About Gunjan M.
Gunjan Menon is a wildlife filmmaker, National Geographic Storytelling Explorer and conservation communicator from India, currently based in British Columbia, Canada. Her work includes writing, directing, and filming impact-driven stories, specifically in the human interest, conservation, and character-led natural history educational entertainment genre. She has written, shot and directed short films and TV series focusing on human-wildlife coexistence and conflict, some of the most endangered species on earth, and presenter-led wildlife expeditions.
Over the last ten years, she has been recognised with over 50 awards and nominations across 15 countries, including being shortlisted for a student BAFTA. Additionally, her work has been broadcast on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Disney+ Hotstar, BBC Earth, Seeker and other local Indian platforms. Two of her shorts have been selected for the Jackson Wild’s World Wildlife Day Film Showcase in partnership with CITES and the UNDP in 2020 and 2023. Gunjan holds a Master’s degree in Wildlife Filmmaking from the University of the West of England, Bristol, in partnership with BBC-NHU and during her years in Bristol, she directed and shot the critically acclaimed short film, ‘The Firefox Guardian’ in Nepal, which later became a part of the 3-part series ‘WildLives’. The film still travels to renowned film festivals, colleges and schools, starting a dialogue on ecofeminism, and raising funds for red panda conservation worldwide.
Gunjan’s work has taken her to the remotest corners — trekking at 12,000 feet in the Himalayan bamboo forests filming red pandas, traversing rainforests looking for endangered purple frogs and, among others, searching for extremely rare turtles in the mighty Brahmaputra. But sometimes, even filming engaging stories about bats in her backyard makes her happy. She also volunteers as a wildlife rehabber and strives to shift the limelight to lesser-known species and habitats. She authored a book for The Habitats Trust, highlighting grassroots conservationists and frontline warriors in India.
BBC Earth's Facebook Watch show, 'Close Encounters', featured her in their August 12th 2021 episode, and her conservation storytelling work has been covered in the Times of India, Sanctuary Asia, several podcasts, and magazines. She was the narrator for BBC’s impact campaign film pillars to support their landmark series, Frozen Planet II.
Gunjan is also a TEDx Speaker, 'Girls Who Click' partner photographer, leading workshops and seminars worldwide for emerging filmmakers on conservation storytelling and cinematography. She also occasionally volunteers as a wildlife rehabber and strives to shift the limelight to lesser-known species and habitats. She has been invited as a mainstage speaker to National Geographic Society’s Storytelling Summit 2023 to Washington DC, Jackson Wild in Austria, NEWF Congress in South Africa, and India Today Conclave in 2021 to discuss storytelling for change, climate mental health, and the state of environmental affairs in India. She has also been invited as a guest lecturer to schools and colleges globally.
In addition to her professional role as a storyteller, Gunjan is also a conservation communicator and storytelling mentor to emerging filmmakers and scientists, leading workshops on conservation filmmaking and science storytelling. She is a part of the Jackson Wild Advisory Council and was the recipient of the Jackson Wild Rising Star Award in 2020 for her extended impact in the field.
She is currently directing and presenting a series about backyard wildlife in Vancouver and two documentaries highlighting lesser-known species like rusty spotted cats and critically endangered freshwater turtles in India. Her latest work was as a Location Producer-Director in India for the Off the fence feature documentary, ‘The Letter, ’ which tells the story of a journey to Rome of frontline leaders to discuss the encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si' with Pope Francis.
In 2020, along with her partner, Saiyam Wakchaure, she co-founded ‘Beyond Premieres’, an organisation that hopes to build bridges between filmmakers and institutions working on the conservation frontline and harness the power of filmmaking to create a wave of change.