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About Joshka Wessels






Latest News


Spring 2007

Expanding our services

With our new office in the Netherlands close to Brussels, we will officially serve as the BENELUX liaison for the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) of the University of Wolverhampton.


We are also expanding our services and expertise to training and consultancy. Environmental documentary production will remain our core service. However, in recent years we have extended our services to training for example in audiovisual communication and the use of digital video for development and action research. Increasingly, we delivered services in teaching media and communication at higher educational level for MSc and PhD students as well as mid-term professionals.


Next to that we have as well been involved in consultancies such as our expert service for the EU-funded FOGGARA project led by IPOGEA for the last 3 years.


“The Beloved Ones” released and ready to be screened at the Cannes Short Film corner in May

Our latest short film is released in March and produced with support of the UK-Filmcouncil agency Screen West Midlands. It is now registered for the Cannes Short Film Corner in May 2007. “The Beloved Ones” is an animated documentary directed by renowned animator Samantha Moore from Shrewsbury and produced by Joshka Wessels. The film tells the stories of two African women living with the repercussions of HIV/AIDS in a compelling and intimate portrait. 16 year-old Maureen survives with her only sister after she lost her parents. HIV positive Anna is preparing her children for her own eminent death. The film weaves their emotive stories together in a visual narrative. Well-known UK actresses Josette Simon, OBE (Blake’s 7) and Lenora Crichlow (Sugar Rush, Ch4) voiced the main characters of the film. 


“Nor any Drop to Drink” released and to be screened this June at an opening ceremony with HRM King Abdullah of Jordan

Sapiens Productions has released its latest environmental documentary called “Nor Any Drop to Drink”. Four filmmakers from Jordan, Egypt and Palestine find out how local people and institutions on the ground work together in solving the water scarcity. The film is made in close collaboration and with support of the International water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) and the Empowers partnership and Zer0-M project.  It is distributed by the Television trust for the Environment (TVE). Its first screening in the region will take place in April during the MEDA-water partners conference in Tunisia. In Amman, Jordan, the film will shown during the opening ceremony of the “Water is everybody’s business” forum in June, 2007. This high profile event will bring together water experts from all over the world to discuss local water governance and policies for the Middle East.


“Above Board” DVD distributed to more than 5000 viewers worldwide

The DVD called “Above Board” was distributed to more than 5000 viewers worldwide in December 2006. The DVD produced for CIDT and DFID aims to inform timber traders about the benefits of legal timber trade. The DVD was made in collaboration with TVE who provided archive footage and endorsed by the Timber Trade Federation.


Using digital video for Process Documentation of the SWITCH project, upcoming training in Lodz, Poland

In July 2007, Sapiens Productions will lead the training component on using digital video for process documentation to stakeholders of the SWITCH project. The objective of the training workshop on ‘Process documentation for learning alliances and action research’ is to equip participants with the necessary skills to undertake high-quality and innovative documentation of learning and change processes. The SWITCH project aims to achieve a paradigm shift in urban water management to get sustainable, healthy and safe urban water systems. SWITCH is a consortium of 32 organisations from 13 countries under coordination of UNESCO-IHE in partnership with the European Union - DG Research.


This paradigm shift will be realized by a consortium of 32 organisations from 13 countries under coordination of UNESCO-IHE in partnership with the European Union - DG Research.


Nepalese and Bhutanese scientists get to grips with digital video in Wageningen, the Netherlands

In December 2006, a group of Nepalese and Bhutanese forestry professionals got to grips with a digital video camera for use in their work at their respective Forestry Institutes. For CIDT we delivered a short training course on the use of digital video for Quality Assurance and project/ programme documentation within the framework of the EU-funded AsiaLink programme.


Another successful Media and Communication unit for the Chevening Course by CIDT, Wolverhampton, UK

For the second time in a row Joshka Wessels led this year’s Media and Communication unit for the Chevening course on “Environmental Democracy and Governance” given by the CIDT at the University of Wolverhampton (UK). The unit was delivered together with communication specialist Tag McEntegart. The module guided the Chevening Fellows, who are supported by the British Council, through the practicalities of devising an environmental communication strategy. The Chevening Course takes place at CIDT annually from January until March. The students all expressed that they had learned a lot during the unit and enjoyed the mix of theory and above all practical exercises.   


Meeting in Florence decides on publication of the FOGGARA Project

Over the past three years, Joshka Wessels has been serving as a consultant expert for the EU-funded project FOGGARA led by IPOGEA, Italy. The project aims to maintain and revitalize the

ancient technique of drainage tunnels in the Mediterranean through innovative solutions. For this project she has travelled to the partner countries Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Italy since 2004. A final meeting last February decided to publish the results and outcomes of the FOGGARA project by mid-2007. Also a DVD will be produced by Sapiens Productions to show various tunnel sites in the partner countries.



