About Four Winds Great stories, great films

Hi, welcome to Four Winds Productions.  Over the years, the number of people workig here has varied from one to eight.  Right now, there's just me.


I'm Martin Belderson, an award-winning, highly experienced self-shooting director-producer, series producer, and writer.  I have made more than thirty action-adventure, science and natural history documentary films for a wide range of broadcasters including C4, ITV, The Discovery Network, PBS and the BBC.  And I'm happy to consult on troubled productions.

  • Short Bio

    To date I have directed and/or produced more than thirty action-adventure, science and natural history documentary films for a wide range of British and international broadcasters including the BBC Natural History Unit, The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, Canal+, Yorkshire TV’s First Tuesday and the BBC’s Horizon series.   I worked as Series Producer on three major series: UFO: Down to Earth, O'Shea's Dangerous Creatures and Bonington's Secret Mountain.


    In 1990, I made the crucial investigative breakthrough for the BBC Natural History Unit’s BBC1 special, The Global Detective.  It led to the prosecution of an Italian fashion chain for buying CITES protected caiman skins from violent traffickers in Paraguay and Brazil.   Since then I have produced and directed many films about the trade in endangered species, including river dolphins, rhinos and tigers in Nepal and sailing with the Sea Shepherds in search of high seas pirate whalers. 


    From the Himalayas to New York City’s rivers, my films often feature underwater filming and I specialise in innovative camera techniques.


    I also work as a confidential documentary doctor: aiding troubled films in post-production.


    Joined the industry as a grip and assistant cameraman then trained as an assistant film editor before joining the BBC as a researcher. 


    I edit on all three major NLEs: AVID, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro 7.  I build and maintain edit systems.


    In print, I have written for a wide range of publications from New Scientist magazine to DC Thomson’s Commando comic series.  My first short story, The Hot Chocolate Rocket was short-listed for the 2009 Aeon Award.  I recently started writing and working in drama.  My first radio sitcom The Buffet Car goes into production in June 2012.  My first feature film screenplay, In Hot Pursuit, won Best Comedy Script at the AOF Film Festival, 2008.  A short film script: The Pigeon Drop (Faster, Smarter, Sharper), was also short-listed for an award at the same festival. 


    Before getting bitten by the movie-making bug, I had various jobs including: gold prospecting, as a door-to-door potato salesman, crewing on the Greenpeace vessel Rubicon and falling off mountains (unpaid). 


  • Films

    Three Rivers, The Brooklyn Bridge and Lady Liberty

    A film about open water swim races in the rivers around Manhattan and the clean up of New York's once heavily polluted rivers.  Four Winds, 2009-2010.


    The Axon

    Teenage action drama.  A teenager inherits her inventor-father’s fortune and sets out to find out the truth behind his mysterious disappearance.  (Illumina Digital for BBC Interactive/BBC Wales)  Part of the cancelled BBC jam online interactive channel.  2007-2008.


    Killer Diseases

    A 60’ special on deadly diseases for BBC1.  Filmed inside the hot zone of an Ebola Fever outbreak in The Congo.   BBC Specialist Factual.  TX November 2004.


    Rough Science - Series III

    6x30’  BBC2/US PBS’s top-rated science show.  Location: New Zealand Alps.  2002-03. 


    Bonington's Secret Mountain

    An eight-part series about Sir Chris Bonington's final great mountaineering expedition in remote eastern Tibet.  For The Discovery Channel, YMPA and Channel Four.  1999-2001.  Four Winds/Northern Films.


    Window Into Darkness

    A film special about the formation of giant caves and their link to life on Mars.  For PBS's NOVA science series.  1998-2000.  Four Winds.


    O'Shea's Dangerous Creatures - Series I

    8x30'.  Series Producer.  Directed three films in the series:


    Ox Killer - Catching the rainforest Bushmaster, the largest venomous snake in the Americas, for anti-venom production.


    Into Patagonia - Searching amongst penguin and elephant seal colonies for the rare Patagonian Lancehead.


    Lost World - On a remote Brazilian island lives the most venomous snake in the world:  the Golden Lancehead.


