Key Speakers and Guests

  Dr George Schaller
Vice President of Panthera and eminent conservationist

George is known as one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation. Spending most of his time in the field in Asia, Africa, and South America, he has led seminal studies on, and helped protect, some of the planet's most endangered and iconic animals such as mountain gorilla, snow leopards, jaguars, giant pandas, tigers, lions, wild sheep and goats of the Himalaya. These animals have been the basis for his scientific and popular writings, including 16 books, among them are The Year of the Gorilla, The Serengeti Lion, The Last Panda, and Tibet's Hidden Wilderness.

  Dr AJT Johnsingh
Eminent Wildlife Biologist, Nature Conservation Foundation and Hon Scientific Advisor, WWF India

JohnSingh is among the most renowned field biologists in India. He carried out a study on dholes in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the late 1970s, research at the Smithsonian Institution, USA, and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). He is the author of several research papers, popular articles and two books. He has been awarded with the Distinguished Service Award by the Society for Conservation Biology, the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award, both in 2004 and the ABN AMRO Sanctuary Lifetime Wildlife Service Award in 2005. Presently he is working for Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore and WWF-India.

  Shyam Benegal
Eminent filmmaker

Shyam Benegal's career started with a job as a copywriter in advertising from where he graduated to become the Creative & Accounts Group Head before becoming a full time filmmaker. He has lectured at many institutions in India and abroad as well as participated in seminars on subjects dealing with Cinema, Television, Information Technology and different aspects of social and cultural change. He has made 26 fiction features for the Cinema, several documentaries and TV series, notably a 53 hour TV series on the History of India. The Government of India has conferred on him two of its most prestigious awards - Padma Shri in 1976 and Padma Bhushan 1991. He is also the recipient of Indira Gandhi National Integration Award, 2004, and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement 2005. In 2007, he was conferred with a D.Litt (Honoris Causa) from the Jamia Millia University, New Delhi. Shyam Benegal runs a film production company in Mumbai and is presently a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha).

  Ralf Quibeldey
Commissioning Editor - Wildlife & Nature, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), GERMANY

Ralf Quibeldey has been a television professional for 20 years. He worked as author and director of numerous documentaries for the first German Television ARD and North German Television NDR. He was head of entertainment at NDR and is now responsible for wildlife, adventure, travel and outdoor programmes for both channels. He is commissioning editor for the highly acclaimed wildlife productions by "NDR Naturfilm" which internationally co-produces blue chip films, and also co - produces and acquires documentaries on people's lives from all corners of the world - as long as it's exciting, authentical, exotic or adventurous and takes place in the world's more fascinating landscapes.  .

  Prakash Jha
Film producer-director-screenwriter

Prakash Jha is an eminent film producer-director-screenwriter, mostly known for his political and socio-political films. He runs a production company, Prakash Jha Production. Jha also fought Lok Sabha twice. Apart from filmmaking Jha has also been seriously involved with development initiatives in Bihar. He has been spearheading growth in infrastructure, health care and vocational training facilities in the state through his NGO Anubhooti.

  Dr. P J Dilip Kumar
DGF & SS, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt of India

Dr. P J Dilip Kumar, an Indian Forest Service Officer of 1974 batch, Karnataka Cadre, has been Director General of Forests, Govt. of India since July, 2009. He is M.Sc. in Chemistry from the IIT, Bombay, and a Ph.D. in Forest Economics from the University College of North Wales, Bangor, U.K. on a Commonwealth Scholarship; also MA Economics from Punjab University, Chandigarh, apart from the basic training in Forestry at the National Forest Academy, Dehradun. He has served in various capacities in the Forest Department, in Forest Research and Education, Forest Corporations, etc. in both Govt. of Karnataka and Govt. of India. His interests include development and conservation, bird watching, photography, tracking, classical music, and reading non-fiction.

  Dr. Hakan Tropp
Director, UNDP Water Governance Facility, Sweden

Dr. Hakan Tropp is a water governance expert. His work focuses on water governance issues and multi-disciplinary policy and development work related to sustainable development, with particular emphasis on water resources and services. Tropp is Director for the UNDP Water Governance Facility (WGF) at SIWI. It is a demand driven programme that assists governments in water governance reform and implementation and develops knowledge on water governance issues. Tropp is a founding member of the Water Integrity Network and was its first Chairperson from 2006 to 2010. He has also been leading the development of Water Integrity Training Manual. Tropp has extensive experience from working in South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Southern and Eastern Africa. Previously he worked with UNDESA and UNDP. Tropp has also published a number of articles and papers in relation water and environmental governance. In 1998 his dissertation was published: Patronage, Politics and Pollution: Precarious NGO-State Relationships in South India, Linkoping University.