Spring 2006

“Launch of DVD on legal timber trade”

“ABOVE BOARD, trading legal timber” is to be distributed to critical players in the field of policy and regulation on worldwide timber trade. CIDT and TVE announced that they are going to start the worldwide distribution of this DVD that has appeared in 8 different languages; English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and special versions of Chinese and Russian. Copies of the DVD are free of charge and can be ordered at


“One year anniversary of FLAKES contribution !”

Since one year, Joshka Wessels takes part in an innovative web-based visual art project called FLAKES. She has been taken a digital picture every day of her personal life and posted it on the web. Flakes is an experiment in expressing identity. All the participating artists frame their daily existence through the lens of a camera and share these images to celebrate times passed.


April 2006

“BBC Shropshire features work of Joshka Wessels on local TV and the web”

The local TV of Shropshire, the beautiful county where Sapiens Productions is based, has featured some of the work of Joshka Wessels on their trial of local digital television. Check out the feature with director’s comments on her various films on BBC Shropshire TV


November 2005

“Sapiens productions ventures into interactive DVD production”

Sapiens productions has been commissioned to produce the UK version of a DVD on illegal timber trade for the Department of International Development (DFID-UK) in collaboration with CIDT and TVE. 5000 copies are to be distributed in spring 2006.


August 2005

“Tunnel  Vision wins award at Czech Film Festival ³Water, Sea & the Oceans, 2005”

 The TVE Earth Report Documentary "Tunnel Vision" Produced by Sapiens Productions has won the Prize of the North Bohemian Research Library at the International Filmfestival "Water, Sea & the Oceans", 2005



July 2005

“ON AIR: Darfur, Earth, Wind and Fire”

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur is said to be the biggest in the world today. More than 2.4 million people are hungry and some 1.8 million people are displaced. The Sudanese province of the size of France is still deeply entrenched in a complex civil war. Animals, both wild and domestic, have fled or died, the landscape is bare. What is often not covered is that Darfur has known a steady decrease in rainfall over the past 40 years with an unprecedented population growth and a man-made desertification that is creeping South. Competition over land and water between farmers and nomads grew tenser year by year. Was this a breeding ground for the current conflict?

In this programme, Earth Report goes behind the frontlines in Darfur, travelling into rebel-controlled areas to explore the relationship between the current Darfur crisis and the continuing impoverishment of the environment.
This film was made available throught the Zayed  Foundation Award to EARTH REPORT provided via Television Trust for the Environment (TVE)


June 2005

“Solace of Music” at BBC Big Screen Summer film Festival Birmingham

This month of June every weekday and Saturday at  10:00 a.m., BBC Big Screen will show our short-film “Solace of Music” about the struggle of Henry in Uganda who survives after loosing his father to HIV/AIDS. He is now coping with the news that his mother is found HIV positive. He finds solace in his music.

April 2005

Currently Sapiens productions’ crew is in Darfur, Sudan to film a television documentary about the ecological roots to the conflict. We will report for BBC radio Shropshire from El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.


23 November 2004

Hand-On Series Green Currents will be broadcast on 27 November on BBC News 24 and 29 November on BBC World. "Fishing for Litter" and "Finnish the Water" are two short films in the series that were directed and produced by Sapiens Productions.


18 November 2004

For the second consecutive year, Sapiens Productions together with Vista Foundation and The Amsterdam Institute for Global Issues and Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam gave an intensive course on the use of Digital Video for International Development Studies from 8-18 November. The course was attended by 6 PhD students of the Dutch CERES research group before they set off to do their fieldwork in various developing countries.


04 November 2004

As of Friday 05 November, the short film Solace of Music will be shown on the BBC Big Screen at Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. "The Solace of Music" is part of the film "River of Hope" produced by Sapiens Productions.


18 October 2004

The film "Tunnel Vision" has won the Skoda General Partner Award on the 30th Edition of the International Film Festival on the Environment and Natural and Cutlural Heritage "EKO film". The prize was given to the Director Joshka Wessels during a prize giving ceremony on 9th October in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.


26 August 2004

There are some upcoming festivals and they are showing films from Sapiens Productions !