    Hoy Solo: The Rock Queen

    The first female solo ascent of The Old Man of Hoy.  Featuring Catherine Destivelle (four-time world rock climbing champion). Winner of a 1999 Sports Emmy Award for Innovative Camerawork.  Four Winds Productions/Northern Films production for ESPN/Canal+/Discovery Europe.


    Crater of Death

    The countdown to the meteor impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.  A commission for BBC Horizon.  Sold in fifteen markets around the world.  1997-98.


    UFO: Down to Earth

     A four-part scientific examination of the UFO phenomena.

    It delivered record audience figures for The Discovery Channel and received a CableAce nomination.  Four Winds Productions, 1996-97. 


    Close Encounters

    A film about alien abduction experiences commissioned by BBC Horizon.   It was one of the top-rated science documentaries of 1995.


    The Big Swim

    Commissioned for the ‘First Tuesday’ documentary series at Yorkshire TV.   It uses the annual Manhattan Island Swimming Marathon to tell the story of life on and in the rivers around New York.  1994.   YTV/Discovery Channel.


    Ocean Raider - Defenders of the Wild -  Series II

    For Yorkshire Television (co-produced with The Discovery Channel and Channel 4), 1994.  A profile of Paul Watson, Greenpeace founder (membership card number: 007) turned maverick eco-pirate.  Won a Best Film prize and four Merit Awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival '94 and was nominated at the CableAce Awards in 1995.


    Rangers of Nepal - Defenders of the Wild - Series I  Profiling the protectors of Nepal’s endangered rhinos, tigers and elephants.  And featuring the first and only footage of river dolphins in the Himalayas.  1992


    Defenders of the Wild - Series I & II

    Associate Producer 8x50'.  Directed additional action and wildlife shoots in Britain, Spain, Finland, Brazil, Taiwan and  the USA.


    The Global Detective

    A BBC1 special - Assistant Producer/Director.  This film was winner of the Golden Panda at Wildscreen '92 and a prize-winner at the Jackson Hole Festival.  Went undercover to expose the link between Europe’s illegal wildlife trade and the drug cartels.   BBC Natural History Unit, 1989-1991.

  • Vocational Training

    Planning and directing multi-camera shoots, National Film and Television School Short Course, 2007.


    improvisation and Rehearsal with Actors, Raindance Festival workshops, 2004 & 2005.


    Hostile Environment Survival Courses - Category One and Two, BBC, 2001 & 2003.


    Production Safety Courses, BBC and YTTV, 1991-1994 & 2003.


    Screenwriting and Directing Actors, BBC short courses, 1989-1991.


    Single  Camera Director, BBC, 1990.


    Sound Recording for Radio, BBC Natural History Unit, 1989.


    Copyright, Contracts and Production Budgeting, BFI bursary & course, 1988.


    Apprentice assistant film editor, Soho & Leeds, 1987-88.


  • Awards and Nominations

    The Hot Chocolate Rocket

    Short-listed for the 2009 Aeon Award for SF short stories.


    In Hot Pursuit

    Won Best Comedy Script at the AOF Film Festival, LA, 2008.


    The Pigeon Drop (Faster, Smarter, Sharper)

    Nominated for Best Dramatic Short at the same film festival.


    Bonington's Secret Mountain

    Nominated at the Banff and Kendal Mountain Film Festivals, 2000. 


    Hoy Solo: The Rock Queen

    Joint winner of a 1999 Sports Emmy Award for Innovative Camerawork. 


    UFO: Down to Earth

    Received a CableAce nomination, 1999. 


    Ocean Raider - Defenders of the Wild 

    Won a Best Film prize and four Merit Awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula in 1994 and was nominated at the CableAce Awards in 1995.


    The Global Detective

    Winner of the Golden Panda at Wildscreen '92 and a prize-winner at the Jackson Hole Festival.

  • Membership of  Professional Bodies

    Directors UK  (formerly Director’s Guild of Great Britain)


    British Assoociation of Science Writers


    Fellow of The Geological Society


    Institute for Learning     


    BECTU member


Four Winds Productions