After filming wildlife and ecological stories in the programmes of ‘Fragile Earth’, I felt it really important to to film our relationship with nature through the eyes of people in close touch. For a while I’d had the growing feeling that there was a serious ‘disconnect’ between the world of conservation and the real needs of local people. Conservation of forests, it seemed to me, had no long term future without making sense to the very people whose forests they actually belonged to.
This led to the ideas behind the first ‘Baka’ film. What better than to film the forest through the eyes of people whose culture had been formed by the rainforest. To see the world of the rainforest through the eyes of the people whose world it actually was - to give the forest a human perspective. This was to take all three of us - I was joined by Lisa Silcock and Mike Harrison – on an extraordinary journey that was to last two years, from November 1984 through to September 1986.
A Baka Family
From our very first meeting, it was obvious that Likano's family were special
It took us three months of searching, going to almost every Baka village in the forests of south-eastern Cameroun, before we found a Baka family through whom the story could be told. From our very first meeting, it was obvious that Likano and his wife Deni were special. But even more special was their little boy, Alime, or Ali for short.
A beautiful baby girl
"They called her 'Camera' because, so they said, I carried my film camera like a baby..."
It doesn’t seem so very long ago that we were filming the arrival of Ali’s little sister, Camera. And Ali’s reaction to her, that was to leave a world entranced….
Babu goes hunting
Babu who is still a craftsman today, made his crossbow. Sadly there are now very few animals left for him to hunt.
104-Minute Program for Channel 4, National Geographic & Canal+ (1986)