Nature (Season 34) – Soul of the Elephant

Production Bios of Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Air date: 10/14/2015

Production Bios of Dereck and Beverly Joubert



Dereck went to the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to study for a Bsc. in Geology and Land Surveying. Three years later while working as a geologist, he completed a diploma in Ecology and put that into effect in the Timbavati Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park, and then again later at the Mala Mala Game Reserve where he was a game ranger. It was here at Mala Mala that Dereck started to specialize in lion behavior. Beverly graduated from Anchor College.  Beverly met Dereck at Florida Park High School.

In 1981 Dereck and Beverly went to Botswana and fell in love with the wildness of the place. Dereck describes it as “a place where you can get lost and no-one would really care…or come looking for you. Going to Botswana for the first time was like coming home for me.” 
At first they worked for the Chobe Lion Research Institute and concentrated on research and photography. One day Dereck turned the Institute film camera on the hippos struggling in a river that was drying up. Dereck quickly discovered he had an aptitude for filming and the footage from that first day ended up in a National Geographic film they later produced called ‘The Stolen River’.  Dereck was also a cameraman on the BBC film The Long Night of the Lions’. While Dereck filmed, Beverly took to recording sound and photography and has continued to do so on all of their future films and projects together.

1985 their company, Wildlife Films, was formed in Botswana, and a subsidiary in South Africa. From here on out, their films have been produced under that label. ‘Journey to the Forgotten River’, ‘The Stolen River’, ‘Eternal Enemies’, ‘Reflections on Elephants’, ‘Patterns in the Grass’, ‘Wildlife Warriors’, ‘Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale’, ‘Relentless Enemies’, ‘Eye of the Leopard’, ‘Living with Big Cats’, ‘Rhino Rescue’, ‘Big Cat Odyssey’, ‘The Unlikely Leopard’, ‘The Last Lions’, ‘Game of Lions’ are some just some of their film titles. It has been estimated that over 1 Billion people in more than 100 countries have viewed ‘Eternal Enemies’ alone. Even their more recent films have achieved huge audience figures and are becoming a power tool for spreading their wildlife conservation message and funding their conservation initiatives. The Jouberts 2011 film, ‘The Last Lions’ was filmed in Botswana and has since become a powerful ambassador for wild lions globally reaching over 350 million people and collecting an array of international awards in the process.  The Jouberts even managed to persuade National Geographic to donate all profits from the film to the conservation of lions. Every win for ‘The Last Lions’, has been a win for Africa’s big cats and Botswana.

Over the years the Jouberts and Wildlife Films have captured never seen before animal behaviour, broken filmmaking records, garnered awards and accolades for themselves and their adopted country, Botswana, and gained international recognition and respect in wildlife filmmaking, research and conservation. Their awards include 8 EMMYS, a Peabody, Wildscreen Panda Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival and most recently (September 2013) an ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the Jackson Hole Film Festival (The biggest wildlife film festival in the world) to name a few. They were inducted into the American Achievement Awards group in 2009 alongside four Nobel laureates, Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Mayor of Los Angeles and other world leaders. The Jouberts were also awarded the World Ecology Award alongside Prince Charles, the Aga Khan and Jane Goodall.  One of their most valued awards was presented to them in 2011 by the President of Botswana who honored them with the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service for their work within the country.

Yet film is not the only medium in which they work.  Dereck has also written ten books, all of which contain photographs that Beverly has taken exclusively for each.  Their first book for National Geographic Society, called ‘Hunting with the Moon’, was about studying and filming lions over fourteen years. Their next book was ‘Whispers’, which accompanied their Disney film of the same name. More recently they wrote ‘The Africa Diaries’, which is an award winning account of their time in their adopted country, Botswana.  They completed the books, ‘Relentless Enemies’ in 2006, ‘Elephant in the Kitchen’ in 2005 and ‘Eye of the Leopard’ in 2009, together with a collection of ‘Face to Face’ Children Wildlife Books in 2010 (e.g. ‘Face to Face With Lions’, ‘Face to Face with Elephants’) and also ‘The Last Lions’ book to accompany the film in 2011.

They have produced over twenty-five films, most of which have been for National Geographic with whom they have developed a solid long-term relationship over their careers.