  Evert van den Bos
General Manager, Nature Conservation Films

Evert studied business administration and law, with specialisation in Copyright and Media Laws. He was policy adviser to the Chairman of the AVRO for four years, after which he managed the daily operations for the same company. In 1990, Evert founded Movies TV, a subsidiary company of Movies Film Productions. Movies TV went on to become the strongest independent television distributor in the Benelux. In 1993, PolyGram bought Movies Film Productions and its affiliates. Evert then ventured into forming his own company, Nature Conservation Films. Over the decades, Evert has produced more then hundred wildlife productions, out of which 10 were theatrically released. His award winning films include Leopard Son, Serengeti Symphony, Saved by the Lioness, African King, African Bambi, Crocs of Katuma, Elephants: Return to the Wild. Evert is specialised in international co-productions

  Andie Clare
Head of Production, ICON Films

Andrea Clare (Andie) grew up in the North West of England and studied zoology at University before spending almost a decade working as a camera assistant and researcher in South America. Andie joined Icon Films in 1997 as an assistant producer and has worked in a variety of roles across production over the last 10 years.

  Franz Kraus
Member of the Executive Board, ARRI AG, Munich

Franz Kraus graduated in 1972 as communications engineer from the University Regensburg. In 1983 Franz Kraus joined Arnold & Richter in Munich as Technical Director of the newly established postproduction company ARRI TV & Services GmbH (today ARRI Film & TV Services GmbH), where he became the Managing Director in 1987. In March 2000 he became Managing Director of the Arnold & Richter Cine Technik GmbH & Co. Betriebs KG, and shortly thereafter, in 2001 he was appointed Member of the Executive Board of the ARRI AG. During his time with Arnold & Richter the company was awarded no less than 11 Scientific and Engineering Academy Awards as well as an Emmy award.

  Theo Webb
Researcher, BBC Natural History Unit

Theo Webb has been researching at the BBC Natural History Unit for 2 1/2 years, working on projects such as Natural World, Lost Land of the Tiger and currently on a new landmark series called Survival. He is particularly interested in telling stories across programmes and also using new technologies to help with filmmaking.

  David Macdonald
Head of YouTube Partner Operations, Asia Pacific

David Macdonald is the head of Asia Pacific's partner operations for YouTube. He manages partnerships online and original creators for YouTube, in a region stretching from Japan to India to New Zealand. Prior to joining YouTube, David spent 4 years at Walt Disney, where he was Asia Pacific Director for the Disney Internet Group, responsible for Disney's mobile and PC Internet businesses in the region. From 1999 to 2004, David worked at NTT DoCoMo, Japan's leading mobile communications carrier, where he worked first on mobile content development in Japan's booming mobile Internet business, and then in Europe with NTT DoCoMo's overseas partners.

David is a graduate of Canada's Royal Military College and has an Master of Science in East Asian Business from the University of Sheffield in the UK. Though he hails from Canada originally, David has been in Asia since 1995, and has spent another 6 years living and working in Europe. He is married and lives in Urayasu, Japan.

  Ravi Singh
CEO, WWF India

Ravi Singh is the Secretary General & CEO, WWF India since 2003. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Singh was the General Manager and Head, multi-national corporates, Deutsche Bank, Mumbai. Besides his professional achievements in the corporate sector, Mr. Singh has had an abiding interest in the conservation of nature. As the Head of WWF-India, the country's largest conservation organization, Mr. Singh participates in national forums including those covering biodiversity and aspects of reducing human footprint.

  Nalaka Gunawardene
Director and Chief Executive Officer of TVE Asia Pacific

Nalaka heads TVE Asia Pacific , a non-profit media organisation that works across the Asia Pacific region, using television, video and new media promoting sustainable development and social justice. An award winning science journalist and communications specialist, he has wide experience in working with national, regional and international organisations for over 20 years.

  Adam Schmedes
Managing Director of Loke Film

Adam is a diploma director and photographer from the French Film School IDHEC and the Danish National Film School. He is the Managing Director of Loke Film, based in Denmark and France, founded in 1982. The company has specialised in Natural History, Science and Environment, developing new concepts, crossing genres especially in green programming and wildlife fictions. Their latest production, the wildlife fiction: "Chameleon Beach", distributed by National Geographic Int. is a new cross genre concept already sold to more than 20 countries.

