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Treat for wildlife enthusiasts

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P. Oppili

`Queen of trees' film to be screened on Saturday at Book Point auditorium

CHENNAI: Wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers in the city can look forward to an exciting time this weekend. Nature Quest, a non-governmental organisation involved in creating awareness of wildlife among the public, is screening a film titled `Queen of Trees'.

The story revolves around a fig tree in Kenya, and describes how and why a variety of birds, animals and insects depend on it.

`Queen of Trees' was filmed and produced by wildlife filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone.

Talking about the film, Shekar Dattatri of Nature Quest said the fig tree and the fig wasp differ in size a billion times over but cannot exist without the other. Their extraordinary relationship is a splendid example of co-evolution and the basis of a complex web of dependency that supports animals from ants to elephants.

Each fig is a microcosm a stage set for birth, sex and death as the tiny players battle against predators and parasites to fulfil their mission. It is one of the most amazing stories in the natural world - a tale of intrigue and drama, set against grand Africa and its wildlife, Mr. Dattatri said.

The filmmakers

Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone's wildlife filmmaking partnership was formed in 1984. Their films are personal, authored documentaries that typically take two to three years for completion.

They both produce, direct, write and shoot their films, which are made entirely on location, working out of remote bush camps. Both Mark and Victoria are versatile cinematographers, qualified pilots and divers. Both are as at home underwater filming crocodiles as they are shooting aerials or filming minute insects while perched high on a tree. They were married in 1992 and have two sons who have been home-schooled in the bush. Their films have achieved global recognition with over 100 international awards, including an Emmy and two Peabodys.

`Queen of Trees' will be screened on Saturday at 6.45 p.m. at the Book Point auditorium on Anna Salai.

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