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About us

  • Tom Mustill | Gripping Films

    Gripping Films is the company of Tom Mustill. We produce innovative and entertaining films specialising in the stories, discoveries, creations and conflicts that emerge where humans and the natural world meet.

    We make work across formats. Our most recent film is the 60 minute prime time documentary Humpback Whales: A Detective Story for BBC2 and PBS. We also made a short film for BBC Stories/ BBC Ouch about a magic baton invented  for blind musicians to play with orchestras. This was produced specifically for online and was tailored from 1 minute (Instagram) through to 3 1/2 minutes for the BBC stories Facebook page.

    Gripping Films developed and produced ‘Saving Planet Earth: Fixing a Hole’ a historical romp about how the Ozone hole was discovered and saved, in partnership with Windfall Films for C4 + PBS which played to the United Nations.

    Before then we made ‘Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants’ about the race to save and understand Giraffe, narrated by David Attenborough. This won a bunch of awards, was nominated for an Emmy and played to the European Parliament. Other multi-award-winning work includes:

    The Bat Man of Mexico’ narrated by Sir David Attenborough. – BBC2 / Discovery Channel

    ‘How To Win The Grand National’ for OSF/ Channel 4

    ‘Kangaroo Dundee’ for BBC2 / Discovery

    Inside Nature’s Giants for Windfall Films and Channel 4. (Feature length Special episodes, and others across the series).

    As well as this Tom and Gripping Films have made films specifically for online – from working with Stephen Fry for our first film, a voyage into the world of Nanoscience in the award-winning ‘Nano-You’ to the private world of the composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle in Sinfini’s film ‘Notes from the end of a garden’.

    Tom was selected as a Broadcast magazine Hot Shot for his quick rise to director of high-profile, innovative and landmark television programmes and was shortlisted as a TED fellow for pushing the boundaries of documentary television. But he is most proud of getting a kiss from his hero Caitlin Moran for Kangaroo Dundee which she described as “dynamite…Attenborghphwoar!”

    “One of the outstanding nature documentaries of recent years… beautifully directed”  –The Independent Newspaper on ‘Inside Nature’s Giants: Sperm Whale Special’

    “Everybody loves a wildlife documentary, from Attenborough illuminating Africa to Brian Cox’s Wonders  of  Life. Mustill’s career has seen him climb 60m-tall trees in Borneo to film an orangutan and its baby, capture a giant squid dissection in New Zealand and document joeys growing inside kangaroo pouches. ‘To jump into the sea with a sperm whale, or film orangutans while gibbons fly by is a such a privilege,’ says Mustill. Behind each project is a desire to connect people with their environment while creating ‘exciting, humorous and informative films’. David Dugan, Chair of Windfall Films, says he’s ‘an outstanding creative force’. Mustill also runs a production company Gripping Films. His ambition? ‘The deep sea — it’s much more interesting than space.'”

    Read BA High Life magazine’s Future Stars of Travel feature

  • We make films because telling these stories matters, and we want to change the world with them. With every production we work hard to make sure the films are not only entertaining and popular, but that they also reach key audiences and decision makers. We tour the films in festivals and participate in outreach, Q&A’s and training the next generation of storytellers.

    All films come with an environmental cost; we are aware that we use materials up, create waste and emit carbon. We are taking steps to reduce our environmental footprint and were able to make Humpback Whales: A Detective Story the first BBC Natural World to gain a BAFTA Albert certification – in recognition of our reduced C02 emissions and footprint. It was one of the lowest environmental footprint BBC Natural History Unit productions on record outside of shows made out of existing material.

    We then became the first BBC production to offset our remaining carbon footprint choosing to partner with the rewilding organisation Mossy Earth. They plant native trees in monitored plots to restore degraded habitats and lock up CO2 in the process: 

    They made us a case study here

    If you would like to see what we have done, and try some of the things that have worked for us on your production please get in touch and we will be delighted to share our Green Memo.

    We want to do more, any suggestions are welcome!