  Dennis Aig
Program Director - MFA Science & Natural History Filmmaking
Montana State University, Bozeman, USA

Dennis Aig has produced and directed both documentary and dramatic productions for the Walt Disney Company, National Geographic Television, PBS, Lifetime Television, the Outside Channel, the History Channel, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS). His projects have ranged from a documentary about bone marrow transplant patients at UCLA Medical Center to two behind-the-scenes specials about feature films directed by Robert Redford. His major works include Shadow Casting: The Making of "A River Runs Through It", Visions of Grace: Robert Redford and "The Horse Whisperer", Guide Season, Sacred Journey of the Nez Perce, Test Pilots of the Body, and America's Outdoor Heritage. Aig's work has won over 100 awards since 1993, including a Gold Hugo from the Chicago Film Festival and the Gold Medal from the New York Festivals. He is a holds a doctorate in Literature with a film concentration from The Ohio State University and is a Professor of Film and Photography at Montana State University.

  Dr G S Gujral
Head - Science Environment & Technology (India & Sri Lanka), British Council

Dr G S Gujral is currently the Science and Environment Head for British Council, India and Sri Lanka providing science related inputs into all major BC projects/programmes in the area of Climate change, Education and Innovation. With a basic background in biological sciences and a PhD in 'Biomass Conversions', from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Dr Gujral joined the Council as Projects Manager in 1988. Since then he has worked in the British Council managing projects and other Council's initiatives funded by the UK government. He subsequently moved into the wider field of Science Environment and Technology leading the British Council team in terms of developing country strategy and operational programmes.

  Lene Poulsen
Member, IUCN - - Thematic Group Lead: Dryland Ecosystems, Denmark

Trained as an agricultural economist specializing in organizational theory and with post-graduate studies in development economics most of Ms. Poulsen's 20+-year career has been dedicated to work with vulnerable populations and sustainable natural resource management. Her assignments have covered 75+ countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean with organizations including the UN Secretariat, UNDP, UNICEF, FAO, IFAD, WFP, OCHA, and UNDCP, the EC, bilateral agencies, IUCN, and INGOs. Ms. Poulsen's strong commitment to sustainable natural resource management has been translated into a wide variety of initiatives that Ms. Poulsen has initiated and developed including strengthening the role of women and gender mainstreaming for the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought; global, regional, and national networking of NGOs for dryland development; disaster risk management, and participatory approaches.

  Chandi Prasad Bhatt
Eminent Environmentalist

Chandi Prasad Bhatt is a Gandhian environmentalist and social activist, who founded Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) in Gopeshwar in 1964, which later became a mother-organization to the Chipko Movement, in which he was one of the pioneers, and for which he has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1982, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2005. Today he is known for his work on subaltern social ecology, and considered one of India's first modern environmentalist.

  Dr V K Bahuguna
Director General, ICFRE and Chancellor, FRI University

Winner of the prestigious Queen's Award for Forestry for the year 2000 from the Commonwealth Forestry Association UK for outstanding performance as a practicing natural resources manager, scientists, trainer, administrator, and policy planner. He had tailored his efforts throughout the service career in changing the forest management practices, manner of administration of laws and evolving people oriented policies in public administration. He is an internationally recognized expert in his field of work. He has published more than 160 papers in international and national journals of repute on various aspects of forestry and natural resources management including a handbook on some important Himalayan shrubs and has also edited the book, "Wasteland Development for Fuel wood and Fodder Production". He has done his PhD on "Forest Ecology" from University of Garhwal, at Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun Uttarakhand.

  Sulekh Suman
Founder - Anahad Inc, USA

Sulekh is a broadcast professional with over 10 years experience across India, the US and the UK. He produces content for BBC World, National Geographic, Star Plus, Star World, MTV, CNBC TV18, CNN IBN, Imaginasian TV. He has set up and launched Indian television news channels in UK and US; and also set up and managed downlink, production, post production and broadcast for a cluster of international television channels for the US, Canada, the UK and Europe markets. He has now founded and is managing Anahad Inc, a marketing and theatrical distribution company for Indian content in the US and Canada markets.

  Mr Roberto Cazzolla Gatti
Member, IUCN - Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) and Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), Italy

photographer for different local and national Italian newspapers. Since 2008, he is member of IUCN (International Union for Nature Conservation) of the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).

  Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
Senior Journalist

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is a journalist with over 20 years experience in print, radio and television. During his career, Paranjoy has been employed by a number of leading publications including Business India, Business World, The Telegraph, India Today and The Pioneer. He has contributed to many other Indian publications. He has also worked in documentary films and produced radio programmes. Paranjoy has studied at La Martiniere School, Calcutta, St. Stephen's College, Delhi and the Delhi School of Economics.

