Ruth Roberts Mentors National Geographic's 4th Consecutive "Field Ready" Programme
Talesmith is devoted to telling unheard stories from around the world, working with the very best global talent and nurturing the next generation of creatives. I hope they are as inspired as I have been by working with them.
Ruth Roberts
Creative Director, Talesmith

Field Ready, an initiative pioneered by Janet Han Vissering and the National Geographic team, aims to give exceptional emerging filmmakers an opportunity to advance their careers in natural history, science, exploration, and documentary filmmaking, while also increasing the diversity of perspectives across these genres. Now in its fourth year, the programme matches up each participant, each an accomplished filmmaker or photographer and a certified National Geographic Explorer, with a mentor who will counsel them on their career trajectory and on specific projects.

This year, Talesmith Creative Director Ruth Roberts will mentor Colombian filmmaker Samuel Dias Fernandez:

Samuel is a fascinating, smart and philosophical producer and director, focusing on human-centred storytelling for global NGOs. He has an incredible understanding of narrative and the power of imagination, and he’s also a true leader. I’m excited to work together to give a global voice to minorities.

From May 13 to 17, Samuel will travel to National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C., where he will receive RED camera training and certification and take part in networking, presentations and workshops with staff members from National Geographic Content and the National Geographic Society. He will then engage in an “externship” project hosted by Talesmith, which will be determined by the growth area that he is most interested in, ranging from frontline production to in-office experience in development or production management.

New to the programme this year is the “Pitch Fest” component, which allows each participant to pitch an original idea for a TV series to Nat Geo Content executives for feedback and consideration. The winning pitch will go into paid development for a possible Nat Geo production deal.

National Geographic unveil the 2024 cohort.
PubLished on
May 3, 2024
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Ruth Roberts says, of her previous mentees:

Tamana Ayazi (Class of 20/21)

Tamana is an inspirational Afghan producer and director, who has become a friend for life. Last year, she won the Emmy winning director for "In Her Hands” following the astonishing story of Kabul’s female mayor. She also worked on the Academy Award winning short film ’Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone’.

Jubilian Ngaruwu (21/22)

Jubilian is a Nigerian producer and director full of boundless energy, motivation and drive, devoted to documenting historical and ancestral stories usually passed through oral traditions. Through the programme, we worked on Jubilian's now multi-award winning film “Afterlife”. She joined our Lions: Now or Never shoot in her externship, and is currently shooting a conservation film for the Linden Museum in Stuttgart.

Andres Cardona (22/23)

Andres is a very thoughtful and kind Colombian photojournalist with clients including The New York Times, Vogue and The Washington Post. Andres is devoted to documenting environmental issues, the armed conflict, and stories of indigenous communities of Colombia, and he endlessly inspires me. His passion for storytelling within his beloved Colombia is unmatched. He is joining our Secrets of the Penguins shoot.