Beverly has photographed for a number of National Geographic Magazine articles and holds the distinction of being one of only three women in the Society’s history to have produced National Geographic cover articles, all of which Dereck wrote.  In October 2013 she was awarded and honored as one of 11 Women of Vision at the National Geographic Society. Over the years Dereck has also published scientific articles on lion behavior based on their work with the lions of Botswana.

In November 2005 Dereck and Beverly were appointed as National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence by the National Geographic Society, an honour bestowed by the society on only a select few of the world’s best explorers and scientists.


Hunters (1985)
- Dereck (Producer/Director/Cameraman/Editor) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography)


The Stolen River (1986/87) – Dereck (Producer/Director/Cameraman/Editor) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography) – National Geographic Special, PBS


Okavango: Jewel of the Kalahari (1989) – Dereck (Camera) – Nature, PBS


Elephant (1989) – Dereck (Camera) – National Geographic Specials, PBS.


Journey to Forgotten River (1990) – Dereck (Producer/Director/Cameraman /Writer) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography) for National Geographic


Trial of the Elephants (1990) – Dereck (Producer/Cameraman) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography) for National Geographic Explorer, TBS


Zebras: Patterns in the Grass (1991) – Dereck (Producer/Cameraman/Research/Writer/Editor) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Research) – National Geographic Explorer, TBS


Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas (1992) – Dereck (Producer/Camera/Writer) Beverly (Producer/Sound) for National Geographic


Lions of Darkness (1993) – Dereck (Producer/ Director/ Cameraman/Writer) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Research/Photography) – National Geographic


Reflections on Elephants (1994) – Dereck (Producer/Camera/Research/Writer/Editor)
Beverly (Producer/sound/research/photos) – National Geographic Specials


Wildlife Warriors (1996) – Dereck (Producer/Cameraman/Writer/ Editor/Research) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Research) – National Geographic Special, NBC.


Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale (1995-2000) Dereck (Producer/Director/Camera/Cinematographer/ Story/Screenplay. 
Beverly (Producer/Story by/Research/Sound/Stills) – Walt Disney Pictures


Hunting Hounds of Arabia (2003) – Dereck (Producer/Writer) Beverly (Producer) – National Geographic


Ultimate Enemies (2003) – Dereck (Producer/Writer) Beverly (Producer) – National Geographic


Relentless Enemies (2006) – Dereck (Producer/Director/Camera/Writer) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography)
- Nat Geo Channels


Eye of the Leopard (2006) – Dereck (Producer/Writer/Cinematographer/Director) Beverly (Sound/Producer/Photography) – National Geographic


Living with Big Cats (2007) – Dereck (Producer/Writer/Director/Cinematographer) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography) – Nat Geo Wild


Rhino Rescue (2008/2009) – Dereck (Producer/ Writer/ Cinematographer) Beverly (Producer/ Sound/Photography) – National Geographic


Big Cat Odyssey (2010) – Dereck (Producer/Camera/Writer/Director) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography)
Nat Geo Channels


Great Migrations: Race to Survive (2010) – Dereck (Cinematography) Beverly (Segment Producer).


The Last Lions (2011) – Dereck (Producer/Writer/Director/Cinematographer) Beverly (Producer/Sound/Photography) – National Geographic Features


The Unlikely Leopard (2012) – Dereck (Producer/Writer/Director/cinematographer) Beverly (producer/sound)


Game of Lions (2013) – Dereck (Producer/Camera/Writer) Beverly (Producer, Sound, Photography).


Dereck and Beverly Joubert have been the subject of a number of films including: ‘A Passion for Africa’ (1993), Boyd Matson’s ‘Into Africa’ (1995) and ‘Who Dared’ (1999).

The Jouberts have featured in more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine articles and appeared on numerous television and radio talk shows. They have been on The Charlie Rose Show, Larry King Show, with Katie Couric on the TODAY Show, Conan O’Brien Show, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America (ABC), ABC Nightly News, Primetime, and dozens of other interviews on US TV and many more around the world. People magazine voted them two of the Most Beautiful People in 1995 and a simple Internet search reveals over 468,000 entries on their names.



The Joubert have published: ‘Hunting with the Moon’; ‘Whispers’; An Elephant’s Tale’; ‘African Diaries’; 
’Relentless Enemies’; ‘An Elephant in the Kitchen’; ‘Eye of the Leopard’; ‘The Last Lions’ and a collection of children’s wildlife books, and have contributed to numerous other books on wildlife and conservation.