  Mr U M Sahai
PCCF (Wildlife) Rajasthan, Department of Forest, Govt of Rajasthan, Jaipur

Mr Sahai is 1977 batch India Forest Service officer. Currently he is the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan. He has keen interest in light music (Ghazals) and sports, specially Tennis, Table Tennis and Billiards. He has won several medals and prizes in various All India Forest Sports meets. Jaipur Doordarshan has done half an hour recording of ghazals sung by him and have been telecast a couple of times. He has also written a book titled "1000 quiz on Tennis". His technical paper titled "Participatory Forest Managment" was accepted and included in the "Xth World Forestry Congress ", held at Turkey in 1996.

  Prerna Singh Bindra
Regional Coordinator, Tiger Program, Panthera

Prerna is currently employed as Regional Coordinator, Tiger Program with Panthera. She is a member, National Board of Wildlife and also a part of the core Standing Committee of the NBWL. Prerna also edits TigerLink. Before taking on her current assignment, Prerna was a media professional and has written over 1500 articles on conservation and authored The King and I:Travels in Tigerland and edited an anthology on contemporary wildlife writings Voices in the Wilderness.

  Bhupesh Kumar
Vice President - Aon Global Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd

Bhupesh Kumar, ADRIM, MFC, BA (Hons. Eco) is the Head of Sports & Entertainment Vertical at AON Global and also the Member of Core Group for Aon Sports & Entertainment Worldwide. He has been instrumental in providing innovative coverage to prestigious sports events like World Cup Cricket 2011, T-20 World Cup and many international cricket series played in India and abroad. Further in entertainment side he has been involved with many TV projects like Big Boss, Fear Factor and India's Got Talent etc. The biggest of them all is the Oscar winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire". His views on sporting events are frequently expressed in leading daily news papers in India.

  Nikhil Sandhu
Senior Manager, Content Strategy and Content Acquisitions, Aircel

Nikhil has over 9 years experience in mainstream broadcast media through various industry roles. He has worked across a wide range of genres, which include documentaries, children shows, television commercials fiction as well as non-fiction programming for broadcasters such as NGC, Discovery, Disney, Turner International and Colors. His experience transverses commercial, pay and public electronic broadcasting, local and international television and he currently, is laying out plans & strategies for Content Acquisition at Aircel, a leading mobile telephone operator. In this new role, Nikhil is constantly exploring different types of content and exploiting newer delivery technologies aiming to make both Indian & International content accessible to the vast mobile user base of across India.

  Manan Singhi
Strategic Partner Manager, YouTube India

Manan has been at Google for almost 7 years and handles strategic partnerships for YouTube, managing relationships across music, film, television, and sports categories. Some large, strategic partnerships that he has launched are T-Series, Saregama, Colors, Star TV, etc. Manan graduated from St. Xaviers College, Kolkata, and has done his executive MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, along with a Marketing Course from INSEAD, Singapore.

  Dr R V Varma
Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB)

Dr Varma, currently Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) has a professional experience of over 40 years in research, training & extension and administration. He started off his scientific career as a forest entomologist and has over 150 publications, including books in the fields of forest plantation management, biological control using microbes and belowground biodiversity. During the past four years he has been involved with various conservation activities in the State of Kerala and awareness creation has been one of the major tasks.

  Mr Vikramjit Roy
General Manager, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) Ltd

He is a seasoned Marketing and Business Professional with a global perspective and entrepreneurial drive. At NFDC he is creating a portfolio of films under brand "cinemas of India" reflecting India's cultural pluralism and diversity, encouraging new talent / debutant feature film makers through the Corporation's 100% production scheme, promoting co-producing good quality films in partnership with private players both from India and abroad and developing socially relevant scripts and films in partnership with various Ministries under the Gov. of India. He is facilitating collaboration between the film fraternity in India and its global counterparts in various key International forum like International Film Festival of India/Filmbazaar, Cannes International film Festival etc. He has done BSc Economics from Presidency College and MBA Marketing from Kolkata University.

  Mr Rajiv Bhartari
CCF, Forest Department, Dehradun

Mr Rajiv Bhartari is an Indian Forest Service (1986) officer presently posted as the Chief Conservator of Forests Ecotourism in Uttarakhand. He is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and a Fellow of LEAD International. He is also an alumnus of the International Visitors Leadership Program, USA. He has served on the Board of Directors of "The International Ecotourism Society" for three years. He has spent nearly a decade in Corbett Tiger Reserve as Director and Deputy Director. Bhartari has also served as a Professor at the Wildlife Institute of India. He received "India's Best Maintained Tourist Friendly National Park" Award from the Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India in February 2009.

