity as Chair of the organisation.


Icon Films is selected for Nesta's mentoring programme

It’s a new year for Icon Films, and twenty odd years on we still haven’t lost our thirst for innovation and growth.  We are excited to have been selected to be part of the Nesta mentoring programme and are looking forward to working with our mentor Paul Sandler from Objective Productions.  


Jeremy Wade's 10 Best Rivers For Catching Monster Fish

By Laura Morrison for CNN 

Landing rows of razor teeth with fish attached is all in a day's work for the host of TV's most extreme fishing show.

As host of TV documentary series “River Monsters,” Wade travels the globe to seek out things that populate fishermen’s tales and non-fishermen's nightmares...

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Q&A with River Monsters Cameraman James Bickersteth

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'West' Works old and new from Elizabeth Hunter

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Icon Films is proud to launch the River Monsters Global Facebook Page

Brought to you by the team that makes River Monsters and where you can expect behind the scenes stories and exlusive clips.

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Shepton Mallet Digital Arts Festival 2012

By Dominic Weston, Director, Icon Films

Early in November 2012 I presented the Short Factual award on behalf of Icon Films at the Shepton DigiFest.  Short, factual films are a format that's very close to my heart - not just because I have made so many in my career, but also because there can be something very magical and jewel-like in the glimpse they provide into alternate, but entirely real, world...

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Grand Designs - the new fundraising film for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal

By Harry Marshall, Creative Director, Icon Films

It was an extraordinary eye-opener for us all at Icon Films to work with Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal and to visit the Children's Hospital in Bristol. 

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A Dive Film in a Day?

By Sophie Morgan, Junior Assistant Producer, The One Show, Icon Films 

There’s one natural element that complicates working with electronic equipment... and that’s water. So what better way to challenge our intrepid One Show wildlife team than go under it in the search for the toothy Atlantic Wolf Fish?

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The Challenges of Filming Nocturnal Wildlife

If a large percentage of wildlife only become active after dark, how do you go about filming them? ...

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Another way to documentary

By Alex Brisland General and Development Research Assistant to the Creative Director

Only 7 days have passed since a long university ‘career’ has ended. If I can, in fact, call it a ‘career.’ It was certainly not comparable to how I would imagine that word now. After all, it was often difficult to think beyond the next essay to a world (the ‘real’ world) where careers and council tax were important. University life, for all its wondrous plusses, was also an enormous bubble. And all bubbles burst...

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Provocation: an occasional series of opinion pieces

Crime Passionelle – Dominic Weston, Director
“I look for people who are passionate about what they do”.
A sentiment that makes my heart wither and sink...  

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Icon Films supports World's Biggest Coffee Morning

After a final 4 o'clock sugar rush on Friday 28th Sept, Icon Films raised a whopping £115.00 for the Macmillan Coffee Morning - congratulations and and big thanks  to Katie Parsons and Jodie Allt for organising.

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A Way To Dcoumentary by Harry Marshall, Creative Director, Icon Films

As one of the major suppliers of the ONE SHOW Icon Films probably makes as many short films as anyone in the UK, somewhere between 60 and 70 a year. Icon Films was very proud to sponsor the Documentary award last week at the Bristol Encounters short film festival where  Finlay Prestell's Cutting Loose was a  worthy and clear winner.  Beautifully shot and edited, intimate access, emotion and a ring side seat on a world that few otherwise would see.   

During the Encounters Festival I sat on a panel The Way to Documentary to talk about how directors get to make films and in particular how to get to make long form documentary films for television...   

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'Cutting Loose' The Documentary Shorts Winning Film at Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival 2012

Owen Gay, Head of Popular Factual at Icon Films was on the  Documentary Jury and had this to say :

“It was a genuine privilege to be able to take part in this year’s Encounters judging process. The overall quality of the films was incredibly high and many were profoundly moving – shedding a light on stories new to me or human stories to which I might previously have thought I could never relate. I sincerely hope they all find the audience they so justly deserve.

And there was so much to commend the winning film, “Cutting Loose” by Finlay Pretsel &  Adrian McDowall … 



Harry and Laura Marshall were proud to present the award to Finlay Pretsell at the Awards Ceremony

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Can you learn to row in just 4 weeks ?

By Laura Coates, Assitant Producer

Icon's Super8 did just that and went on to pick up Silver in the City of Bristol Rowing Club Corporate Row ...

One thing we have learnt from the 2012 Olympics is that the British are good at sports that involve sitting down…cycling, horse riding, canoeing and rowing. So that means that sitting in a boat and rowing must be easy right? 

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Holy Cow, Sacred Udder ...

Bristol is the home to Igfest - The Intersting Games Festival - and this year Icon's very own Chris Stichman created his very own game ...

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Icon Films is proud to sponsor the Encounters Short Film Festival 2012 @esff


Documentary Highlights at Encounters Short Film Festival 2012, supported by Icon Films

The Encounters experience doesn’t end with its generous offer of screenings: the film programmes are complemented by a full schedule of industry events including panel discussions, masterclasses, workshops and on stage events providing an important platform to hear some of the industry key players sharing their knowledge and insight as well as outlining the opportunities existing for short filmmakers.

Don't miss out on the Documentary Highlights that help make up this year's exciting programme ... 

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A Photo A Day For A Year

Etta and Me from hellobentleg on Vimeo.

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Round The World By Fish

Don't miss  live talk by Jeremy Wade @RiverMonstersUK Saturday July 21st at the Cheese and Grain in Frome. 

Doors open 6.30pm.  Event starts 7pm. 

