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Jean Hartley 

Jean Hartley at Oral History Interview

Jean Hartley is a highly regarded ‘fixer’ and facilitator of documentary film crews in Kenya. Educated in both Africa and England, Jean eventually settled in Kenya, working in a variety of administration and personal assistant roles. Like her mother, Jean was an avid bird and wildlife enthusiast, and in 1986 organised the first international fundraising bird-watching marathon in Kenya, co-ordinating seven teams from different countries and two BBC crews to produce The Great Safari Bird Rally.

It was during this event that Jean met producer Adrian Warren, who was keen to secure her as a fixer for his next project, The Great Rift. For the next two years, Jean organised the logistics of licenses, permits, accommodation, travel, equipment and insurance for the film crews on this 4-part documentary about the Great Rift Valley of Africa.

Jean enjoyed this new role, and seeing the potential for developing this as a niche service attended the 1988 Wildscreen film festival in Bristol, UK where she secured her first two clients under her newly founded company Viewfinders Ltd. Both of these projects were successful and highly regarded and from that point onwards there was a high demand for her unique services in East Africa. In 2010 Viewfinders Ltd will have worked on over 1000 productions, having collaborated with a great number of documentary production companies such as BBC Natural History Unit (NHU), IMAX, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Disney Nature to name a few. The diverse range of films produced illustrates the natural history and wildlife of Kenya to the rest of the world, educating, entertaining and inspiring visitors to support Kenya’s major tourism industry.

Jean is an author of three guides to Kenya and alongside ‘fixing’, she is currently working on her latest book which documents 100 years of wildlife filmmaking and her life as a Fixer in Kenya.

Oral History

oral history iconView the oral history of Jean Hartley

WildFilmHistory Films

film-smallIslands in the African Sky (1994)Production 
Jean Hartley at Oral History Interview
Jean Hartley at Oral History Interview
Adrian Warren, 2008
Adrian Warren, 2008