Doncaster man and his daughter win awards for nature films shot in their back garden

Most people have spent more time than normal in their gardens this year but one man from Doncaster went the extra mile and created films based on the birds and squirrels who reside in his.

By Laura Andrew
Monday, 19th April 2021, 10:07 am

Dean Sills noticed squirrels in his garden in the first national lockdown and started filming them.

“We put out feeders and bottles that they had to figure out how to get into,” Dean said.

“It was enjoyable to watch them.

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Dean and Rebecca Sills.

“We ended up with three hours of footage that we then cut into a five minute film.”

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Dean who is from Mexborough works as an actor so was not able to work during the pandemic.

His daughter Rebecca is a university student who has been studying from home.

Dean filmed birds from a tent in his garden.

Meaning both had more time to focus on their new film making hobby.

Dean’s friend Steve Call helped to edit and add music to the film.

They named their film The Wild Garden.

They have so far been selected in 19 film festivals across the world from Brazil to Japan and have even won some awards.

They have won some big awards for their films.

“We won Best Documentary at the Best Istanbul Film Festival in Turkey,” Dean who is 52 said.

“We also won Best Cinematography Documentary Film at the Sweden Film Awards.”

They also won Best Film on Nature, Environment and Wildlife at the Tagore International Film Festival in India and the Best Poster Design at the Los Angeles Motion Picture Festival.

Due to the success of their first film they have continued to make back garden shorts.

Their next project was all about birds.

“My neighbours must think I’m crazy,” he said.

“I sit in a tent in the garden and film the birds.

“We’ve had blue and grey tit’s, robins and pigeons.”

Dean said that he and his daughter are big wildlife fans and it was nice to focus on something positive during a difficult time.

Their next project will be based around a garden pond throughout the seasons.

They will film frogspawn turning into tadpoles and frogs.

As well as watch how the flora changes through time.

Dean hopes it will be completed by the end of the summer.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden editor.