Wildcats have been resident in Britain for over 2 million years; sharing the land with the mammoth, cave bear and cave lion long before mankind had found their way through the forests of Europe. The current population was isolated here some 9000 years ago as the last ice age ended and sea levels rose separating the British Isles from mainland Europe. Those cats evolved into a unique subspecies Felis Sylvestris Grampia; the Scottish wildcat.
These are no domestic tabbies, feral cats or farm cats run wild, they're Britain's last wild feline and infamous amongst experts for being the wildest of all wild animals; an untameable and deadly predator capable of surviving the harshest of winters in the Scottish Highlands. Today, after centuries of persecution, deforestation and competition from introduced species there are less than 400 Scottish wildcats left in the world and extinction could be as little as ten years away.
Last of the Scottish Wildcats is only the second film ever to document a cat in the wild that even many Scots believe to be no more than a myth. It is the first to fully investigate the threats facing the cat's future and the solutions proposed to protect it through detailed interviews with a range of stakeholders and several leading experts, providing a complete picture of Britain's last native feline.
The Cairngorm mountains (still from the film), Steve Piper
Press, media and appearances
National press interest was high in a species that carries a huge charisma and allure with very few people aware of its existence at the time, we were the first to capture wildcats on film in 13 years and the only other news over that time were a few research studies. Feature articles appeared in various Scottish and British newspapers, click the links to see the articles;
The film is widely available through High Street and web retailers; all the stores below either have the DVD in stock or can order it in within a couple of days, of course, buying it directly from us guarantees wildcats more money and guarantees you the Coffee Films all-recycled-materials edition! The film is also available to rent from Highland libraries; Aviemore, Dingwall, Inverness, Lochaber Skye and Lochlash all have copies on shelves, other branches can order them in!
The Press and Journal also covered the story, Telegraph TV ran the trailer online, GMTV Scotland ran several clips from the film, director Steve Piper appeared on STV's North Tonight program and indie filmmaking site Rewind Video ran a short story on the project.
Online video sharing site Daily Motion, the world's second most popular site of it's kind, featured the DVD trailer on their front page across their international network when the DVD was release. Racking up 40,000 views at the time it is one of the site's most popular and highly rated animal clips with a view count near 200,000 today.
Conservation was supported in various ways. Besides donation of some of the profits, video and still photographs to the Scottish Wildcat Association, the DVD also attracted US funders to the charity who have provided several grants to establish a major new fieldwork project to protect the species in the Scottish Highlands, and footage has been licensed as stock by several news broadcasters paying their fee as a donation to the charity. Footage was also donated to the Arkive project set up to collect video and photographs of the world's most endangered species and the United Nations Environment Program for use on their websites and materials.
Osprey hunting at Rothiemurchus Estate (still from the film), Steve Piper
Festivals, Screenings and Markets
15-20.10.2006 Wildscreen Festival Market, UK.
12.08.2007 Portobello Film Festival, UK.
05-09.2008 Solar Cinema 2008 Tour, UK
Appearing at selected events on the tour which includes Groundwork Festival, Wichwood Festival, Knowsley Green Fayre, Glastonbury, Croxteth Country fair, Camp Bestival, Stokes Bay Festival, Folkwoods Festival, Ruigoord Landjuweel Festival, Rhythm Festival and Bestival; check their website for details!
01.08.2008 DVD release online, Worldwide.
01.01.2009 DVD release in UK stores, UK.
11.04.2009 Tartan Day, Pablo Creek Library, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
03.05.2009 Cats Protection National Cat Centre, Haywards Heath, Sussex, UK.
11.07.2009 Scotland Homecoming, Pablo Creek Library, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
15.09.2009 Scottish Festival, Amherst Museum, Amherst, NY, USA.
01.10.2009 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, UK
07.11.2010 Scottish Wildcat Hootenanny, Port Lympne Wildlife Park, UK
15.01.2010 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, Idyllwild, USA.
01.05.2010 Ardnamurchan Natural History Centre, Ardnamurchan, Scotland.
Screening throughout the summer season and on request by visitors
01.07.2010 Various cinema screenings in Australia to raise funds for wildcats and other charities
Scottish wildcat hunting in the Cairngorm foothills (still from the film), Steve Piper
"... counters the myths about the wildest of cats, featuring beautiful scenes of the creatures in the Cairngorms it also discusses their dire prospects and possible remedies to ensure they have a future at all."
Sunday TelegraphRead the full article here
"By pulling together some stunning photography, an atmospheric score and some unequivocal discussions with some of the people directly involved in the ongoing survival of this species, director Steve Piper has made a genuinely fascinating, and inspiring, documentary.
Pulpmovies.comRead the full review here
"A fascinating insight into wildcats and the issues surrounding their conservation, and raising a lot of important issues about how we manage the development of wild areas in Scotland."
Series Editor, BBC Natural World.
"Incredible, rare footage of Britain's last large mammal predator in the Highlands... On a tiny independent budget Last of the Scottish Wildcats aims to educate the public and help save the species from extinction."
The Press and Journal
"... a documentary film which will gladden the heart of any wild animal enthusiast and broaden knowledge of wildcats... This film deserves wider exposure... buy it, enjoy it and support wildcat conservation."
HabitatRead the full article here