"The Solace of Music" can be seen at:

Second TIC Short Digital Film Festival

13th and 14th September 2004

The thinktank theatre at Birmingham’s Millennium Point

United Kingdom


"Tunnel Vision" has been selected for two festivals and can be seen at:

The Ninth International Environmental Film Festival "Green Vision"

21-24 September 2004

St. Petersburg, Russia


30th International Film Festival on the Environment and Natural Cultural Heritage "EKOFILM 2004"    

4-10 October 2004

Czech Republic  


"Marooned" can be seen as well at:

30th International Film Festival on the Environment and Natural Cultural Heritage "EKOFILM 2004"    

4-10 October 2004

Czech Republic  


19 July 2004

The Syrian Qanat project in the news with a radio interview on site in



Swiss Info Website


16 June 2004


Some reactions on the film “River of Hope

 Child-to –Child fund

The general conclusion was that this was a good production that can serve its intended audiences and functions as facilitating tools . there is a quality to this film that may make it a good tool to support advocacy in certain areas with people at policy/decision making levels and raise the awareness about actual realities, extend the vision of professionals about integral approaches, demonstrate the high potential at community level to maintain some form of normalcy.


HelpAge International

We felt that the children were really great and were pleased to see a video made from their perspective. It is refreshinh to hear children’s voices and see situations through their eyes without interpretation by adult voices/actors. We also liked the  use of a river as analogous of the life story. We liked the way the video was split into sections and felt this added clarity to the messages of each part.


20 April 2004


Some reactions on the film “Marooned”


Dear Joshka,


It is very GOOD ...  Well scripted and clearly presented.  In fact it is the best multi-faceted synoptic presentation I have seen on Suriname to date.  A splendid overview of the situation here - and it's a fact, perhaps only you, with your sympathies and insights could have done so much in 23 short minutes.  Congratulations to you and Robert Lamb - a splendid job well done.


Sean Taylor





Cornelli Olivieri was mentioned on the Earth Report about Surinam last

night, the 23 march on BBC World.


Could you please pass on a short note of congratulations and thanks.

Thanks for being the inspiration to carry on the work of trying to do

something to make the world a better place. I am working for marine

ecosystems and fish populations but I have found a lot of strength over

time in the women's entrepreneurial world and her passion, commitment,

courage and determination were a strong burst of energy into my life

this week!


As someone who has seen the destruction of Malaysian and Indonesian

tropical rainforest first hand, and from a young age, and experienced

primary rainforest up close also, I truly hope Surinam holds out for

longer term gain of keeping their rainforests.  Send some government

types to Papua New Guinea or Malaysia or Indonesia and show them what

results when cyanide damages rivers, hills erode and the forests are

gone. The people are a lot poorer in the long term.


Again, thank you


Kia Kaha Toa Wahine (Which is Maori for Stand strong, strong Women. I

am from New Zealand)





Dear Sir

After watching your program entitled 'Marooned' on BBC world on the

23rd March 2004, and after following up research on both the BBC world

and your websites, I was wondering whether you would be able to send

me contact details for Ms Monique Essed-Fernandes. I read with much

interest her report entitled: The Government of Suriname and China

Zhong Heng Tai Investment Company - Strategy Briefing for a

Comprehensive Oil Palm Exploration Agreement

I would also very like to contact the Chinese company involved, China

Zhong Heng Tai Investment Company.


I have a great interest in the timber industry and protecting the

world forests from exploitation, and your report really did grab my

attention, and I would like to discuss the issues in it with both Ms

Monique Essed-Fernandes and representatives from China Zhong Heng Tai

Investment Company.


Thanks you for a great program.


Kind regards and thanks


Ron Rutland

Orbital Solutions






I'm a civil engineer and worked on a gold mine in Tanzania..we got Buhemba Gold mine up and running..I happened to watch your program about Gold mines in Suriname and was wondering why don't these firms starting up mines there..issue shares so that locals can have a stake in a lot of resistance arises when locals feel that they are born in a mineral rich country but don't have a chance to share in its opinion


Anyway I left Tanzania to return to do further studies...I strongly feel

whether the locals can raise cash for shares issued or not..they should be given the chance




Isaac Omara




Dear Earthreport,


Congratulations! Excellent coverage. Clearly, the surinam forest people should be allowed to maintain their environment as best they can. Economic development really has no place with such pure people.


As it may be necessary for them to survive however, cottage

industries should be encouraged.


They should have some education about architecture and the

history of agriculture, architecture and art from the West and the rest of the world and be exposed to visions of Western development to strengthen their resolve (unfortunately)


When you come to a place and a people as pure, friendly, happy

and welcoming there is no place for interference of any form, unless

survival is brought into question. Vanity, excessive profit and industrialization are inappropriate, ancient or historical rights

of ownership in such societies is valid.


Yours impressed


David J Madden




Dear Joshka


I saw the film on BBC News 24.  A very interesting introduction to a part of the world I know nothing about. Congratulations




Professor Carole Rakodi

International Development Department

School of Public Policy

University of Birmingham



18 March 2004

A compilation from the film "River of Hope" will be screened 25th March 2004 at the "home grown" programme series at the Old Market Hall Cinema, a newly established Digital Media Centre in the Old town of Shrewsbury.


