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Book: Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker


"Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in An Industry Where Ratings Are King" will be released in March 2015!

Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in
an Industry Where Ratings Are King
is available at your favorite bookseller or
(paperback) ISBN 978-1-938954-05-4
(e-book) ISBN 978-1-938954-06-1

"I haven't always lived up to my responsibilities as a filmmaker. I've been as guilty of fabricating phony wildlife scenes as those I now criticize. That's just the way it is done in this industry, and I'm ashamed of how long it took me to realize this practice was wrong. Now, as you will see in this book, much worse things are being done in the chase for ratings."

"I am writing this book to try to change the industry by being open about my own challenges and failings as a human being and as a filmmaker. I want to show the complexities of making wildlife films in an ethical manner. It is not easy to pull back the curtain on the industry's failures—and even harder to reveal my own—but I believe the time has come for wildlife filmmaking to move in a healthier direction. We, as a society, cannot afford the malignant race for ever higher ratings to further corrupt the quality of these programs. I believe that wildlife filmmakers have at our disposal one of the greatest tools ever conceived to sway public opinion—a tool so powerful that, with its influence, we can actually change the future for all life on this planet. Film gives us the potential opportunity to educate and inspire every single viewer to move closer to nature and to treat the other inhabitants of this planet with more dignity and respect. Let's seize this opportunity." —Preface from the author, Chris Palmer

Jane Goodall

"CHRIS PALMER HAS WRITTEN a very important book. There is no question but that wild life films have played a major role in raising awareness about the natural world. For many people, watching these films is the only chance they have of glimpsing some of the amazing things that go on in nature. After watching film of elephants playing in a river or a chimpanzee mother gently grooming her infant, viewers will be far more prepared to want to conserve and protect these and other animals and their habitats. Indeed, as Chris says, wildlife films can be a very powerful tool in the effort to sway public opinion, as they can educate and inspire every viewer and encourage them to be more respectful of life on—earth."
—Foreword by Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &UN Messenger of Peace


Ted Danson
Advance Praise for Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker

"Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker reveals the scandalous misrepresentations in many television wildlife films. Since an increasing number of people obtain their information of the natural world from television and videos, it is important that we are able to know truth from deception. Chris Palmer's powerful new book is a must read for all who care about the natural world and the future of our planet."
Ted Danson, Actor and Environmentalist


Jean Michel Cousteau

"In a world where media holds enormous influence, Chris Palmer's book makes fascinating reading. He tells an alluringly honest and genuinely impactful story, while compassionately revealing the shortcomings of the environmental film industry. His goal—one I heartily support—is to inspire and empower the next generation to embrace ethical filmmaking."
Jean-Michel Cousteau, President, Ocean Futures Society


Dr. Sylvia Earle

"Those amazing "reality" shows and natural history documentaries! Are they fact or fantasy? Real or staged? Sensitive or indifferent to impacts on the animals being filmed and misinformation conveyed to an unwitting public? Are integrity, truth, and ethics being sacrificed by some to improve ratings? Who can be trusted? These timely issues are explored in this deeply personal saga by award-winning film producer Chris Palmer, who pulls no punches as he challenges the media and viewers alike to demand clarity, compassion, and honesty."
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Ocean Scientist and Explorer 

Dereck Joubert

"Chris's 'confessions' are an industry's collective confession where a quick study of the natural history line up on television for the week will confirm his findings. While shining a hard light on the wildlife filmmaking business, Chris's direct approach also reflects light on the path ahead. I hope that broadcasters, students of the craft, and audiences all read this book because the wildlife filmmaking industry is at a turning point as viewing habits change, and we all have the ability to steer it in a better direction. Like all creative industries, this is a revolving door of good ideas and bad ideas. I have almost never found a bad person in the business, but the pressure of chasing ratings forces good people to sometimes make bad decisions. Chris's confessions will ease the way for more ethical and good ideas to pass through those doors."
Dereck Joubert, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Filmmaker, Conservationist 

Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone

"Chris's book is important and timely–a call to arms for wildlife filmmakers to do better and be better. Read it, and take moral responsibility for how wildlife is portrayed. There has never been a more important time to make challenging, inspiring wildlife films."
Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone, Award-Winning Wildlife Filmmakers


To learn more about Confessions, or to find more information about Chris Palmer's publications, visit his personal site.

Pictures of the Confessions Book Release Event can be viewed here.

Video of the event can be viewed here.

Media and Press

Q&A with Chris Palmer

Reddit:IamA Wildlife Documentary Filmmaker AMA!

SOC professor Chris Palmer draws on his experiences as a wildlife film producer-An Interview

Readers’ Reviews about Confessions on

Piers Warren reviews Confessions on Wildlife Film News

takepart- Is That Wildlife Documentary Lying to You?

Psychology Today Article: Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: Misinformation & Abuse-A new book by Dr. Chris Palmer argues wildlife filmmaking worsens each year.

Earth Day Network Article: Looks Can be Deceiving—The Truth Behind Wildlife Filmmaking

Huffington Post Green Article: Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: Misinformation, Abuse, and a Need for Change

Jackson Hole News & Guide Article: A whistleblower decries abuse in wildlife films

Confessions Of A Wildlife Filmmaker: Misinformation And Abuse

redOrbit-Animal Planet filmmaker: Wildlife documentaries are often fabricated sensationalism

Natural History Network-Confessions of a Whistleblower: Chris Palmers new book could cause a stir

AU’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking kicks off spring film series with book launch
Chris Palmer - Author of Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King

Mother Nature Network-Fighting deception and lies in wildlife programming

IDA-When Wildlife Docs Harass: Ethics Required in Environmental Filmmaking Too