The Team

Karl Ammann

Karl has lived in East Africa for 40 years is the author of a range of books, an award winning photographer and documentary film producer. His main objective with initiating and directing films like the Tiger Mafia is to take away the excuse: But I did not know – especially from policy makers. The challenge is not the filming but the finding of respective platforms for such productions. Selling feel good conservation tales’ is a lot easier than documentaries calling a spade a spade.

Laurin Merz


Laurin is the proprietor and founder of production company HOOK Film, based in Zurich.  Since 2004 he is a freelance director, producer and lecturer for short films at Kultur Macht Schule and Stage-on-Air/Kanal K.
He was also previously editor for culture at Swiss television, editor at Swiss national radio DRS 1 and DRS 3 and a sound engineer.

Laurin has a diploma in video from the Lucerne  university of the arts and in film studies and publishing from the University of Zurich/Berne. 

Klaus Sparwasser


Klaus Sparwasser is based near Frankfurt in Germany. He is a biologist with a PhD in zoology and ecology. As a cameraman and producer of nature documentaries he looks back at more than twenty years of experience on expeditions on all continents. His productions are driven by the spirit of authenticity, idealism and adventure, turning complex issues into exciting documentaries about the impact of humanity on biodiversity.

Vasilyev Sergey


Russian cameraman, IMDB participant. Sergey originally hails from the ancient Russian town Saratov. In 1991, he moved to the United States of America with his family. From 1991 to 1995, he worked in his specialty for the Action Video Production Company in Anchorage, Alaska. From 1995 to 1997, he worked as a cameraman on the KIMO 13 NEWS ABC Сhannel in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1997-1998, he worked as a photography director for the V-Cinema Company in Seattle, Washington.

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Stuart Smith


With more than 25 years of editing experience behind him cutting television series, music videos, award winning cinema commercials and documentaries, Stuart is passionate about working on unscripted documentaries using both picture and sound to craft stories that engage and entertain viewers.
He has worked for both South African and international production houses.

Steve Couri


After studying biochemistry at the University of New South Wales, Steve Couri completed his Australian Broadcasting Corporation internship in 1998. 

A desire to focus on animal welfare and protection of ecosystems inspired him to move to Televison Trust for the Environment, providing programs for BBC World and ITN. Tens years of directing and filming have taken him to around eighty countries. 

He now occasionally produces freelance documentaries and lives with his family while caretaking a small rainforest on the mid New South Wales coast.

Will Staples


Will Staples is an American screenwriter who has worked on such projects as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION and CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3. Will met Karl while researching a movie about animal trafficking for actor/producer Leonardo DiCaprio. In addition to investigating trafficking with Karl in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, Will’s research also took him to Macau and Hong Kong, where he looked at distribution networks and money laundering. He also travelled to South Africa and Mozambique where he worked with local rangers and anti-poaching groups tracking poaching syndicates.



John Heminway is a writer and filmmaker. Educated in New York, Switzerland, Massachusetts and at Princeton University, his award-winning body of work has focused on nature, science, history, biography, the American West and Africa.

Heminway’s filmmaking career at ABC Sports, Anglia Television, the Discovery Channel, PBS (WNET/Thirteen and WGBH), Disney and National Geographic Television, spans five decades and several hundred films. For PBS, he helped produce, write and direct “The Brain,” “The Mind” and the “Evolution” series, and has contributed to the Nature series. For four years he was the producer and the presenter/host of the PBS series, “Travels.” His many awards include two Emmys, two Peabodys and a DuPont Columbia Journalism award.

John Heminway
Nick Cockayne

After managing a primate sanctuary in West Africa Nick returned to the UK to promote and communicate global conservation issues, firstly in the zoo world before moving on to broadcast media and finally worked for a nature NGO editing online educational wildlife videos. In 2012 Nick moved back to Africa and began assisting Karl with The Tiger Mafia project. He researches the documentary subject matter and believes passionately that everyone should face up to exactly how we are destroying the natural world.

Martine Beauchemin

Passionate about wildlife, ecology and remote places, Martine started her career as a navigation officer in the Arctic and on the St-Laurence River.  She was later an IT project manager for various emergency, voice recognition and video relay services, then a camp manager at a chimpanzee rehabilitation center in Guinea and also involved in a reforestation project in South America.  In 2018, Martine decided to relocate to Kenya to assist Karl with his various projects.

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