16 March 2004

The film "Marooned" to be broadcast to more than 200 million viewers worldwide at BBC News24, BBC One and BBC World ! World and UK premiere

20 March 2004: BBCNews24 16:30 p.m. GMT;

21st March 2004: BBC One 05:30 a.m. GMT “Marooned” will appear 5 times on BBC World in the week of March 22-28 in the award winning Earth Report series of Television Trust for the Environment (TVE). For latest information check out TVE’s website Earth Report is broadcast weekly on BBC World at the following times GMT: Mon 22:30; Tue 02:30, 09:30, 17:30; Sat 19:30; Sun 07:30 Please note: Broadcasts vary in different parts of the world. Check details for your region at


11 December 2003

OneWorld TV in collaboration with MTV broadcasts “Moureens’ Memorybook” a PSA produced by Sapiens Productions on the struggle of African children who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS to survive in the poor rural areas. Please visit One World


01 December 2003

Journeyman Pictures, London's leading independent distributor of topical news features and documentaries has announced our 52-minute documentary "Little Waterfall" about ancient water tunnels in Syria as Film of the Week. See


24 November 2003

"David Morley, a man with vision" Charity Infomercial about Teaching-aids At Low Costs (TALC) Planned Broadcast: The Community Channel. A personal portrait of David Morley, the founder of Teaching-aids At Low Costs (TALC), a UK-based Charity that provides and distributes teaching equipment for students, doctors and health workers in developing countries worldwide.


20 November 2003

Sapiens Productions received a commission for an Earth Report called  "Wholesale Forest" for Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) 

Planned Broadcast: BBC World, News24 and BBC One.

A film about the beautiful country Surinam. Located in the Amazonian basin and with  90% of its landsurface still covered with the most pristine rainforest on Earth, it is truly a nature lovers' Paradise.....but covetous eyes are staring at it......Watch this space !


23 September 2003

From 10-17 September, Sapiens Productions together with Vista Foundation and The Amsterdam Institute for Global Issues and Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam gave an intensive course on the use of Digital Video for International Development Studies. The course was attended by 10 PhD students of the Dutch CERES research group before they set off to do their fieldwork in various developing countries.


16 August 2003

The Sapiens Production Crew is currently filming in Surinam, a former Dutch colony.  This tugged away country on the south American continent has a tremendous wealth in biodiversity covered with 90% pristine  rainforest.  The four yearly Carifesta Festival is happening in the capital, Paramaribo. For seven days, all Caribbean countries come together to celebrate the cultural diversity of this part of the world. Also we’re filming issues on logging threat by a dodgy Chinese multinational as opposed to sustainable use of the forest and voices that are speaking out against this non-selective logging.


07 July 2003

The film "Little Waterfall" has received a special commendation at the RAI Ethnographic Film Festival. From 4-6 July, the prestigious filmfestival of the Royal Anthropological Institute took place at Durham University, United Kingdom. In the category “Material Culture and Archaeology”, the film “Little Waterfall” won a commendation of the jury. Courageous filming, beautiful sequences and charisma of the main character well impressed the jury that stated that “the love and passion for cultural heritage is very well displayed in the message of the film”.  More information


17 June 2003

I think the CCATH video is SUPERB. It is really powerful and allows the children and adults to speak for themselves. I find it intensely moving - and a brilliant and sensitive piece of anthropological work - and excellent editing.


Rachel Carnegie, Healthlink Worldwide


02 June 03


I watched it the other evening and found it EXCELLENT! And the prominent

role of Sister Agnes was a funny surprise, just after having visited her.


Mabrouk again,

Pedro van Zwahlen

Swiss Embassy Damascus


17 April 2003



ROBERT LAMB, Executive Producer TVE


16 April 2003

After the halted broadcast due to the war on Iraq, BBC world had decided it

was timely that the Earth Report programme "Tunnel Vision" is broadcast TODAY. On

short notice BBC World gave the following days for repeats:


Thursday 17th April @ 16:30

Friday 18th April @ 12:30

Sunday 20th April @ 10:30




11 April 2003

We are both so delighted with the way the CCATH video has developed. You have done a superb job - which only an anthropologist film maker could achieve. We are extremely fortunate to have you for this task. I really look forward to working with you on its completion.


Rachel Carnegie & Christiana Brown

Healthlink Worldwide


14 March 03

Sapiens Productions is happy to announce the broadcast on BBC World of TVE's Earth Report "Tunnel Vision" as output of the project on the scientific documentary of Qanats in Syria.  In Syria, the first broadcast will take place on 25th March 2003 at 11:30 a.m.Please, check for latest listings.