Out of Africa and Into the Spotlight: Bob Poole at the Sun Valley Film Festival 

click to enlarge Nat Geo filmmaker Bob Poole (left) talks with Boise Weekly screen guru George Prentice at the inaugural Salon of the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival. - MARK DAVIS, SVFF
  • Mark Davis, SVFF
  • Nat Geo filmmaker Bob Poole (left) talks with Boise Weekly screen guru George Prentice at the inaugural Salon of the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival.
Bob Poole is "out of Africa." Literally. He grew up there while his father served as a director of the Peace Corps and, later, the African Wildlife Foundation in eastern Africa. Poole's relationship with National Geographic began when he was a teen in the 1970s, helping film crews negotiate some of the most mysterious and dangerous terrain on the continent.

After a stateside education at Montana State University, Poole was anxious to return to Africa when National Geographic sent him on assignment as a cinematographer for the film Coming of Age with Elephants. Scores of awards later—including an Emmy—Poole is considered one of the best nonfiction filmmakers on the planet, with his work regularly featured on PBS, the BBC and more than 35 films for National Geographic Television.

It was fitting, then, that Nat Geo Wild hosted a conversation with Poole at the inaugural Salon of the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival. It helps that Poole also now calls Idaho home when he's not filming some of the world's most gorgeous, albeit illusive, creatures.

Poole is the man behind the PBS series Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise, chronicling the recovery of what many considered to be a "lost Eden."

Salon attendees got a rare glimpse March 16 of some of Poole's latest, and breathtaking, raw footage of cheetahs.

"You have to be committed to being with them every day, every night. They're among the fastest animals on the planet and the terrain is mind blowing," he said. "A lot of you may have seen cheetahs running across flat plains. But I promise you that these are some of the toughest landscapes in Africa."

If all goes as planned, Poole's latest project, with a working title of Cheetah Diaries, should get its world premiere in February 2017 during Nat Geo Wild's popular "Big Cat Week."


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