In 2009 Dereck and Beverly founded the Big Cats Initiative to tackle the declining population of big cats throughout Africa. They solicited the help of National Geographic and started the job of raising fund and assembling a scientific team. Today they have raised and granted over P10,000,000 into 43 projects in over 17 countries finding real solutions to conservation of big cats. Dereck is Chairman of the Big Cats Initiative.


The Jouberts founded Great Plains, with their partners, and Dereck if CEO and Chairman of the board. The company has gone from modest beginnings to owning and operating 7 camps and lodges and leasing nearly a million acres of conservation land across Africa.


Dereck was a founder member of both Chobe Wildlife Trust, and Conservation International in Botswana.

Both Dereck and Beverly sit on the International board of WildAid (Seattle USA) .

Dereck is a member of the IUCN African Lion Work Group.

Dereck sits on the board of Maasailand Conservation Trust. (Kenya)

Dereck sits on the board of the Big Life Foundation. (Kenya)

Dereck sits on the board of the Olarre Motorogi Conservancy (Kenya)


Journey to the Forgotten River

  • Houston International Film Festival – Silver award (USA)
  • American Film and Video Festival (USA)
  • National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences EMMY (New York) for sound (USA) 1990
  • Stambecco d’Oro International Nature Film Festival: Best Film (Italy)
  • Stambecco d’ Oro International Nature Film Festival: Best of Festival people’s choice (Italy)
  • Canadian Film Festival BANFF: Best Scientific Film (Canada)
  • Golden Scissors Award – Best Editing (South Africa)


Zebra’s Patterns in the Grass

  • Houston Film Festival: Silver Award (USA)
  • Cindy Competition – Gold, Best of Festival (USA)
  • Golden Ink Award – Best Script  (South Africa)
  • Artes Award – Best Documentary (South Africa)


Lions of Darkness

  • Cable Ace Award: Best Actuality Programming (USA)


Reflections on Elephants

  • Prime Time EMMY (Hollywood): Best script (USA) 1993 – 1994 awards
  • Prime Time EMMY (Hollywood): Best Sound (USA) 1993 -1994 awards
  • Houston Film festival: Best of Festival, Gold (USA)
  • Columbus International Film Festival (Chris Award): Best Documentary (USA)
  • George Foster PEABODY Award (USA)
  • Palmanes Prix Special du Jury Award, (France)
  • Stambecco d’Oro: Best Editing (Italy)
  • Stambecco d’Oro: Explorer Award, Best African Film (Italy)


Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas

  • Chicago Film Festival: Silver (USA)
  • New York Film Festival: Gold (USA)
  • Columbus Film Festival (Chris Award): Best of Festival (USA)
  • National Academy of Arts and Sciences EMMY (New York): Best editing (USA) 1992
  • Artes Award: Best Documentary (South Africa)
  • GRAND TETON Award at the Jackson Hole Film Festival: Best of Festival (USA)


Wildlife Warriors

  • Prime Time EMMY: Best Music (USA) 1995
  • Genesis Award, Ark Trus (USA)                      



  • Nominated Best Trailer for a Short Film Trailer Awards 2001 (USA)


Ultimate Enemies

  • Nominated for multiple EMMYs 2003 (USA)
  • Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival: Best Sound Award (USA)
  • A finalist at the Japanese Wildlife Film festival.


Relentless Enemies

  • BBC Wildscreen Award: Panda for Best Sound Wildscreen 2006 (Britain)


