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Transmission: the story of Mycoplasma Ovipneumoniae and Sheep – Teaser #1

Transmission

Wild Sheep Society of BC
Release TBD – currently in production

The Wild Sheep Society of BC is one of BC’s leading conservation organizations. WSSBC’s reputation to put money on the ground that directly effects wildlife is held in the highest regard. One of their action items is to continue the study of a pandemic happening amongst wild sheep. The infectious bacteria known as mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (movi) is a bacteria that is passed from domestic sheep to wild sheep. Wild sheep do not have the immune systems to fight the bacteria, thus leaving them susceptible to pneumonia which, in most cases, leads to death.

The society wanted to do a piece to educate the public on the biggest issue around the spread of the bacteria, the interaction between domestic and wild sheep, but of course it goes much deeper than that. It’s very easy with something like this to focus on the technical side of things, to try and educate and inform to the point that people fully understand all aspects and can move forward making better decisions. The challenge is getting people whose lives aren’t directly intertwined with sheep to care enough to watch through a film like that. So, in classic Filter fashion, we turn to our friend… STORY! A story about people.

Enter Dr. Helen Schwantje, the lead wildlife veterinarian for the Government of BC and a sheep farmer. Helen is at the forefront of the battle against Movi. Working with a handful of other passionate scientists and volunteers they’re doing what they can to try and stop the spread of this killer. There is no shortage of struggles though… a lack of resources, a lack of public awareness, a lack of proven science, and the biggest foe of all… a lack of time.

The crew filming on location during a recent capture and cull project near Lillooet, BC Canada.

Not long after principal photography started on this project we were met with another pandemic to face, Covid. We managed to film a capture and cull project just before the first phase of heavy restrictions were implemented in BC. “Capture and Cull” is the harsh reality of the options currently available to control the disease, but there is a glimmer of hope with some new treatments that are being tested.

Dr. Helen Schwantje, Laura Balyx and a Conservation Officer carefully handle a wild bighorn sheep in preparation for a Movi test.

We’re hoping to be back out in the field by the spring of 2021, gathering the assets we need to get this story told. Anticipated release in the fall of 2021.


The Wild Sheep Society of BC through our 1Campfire initiative was first referred to Filter Studios through Monashee Media.  Filter Studios was contracted to complete a film for our outreach campaign and subsequently a second film that focused on Wild Sheep and disease. We have been elated with both film projects and will use their services again.  We have been incredibly pleased with the quality of film Filter Studio produces.  The entire process is meticulously planned, seamless and Jesse and Tash’s professionalism, attention to detail and communication skills must be recognized.  I would without reservation recommend this film production team.

Kyle Stelter, Wild Sheep Society of BC / 1Campfire