MPG Films

PROFILE

Mark has been fascinated by the natural world from a very early age, keeping birds and insects ‘Gerald Durrell style’ in captivity for many years. Alongside his enjoyment for art he embarked on a lifelong ambition to combine both interests through film & photography.

With a photographic hobbyist for a father it didn’t take Mark long, at the age of 11, to start experimenting with the family’s movie cameras – including super 8 film, the very first video camcorders and his father’s own stills camera -filming and photographing anything that moved with a particular affinity for all things small and spectacular in the bird and insect world.

By the time he studied photography at ‘O’ level, Mark had his own SLR stills kit & darkroom to process and print his own photographs. After ‘A’ level studies, Mark then spent a year gaining work experience as a photo journalist on a local newspaper and assisting at a commercial photographic studio. The rest of his time was spent experimenting with photographic styles and subjects from the abstract to pure natural history with both film & stills. This portfolio of work gained him acceptance on a photography, film & tv degree course at Harrow College of Art & Design where his interest in filmmaking really developed.

Mark’s final year was spent gaining advice from industry experts and experimenting in both wildlife film & photography. This culminated in his final year degree project ‘Chain Reaction’ a thought provoking environmental movie.

After successfully graduating, an original drive towards commercial photography became refocused after attending and screening his final year degree film at Wildscreen in 1988. Two years employment followed at the RSPB film unit under the guidance of Jeffery Boswall giving Mark direct experience with wildlife filmmaking from occasional camera work to film logging in the unit library. While still only 24, Mark’s major breakthrough came along to field assist established wildlife cameramen for two years on a film about Goshawks in Kielder forest, for Hugh Miles & Mike Richards. This gave a precious opportunity to learn field craft, disciplines and camerawork from those at the very top of the industry.

From then on it was a steady upward grind learning all the while, starting his own business, negotiating finance for his first ‘real’ film camera (an old Arri BL), getting two successful tranches of financial help from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust to upgrade camera kit and then a few years later a more serious bank loan to buy his work horse camera for over 14 years; an Arri high-speed SR3. From then on an amazing amount of varied work opportunities were offered year after year, never stopping, with Mark rarely setting foot back home.

Ever since, Mark has evolved with the industry. It has been the variety employed in wildlife filmmaking ; the changing styles, formats, cameras, techniques, special effects, lighting and storylines, as well as the diversity of species studied –  the challenge of applied photography, which has appealed so much to Mark and it continues to this day with the creation of mpgfilms ltd.

As much at home waiting patiently in a hide for 10 hours, as filming macro of butterflies in the field, to lighting large studio sets, Mark has gained (since those early years playing with Super 8 film!) a huge & unique range of filming experience in countries all over the world.