Simpa Samson is an Emmy Nominated, Cannes World & Morton Frank Award winning DP/Director. His work focuses on international development, health, and human rights, and He has DP Documentary for International Network such as: Bloomberg Original, Vice News, Aljazeera, CNN, Russia Today, Skoll Foundation, Morgan Stanley, Waterbear, RedfishMedia, Deutsche Welle (DW), and International Aid Organisation such as United Nation, Save The Children UK, UNOcha, World Health Organisation, World Food Program, UNICEF Geneva, INTERSOS, F.A.O, among others. Simpa Samson, was known for filming in hostile environments at the beginning of his careers there by making him have vast experience as a War Cameraman. He Operates around Africa and has a wide range of connections with fixers around Africa.
In 2023, Black Snow: Nigeria Oil Catastrophe, a documentary that Simpa DP/Directed for Bloomberg Quick take in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, got an Emmy Nomination, and also won him and the team a Morton Frank Award organised by Oversea Press Club of America.


Learn More about Simpa Samson in our Storyteller of the Month Spotlight Q&A below.

Africa is for us, and we know our culture, land and way of living better than any other person, so it’s really important that we tell a very good story with authenticity and message for the world at large to be able to see and relate.

Simpa Samson
Documentary FILMMAKER
How did you first become involved in animal/wildlife conservation filmmaking?
I became involved in Animal and wildlife After filming in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, and I saw what the crude oil that was supposed to be a blessing is now a curse to the land and marine life. And after that, I started looking for a project that I can tell to really draw attention to wildlife and animals. I presently have about three (3) Documentary treatments on wildlife and animals, and hoping I can get them funded and produced soon.
What inspired you to use film as a medium to raise awareness about bat conservation issues?
Film has always been the medium I use in expressing myself, and when the opportunity came for me to Direct and Film such a Documentary for Al-Jazeera, I took all the opportunity with both hands. I also have another film called Martha’s Delta which is currently on the Waterbear platform for free viewing.
Can you share a memorable experience or encounter you’ve had while filming in the wild?
One of my memorable experiences is how we were able to survive all the challenges the wild threw at us. During production of Bat Couple, Rain drenched I and the team as we make the 6 hours climb and when we finally got to where we set up camp, we had to dry ourselves and clothes with fire. It was a memorable and interesting experience.
How do you choose the locations for your filming projects, and what criteria do you consider?
I am not limited to location at all, I have filmed in some of the most dangerous places you can think of in Nigeria and some part of Africa, so for location, I can go anywhere, but for story, it has to be a story that will end up impacting life or drawing attention to some certain issues.
What challenges do you face as a wildlife conservation filmmaker, both logistically and emotionally?
I have encountered lots of challenges. Emotionally, it just breaks my heart whenever I see what we humans have done to wildlife. The physical demands of navigating the wild while carrying gears around, The uncontrollable weather, and I have also lost some of my important gear while filming in the wild.
During the production of Bat Couple, we hike over 6 hours climbing Afi Mountain in calabar and during our climb, we didn’t encounter any wild animal, that’s to tell you how much the people have hunted all the wildlife there and drove the rest into migration
Are there specific bat species or conservation issues that you are particularly passionate about featuring in your films?
Personally I am open to telling a lot of conservation issues, from marine and wildlife,  I am not particular about any, I am passionate about all round wildlife issues.
How do you balance the artistic aspects of filmmaking with the goal of conveying important conservation messages?
I have developed myself as a run and gun documentary filmmaker, and I have worked in several situations over and over again that when it comes to being creative, it now comes naturally, so basically during production I concentrate more on the core conversation message.
Could you highlight a successful conservation story that you’ve covered in your films and its impact on the environment?

All my conservation Documentaries stories are successful, from films such as: Martha’s Delta, The Black River, Black Snow: Nigeria oil Catastrophe, Bat Couple. And all of them have had a good impact, by making the local Community that we film in know the reason why they should protect nature.

For Martha’s Delta, the communities finally see the importance of planting back the mangrove and protecting them from being cut down.
Black Snow: Nigeria Oil Catastrophe, documentary, had a good impact by helping the state government of River finally sees the reason why the cleaning of the Ogoni land needs to be done quick and fast, and also why the modular refinery’s need to be up and running so as to prevent people from untimely death. (The documentary gave I and the Team an Emmy Nomination)
Bat Couple also had a significant impact, as it showed the people of Boki Community the significance of bats to the wild and also how important it is to control bush burning so as to not kill wildlife.
Simpa Samson on African Climate Stories
What role do you believe filmmaking plays in influencing public perception and action towards wildlife conservation?
 Filmmakers play a very key role in influencing public perception by showing and going into the heart of the problem and featuring wildlife and their habitats as central characters and settings, filmmaking can help to humanize and personalize the conservation message. This can help to raise awareness and empathy for the plight of endangered species and the importance of protecting their habitats
How do you collaborate with scientists, conservationists, and local communities to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of your films?
Collaborating with scientist will help filmmaker know and get the exact statistics in a particular case study that they want to do a Documentary on, while collaborating with conservationist will be able to let you know how the animal behaves, what to know about some particular species in question so as to get every information correctly and not deliver a false information to audience that will be watching the film. And for the local communities it is very important to have them collaborate and participate so that they will be able to teach other people and protect the wildlife for a very long time even after the film crew have left the community.
Any advice to emerging wildlife conservation storytellers in Africa? 
My advice to emerging wildlife storytellers in Africa is to tell an authentic story however little. Africa is for us, and we know our culture, land and way of living better than any other person, so it’s really important that we tell a very good story with authenticity and message for the world at large to be able to see and relate.




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