Eye of the Leopard

  • BBC Wildscreen award: Panda for Best Sound Wildscreen 2006 (Britain)
  • BBC Wildscreen: Nominated for Best Cinematography 2006 (Britain)
  • EMMY Award New York: Best Achievement in Science Technology and Nature 2007 (USA).
  • Jackson Hole Awards: Nominated Best Writing (USA)
  • EMMY Awards: Nominated Best Non Fiction Writing (USA)
  • Japanese Wildlife Films Festival Nature Award (Japan)
  • Jules Verne Film Festival: Best Nature Film, March 2007 (France)
  • Wildscreen Award: Panda Award in Bristol, Best Animal Behaviour October 2008 (Britain)
  • 13th Valle d’Aosta International Nature Film Festival, Golden Ibex Award: Best Nature Film – Festival Choice for Children by Children: “The Municipality of Cogne prize at the Valle d’Aosta International nature film Festival, awarded Eye of the Leopard the Golden Ibex trophy. The technical jury awarded the film this prize for its spectacular photography composed of many predations and for its animal behaviour.” (Italy)
  • 13th Valle d’Aosta International Nature Film Festival, Golden Ibex Award: Junior Popular Jury Trophy (Italy)
  • 19th Bird and Nature Film Festival, Abbeville 2008: Public Prize  (France)
  • 19th Festival International du Film Animalier Albert 2009: Grand Prix (France)
  • Festival de Loiseau et de la Nature: Le Prix du Public 2009 (France)


Living with Big Cats

  • Ark Trus: Genesis Award (USA)
  • Aspen Film Festival: People’s Choice, Best Documentary 2007 (USA)
  • Jules Verne Film Festival: Youth Choice Award 2008 (France)
  • Finalist 14th International Film Festival, Stambecco D’Oro Trophy, 22-29 August 2009, Cogne Valle d’Aosta Grand Paradis, (Italy)
  • WCFF 2013: Award for Best Overall Film Category (New York, USA)


Rhino Rescue

  • Jules Verne Festival, 2008: Finalist Documentary Selection


Big Cat Odyssey

  • Japanese film festival: Life Time Achievement Award
  • Golden Horn SAFTA: Best Wildlife Program
  • Golden Horn SAFTA: Best Cinematographer of a Wildlife Program


Great Migrations

  • EMMY Award: Outstanding Cinematography for the ‘Race to Survive’ segment in ‘Great Migrations’, 2010.


The Last Lions

  • Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2011 -Best Theatrical Program
  • Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2011 – Best Original Music Score
  • Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2011- Best Editing
  • Wildscreen Golden Panda Award 2012 – Music Score
  • Evening Standard British Film Award 2012 – Best Film Score
  • Golden Horn SAFTA 2013 – Best Director of a Wildlife Programme
  • Golden Horn SAFTA 2013 – Best Editor of a Wildlife Programme
  • Golden Horn SAFTA 2013 – Best Cinematographer of a Wildlife Programme
  • Golden Horn SAFTA 2013 – Best TV Wildlife Programme – Wildlife Films
  • IWFF Awards 2013 – Best Editing (USA)
  • IWFF awards 2013 – Best Sound Design (USA)
  • IWFF awards 2013 – Best Cinematography (tie with Siberian Tiger Quest)
  • IWFF awards 2013 – Best Film (USA)
  • IWFF awards 2013 – Best Theatrical Release (USA)
  • Nature Film Network / Japan Wildlife Film Festival 2013 in Tokyo – Best Theatrical Award (Japan)
  • Doñana Film Festival 2013 – Best Script Award (Spain)
  • CMS Vatavaran Festival Awards 2014 – ‘Best of the Festival’ Award


The Unlikely Leopard

  • Naturvision 2013 – Grand Prix Award (Germany)
  • Green Screen 2013 – Best Cinematography (Germany)
  • Sondrio Festival 2013 – Special Mention from the International Jury for its conservation message.
  • SAFTA nomination for Directing
  • Festival de l’Oiseau et de la Nature April 2014 (France) – ‘Public Prize’


Game of Lions

  • Green Screen 2014 Nomination for best animal behaviour (festival has not taken place yet).
  • EMMY – Nomination for Best Narrator Game of Lions – Jeremy Irons (awards have not taken place yet for the 2014 ceremony)
  • 2014 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival Game of Lions has been selected as the Award Winner for Best Feature Film.
  • SAFTA nominations for Best Director, Best Score, Best Cinematography and Best Film (24th Feb 2015)


Conservation Awards: Beverly and Dereck Joubert

  • Whitney R Harris World Ecology Center/ University of Missouri – St. Louis: World Ecology Award 2008 (USA)
  • 48th International Achievement Summit: Gold Plate Award 2009
  • Presidential Order of Meritorious Service by the President of Botswana for their work within the country in 2011(Botswana)


Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • Jackson Hole Film Festival 2013 – Outstanding Achievement Award