The power of pictures: filmmaker joins team of IUCN Ambassadors

07 November 2011 | News story

Swedish filmmaker and photographer Mattias Klum joins IUCN’s growing team of Goodwill Ambassadors to help spread the nature conservation message worldwide.

Mattias started taking photos in his teens and has worked as a freelance photographer since 1986 and as a cinematographer and director on numerous film and television projects since 1994.

Mattias Klum established the company Tierra Grande with his wife and colleague Monika Klum to inspire people to make a difference. Tierra Grande works through films, books, exhibitions, lectures and social media to spread environmental and social messages.

“The world is on fire, and when we embody that, we create a spark in people’s eyes,” says Mattias. “We go behind the scenes and tell the story within the story.”

Klum aims to portray the beauty, fragility and threats found in our world today and to inspire people to act towards a sustainable future.

“The future of our planet depends upon our taking responsibility and shifting our behaviour patterns to live in harmony with nature and society,” says Mattias. “Our programmes instill not only awareness and hope, but the emotional connection needed on an individual level to cause this shift to happen. Our success can be measured when those we have reached are empowered to champion the issues and take visible steps towards creating a sustainable environment.”

In 2007 Klum helped establish Tierra Grande Publishing; the non-profit organization Terra Magna Foundation and Expedition Sweden, a five-year environmental project for young adults in Sweden. He is spending the next 10 years documenting efforts to save the Baltic Sea, focusing on the decision-making processes for environmental, scientific and political issues. The aim is to produce a television documentary every other year in cooperation with public service broadcasters across the region and a feature film in 2017.

Klum’s film credits include: Borneo’s Rainforest and The Brittle Thread, a documentary about Asia’s last lions, Searching for the Giant Sea Eagle, a Wild Chronicles segment for National Geographic Channel; and The Linnaeus Expedition and the political documentary For Cod’s Sake, both co-produced with Folke Rydén. He released two new films in 2011: The Testament of Tebaran, a Penan elder’s plea to end deforestation in Borneo, and The Coral Eden, which highlights the importance of biodiversity from one of the Earth’s last untouched coral reef havens.

Klum has undertaken many expeditions spanning the globe and his work has been featured in prestigious international publications. In 1997 National Geographic published his photographs for the first time and he was the first Swede to have his work on the cover. He has since produced multiple articles and nine cover stories for the reputable magazine.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with Mattias Klum,” says IUCN Director General, Julia Marton Lefèvre. “He travels to all corners of the globe using the power of images and films to convey critical messages that are central to the vision of IUCN—a just world that values and conserves nature.”

“To me, IUCN is the mother NGO for conservation in the world. As a filmmaker, photographer and conservationist, it’s a true privilege to be affiliated with this organization, working to sustain a healthy planet with conservation projects on so many levels. I look forward to a powerful collaboration,” says Mattias.

During his career Mattias Klum has received numerous awards and grants for his work. In 2008 he was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. His Majesty the King of Sweden granted him with a medal of the 8th grade with blue ribbon for his important contributions as a nature photographer. Today, Klum is also a member of the Board of Trustees of WWF Sweden, a Senior Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a fellow of National Geographic Society and The Linnean Society of London.

For more information contact:
Brian Thomson, Deputy Director, IUCN Global Communications, brian.thomson@iucn.org