Cape Town-based wildlife filmmaker Sophie Vartan, founder, CEO, MD and executive producer of NHU Africa, will be leaving the company at the end of December 2011 to move back into freelance production.
The position of head of NHU Africa will be filled internally by Donfrey Meyer, effective from 1 January 2012.

Meyer has been with for 10 years. He was a producer in the Creative Services Department before setting up the Values Campaign Unit three years ago. He is currently completing an MBA at the University of Cape Town.

“I am thrilled for Donfrey,” says Vartan, “The NHU Africa team is incredibly supportive and will help him to find his feet as quickly as possible to ensure the smooth running of the company.

“But I am obviously sad to say goodbye to everyone I have worked with for so long. I am extremely proud of where we have taken NHU Africa and the great things we have achieved together in a short amount of time. I will miss the team dearly and look back with many fond memories and of course a lot of laughter. It has been an incredible journey but I am extremely excited about producing my own work again.”

Vyv Simson will continue as NHU Africa’s commissioning editor and executive producer, while Géta Palm (head of Production) will oversee all commissions and in-house productions.

Vartan founded NHU Africa in 2006 with CEO Marcel Golding, while running her own wildlife production company, Dewclaw Productions. She created an institution for African wildlife filmmakers to submit ideas, acquire funding for films, be inspired, network , co-produce and make a name for themselves on the international market.

Since 2006, Vartan has executive produced over 150 hours of wildlife programming within NHU Africa, including a 3D documentary on Nile crocodiles currently in production. Her titles from NHU Africa have been nominated for over 40 international awards, including an International Emmy Award for the boundary-breaking documentary, The Foster Brothers’ Into the Dragons Lair, and several titles have won 12 internationally recognised film awards.

Vartan also founded the Wildlife Film Academy ( in 2005 which has inspired and trained over 280 students.

In addition Vartan set up the internationally recognised Wild Talk Africa Film Festival and Conference ( She also formed a partnership with the Natural History Museum of London to bring the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition to South Africa, allowing South Africans to enjoy some of the best wildlife photography in the world in what is now a highly-popular, well established annual event run at the Iziko Museum in Cape Town.

Shani van Straaten will be heading up Wild Talk Africa Film Festival and Conference and any queries regarding marketing and events can be directed to

Source: Screenafrica