  Yogesh Gokhale, PhD
Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

Dr. Gokhale holds a Doctoral degree in Botany from Mumbai University. He currently works as Fellow with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). He is the member IUCN Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual values of Protected Areas. Before joining TERI he worked as Consultant with Secretariat of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries hosted by Ministry of Environment and Forests. He also co-ordinated the India local level case study for Sub-Global Assessment of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Programme. He has been working on traditional conservation practices such as sacred groves in India for past several years. He has researched for the two documentaries on biodiversity issues (Reviving Faith, Back to the Roots) in past two years in TERI.

  Praveen Singh
Director & Cinematographer, Signature Infotainment Private Limited

Praveen Singh is an award winning wildlife and environment filmmaker. A former faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India, Praveen has an M.F.A. in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University and an M.A. in Mass Communication from MCRC. His first independent film, 'Indian Leopards - The Killing Fields' won the Best Film of the Festival Award at Vatavaran in 2005 and won the 'Student Emmy' for the Best Documentary at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences College TV Awards, LA, 2005. The film and its versions have since aired on NGCI, NDR, Discovery Channel, France Five. He was awarded the UK Environment Film Fellowships twice for his films, 'The Future Beneath Our Feet' and 'The Final Tide'. He is currently working on a film 'Living for the Dead' for NHK Japan, a commission through the Asian Pitch 2010.

  Dr T V Venkateswaran
Scientist E & Head of Audio Visual Department, Vigyan Prasar

Having obtained his graduation in mathematics and postgraduate degree in History and a P.G. Diploma in S&T communication, Dr Venkateswaran was awarded Ph.D. by Tamil University, Thanjavour for his thesis 'Popular perception of Science during the late Nineteenth Century Colonial Tamil Nadu'. He started his career as science writer and was instrumental in founding a popular science monthly 'Thulir' in Tamil, and subsequently took to teaching and instituted a postgraduate course on science and development communication at C-DIT, Trivandrum. Presently he studies Science & Media interactions and also the way modern S&T impinge on our everyday life. He regularly publishes research papers on the public understanding of science. He has been active in the civil society, especially in taking science to the people. His research interest includes history of science popularization in Tamil nadu and critically examining the part played by science communication in fabrication of varied worldviews, in particular in Indian cultural cosmos.

  Nishant Pagare
Head Acquisition & Distribution, Syncline Filmstore

Nishant is a Post Graduate in Advertising and Marketing from Xaviers Institute of Communications, Mumbai. After a brief fling with Advertising as a visualiser, he shifted to a more satisfying tryst with the production of wildlife documentaries and learning the ropes of non-fiction programming by hands on experience in the field. He is largely associated with the production of non-fiction television programming and audio visual communication for international broadcast as well as corporate clients. Nishant also handles the acquisition & distribution of content for Syncline FilmStore, a 6 year old film distribution initiative specializing in online distribution of documentary films on and about India's vast cultural diversity. Besides his designing and TV programming work, Nishant also serves as a Trustee for the Academy of Electronic Arts (AeA), New Delhi, a learning, sharing, mentoring, networking and empowering institution that evolves continuously to inclusively address all e-Creative Practices & Practitioners.

  Maryam Fatima
Magic Lantern Foundation

Having graduated from St Stephens’ College with a degree in English Literature, Maryam Fatima went on to do her master’s in Media and Cultural Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Deeply passionate about questions of development as well as those of narrative and storytelling, she has sought to bring her two loves – films and development/human rights – together in all of her ventures. Among other things, she has worked on a Maharashtra State Government project, which formulated a development plan for a slum on Mumbai’s periphery. She is currently employed with Magic Lantern Foundation, trying to explore the many ways in which documentaries can bring multiple realities of development, human rights, gender and governance to the fore.

  Monica Rawat
Product Manager, Marketing, TATA Sky

Monica is a marketing communication professional with over 8 years of experience that also includes content creation, acquisition & management. She holds a Masters degree in TV Production from Bournemouth Media School and a post graduate diploma in Journalism from IIMC. She has been involved in setting up and launching Video-on-Demand service for Jet Airways and is currently working as a Product Manager with Tata Sky. Her current portfolio includes new product development, content strategy and production for all services offered by Tata Sky.