Buy your tickets on line here  or call the Box Office 01375 455 420

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Wild Scene Investigators at Bristol Festival of Nature

By Dan Huertas

Last Saturday the rain sodden, wildlife hungry, people of Bristol were treated to a live presentation by Dan and Lorne - two thirds of the Wild Scene Investigation team -  at the Bristol Festival of Nature.  

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Operation Owl - ‘This is not a feature film, this is The One Show!’

By Sophie Morgan, Researcher / Coordinator

Our production manager’s words are still ringing in our ears as we leave the office to embark on our most ambitious 4.5 minutes yet. One presenter, three film crews with infrared cameras and an entire network of Londoners spread across our capital city, but will it be enough? ...

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6 to 8pm on Thursday 14th June at Watershed, Bristol.

Come along to a FREE event organized by Think Future Now, the sustainability networking organization for Bristol’s Creative Industries.  It’s a different take on sustainability and entertainment, including comedy, music, bicycles, TV productions, festivals and commercials...

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Behind the Scenes of 'Million Dollar Moon Rock Heist'

... the biggest heist in NASA’s history.

Hi-tech espionage and claims of sex on the moon: this heist story had it all. But we needed both Nasa and the FBI to separate fact from fiction, says Cris Warren researcher/assistant producer

TX National Geographic, 10 May 2012, 9pm

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Icon Films contributes to Earth Day 2012

When Icon was approached to help stalwart Icon freelancer Director/Editor James Reed, to create a one-off video for Skype to promote Earth Day 2012, we jumped at the chance... 


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River Monsters in 3D 'Pack of Teeth' is getting some great reviews ...

By Mel Martin  - First appeared in 3DTV.com  24th April, 2012

I didn’t have super high hopes for River Monsters on 3Net, one of the 3D Channels from DirecTV. It was, I thought, likely to be yet another nature show set in Africa with lots of hype and little content ...  Wrong ... 

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Wild Scene Investigation

By Suzanne Yorke, Presenter

“You’re filming wildlife in downtown Raleigh?? There is no wildlife in downtown Raleigh!”

I stared speechless at the man who just stopped me on the street.  Surely he must be joking, I thought.  No wildlife in Raleigh, North Carolina? Tell that to Gadget Boy, Lorne, and the Hollywood stunt man harnessed to the chimney of a thirteen-story building busily constructing a specialized camera rig to capture the roosting behaviour of chimney swifts.  I smiled politely and walked past him to enter the building.  There was no time for a debate; I had to get up to the roof. Time was running out... 

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SUPERFISH: Bluefin Tuna

A film produced by our friends at Wild Logic, Premieres National Geographic Channel on April 12th, 2012 at 9 pm.

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Again, River Monsters is the Most Watched Season Debut in Animal Planet History

Fourth Season Premiere Of River Monsters Is Most-Watched Season Debut in Animal Planet History

1.8 Million Viewers Were Hooked on Season Premiere Episode with 10.5 Million Viewers Tuning in During the All-day RIVER MONSTERS Marathon

Fish on, indeed! Animal Planet snared its biggest fish yet with the season four premiere of RIVER MONSTERS, which aired Sunday with record highs. The episode, “American Killers,” delivered 1.8M P2+ viewers (1.77M), making it the most-watched season debut in Animal Planet history.RIVERS MONSTERS also saw its biggest audience yet among P25-54 with season-four debut.   

Download the Press release…

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River Monsters with Jeremy Wade - in 3D - a word from Cinematographer Brendan McGinty

River Monsters 3D is up there with Avatar as one of the 3D films of importance... I know this sounds hyperbolic, but I don't think it is. There are surprisingly few 3D films that have engaged with the uniqueness of the stereoscopic experience.

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Films Can Make A Difference - Jungles Gremlins of Java

By Laura Coates, Assistant Producer 

When we set out to make a film about slow lorises, the big question was ‘Why on earth is this cuddly-looking primate armed with a lethal, poisonous bite? (Very few mammals are venomous.) But even before we left for Indonesia we knew that lorises were getting hammered by illegal pet traders, and that this was going to be an important part of the story. The reality, when I saw the undercover footage we shot in the street markets, was truly shocking.  What makes it worthwhile, though, is seeing the amazing, positive impact that our film is now having…

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Sandhurst DVD's coming soon

The series, a warts and all immersion into the elite and sometimes brutal world of the British Army’s legendry officer training course, coming soon on DVD

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Inspiring Women's Enterprise in TV

By Laura Marshall

Laura Marshall is guest speaker at 'Inspiring Women's Enterprise in TV' - a one day workshop aimed at women working as freelancers or employees in the TV production industry; women returning to the industry after a career break; women with relevant transferable skills seeking a career in TV production.

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River Monsters Series 2 now on DVD ...

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Working with local crews can take a production to the next level

Harry Marshall talk to Broadcast about filming with local crew ahead of Wild India, airing on Nat Geo Wild UK Feb 13th 2012 at 8pm

This article first appeared in Broadcast (http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/5037983.article

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Jeremy Wade’s Book Launch…

Last night Icon celebrated the launch of River Monsters presenter Jeremy Wade’s new book ‘The Ones that didn’t get away’.

You can buy it here and follow us on twitter @IconBristol for book tour updates. 

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Dr Anna Nekaris: Saving the world’s cutest animal…

Ahead of the  Jungle Gremlins of Java, ariing on BBC2 Jan 25th at 8pm, Dr Anna Nekaris talks to Wanderlust about her work with the cudly and cute and only poisonous primate in the world

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What's on…

River Monsters Season 7 Animal Planet US

Animal Planet US From Sunday 5th April 9pm ET 2015

The One Show: Torbet's Extreme Britain - The Tin Openers

BBC1 Tuesday 3rd March 2015 7pm

The One Show: Cold Camp

BBC1 Monday 2nd March 2015 7.00pm