grantees » Dana Bonilla, 1986

Dana Bonilla, Peru

Dana develops, directs, films and produces short and medium-length environmental documentaries to document grassroots conservation across Peru, focusing on the personal story behind the conservation initiatives. To that end, she travels with the Conservamos por Naturaleza team to remote locations in the country. Conservamos por Naturaleza is an initiative of the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law which supports private and community-based conservation areas in order to foster grass-roots conservation in Peru and citizen involvement in conservation.

Dana has developed a new style of environmental documentary-making in Peru. She has created over 30 videos, which have been viewed more than 62,000 times and projected at more than 150 events reaching up to 10,000 people, as well as four 30-minute documentaries broadcasted to an audience of 2 million people. She has set a new standard on how to use audio-visual storytelling to communicate about conservation and environmental sustainability. the videos have been more successful in garnering public support for conservation than any other form of communication, attracting funds, tourists and collaborators for the conservation areas.

Dana’s aim with the JWH grant is to improve her script-writing abilities by visiting a 8-month script-writing course at a well-known film-school in Barcelona, Spain. The abilities she develops in this course will not only make it possible for her to improve her environmental short films, it would also allow her to take the step towards creating full-length feature films. In a full-length environmental documentary, focused on the people behind conservation, she will need the ability to capture the audience’s attention for over an hour.

Dana’s role as a Peruvian environmental film-maker goes beyond the immediate effects of her work. She is in the unique position of being one of very few Peruvian women telling the stories of other Peruvians, in a style she developed on her own. Moreover during the 8 months in Barcelona, she wants not only to improve her skills in script-writing, but also learn from other professionals in order to further boost the potential impact of her work in Peru and create a collaborative network to train conservationists on how to tell their stories on a more engaging way. 

Nominated by

Bruno Monteferri Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (Peruvian Society for Environmental Law) Peru.