Last week saw the screening of the Leica supported film Skyward, at the Leica Gallery London.

Produced by Jessica Bishopp and directed by Laura Schacham, the film follows two young birdwatchers, Leica Ambassador Mya Bambrick and Arjun Dutta, as they raise awareness of conservation and climate change in their local areas, while navigating the challenges of coming of age.

The event was an opportunity to share this beautiful film, and discuss with the filmmakers and protagonists some of the key themes that were explored.

The evening began with some time to meet new faces and catch up with old friends, before Skyward was played to a full house, with guests including wildlife presenters Gillian Burke and Dan O’Neill.

After the screening there was a discussion chaired by Emmy-nominated producer and multimedia journalist Joi Lee. Joi is the Head of Editorial at Earthrise Studio, where she works on communicating the science behind the climate crisis through human-focused storytelling.

The panel included Skyward producer Jessica Bishopp, director Laura Schacham, Mya Bambrick and Arjun Dutta.

London-based Jessica is fascinated by subcultures and myth, as well as exploring universal themes embedded in our daily lives and thoughts. Her skill is in exposing the magic in the mundane.

Laura works with artists, filmmakers, organisations, agencies and charities to tell real stories, upend untruths, translate dreams and make work that provokes and pesters, as much as it delights.

Mya is a young naturalist, writer, wildlife photographer, and vlogger who grew up in Crawley, West Sussex. She is currently a student at Bournemouth University studying ecology and wildlife conservation. In her spare time she is a youth representative for the British Trust for Ornithology, a council member for Sussex Ornithological Society and Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group, an ambassador for BTO’s Garden Birdwatch Survey, and a trainee bird ringer.

Arjun is a prominent figure in the UK’s growing community of young birders. He is an ambassador for the Cameron Bespolka Trust, a young leader for the British Trust for Ornithology and a volunteer with the National Trust. Arjun is breathing life into London’s young birding scene by sharing his passion, new ideas, photography and writing. Born in India Arjun now lives in London.

Mya and Arjun talked about the community they had found within the birding world, how accessibility needs to be made a priority so that those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those who don’t feel welcome, are given the opportunity and encouragement to engage with the natural world. They also discussed how important it was to keep young people engaged with nature. It was interesting to hear how Mya and Arjun felt they had changed in the two years since Skyward was filmed, how their confidence has grown and their campaigning for the natural world has gone from strength to the strength.

A spotlight was also shone on the film’s spectacular sound scape, which provides an immersive experience, and Jessica and Laura talked about how important this element of the film was for them.

It was a truly inspiring evening, and Leica are very proud to have supported this stunning film which platforms true heroes of the natural world.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you watch it now over on The Guardian Documentaries:

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