Texas filmmaker urges for more wildlife conservation in documentary ‘Deep in the Heart’

Texas filmmaker urges for more wildlife conservation in documentary ‘Deep in the Heart’

As a little boy growing up on a ranch in Amarillo, Ben Masters always liked watching when a cheetah would chase down a gazelle on the grassy plains of the Serengeti during a National Geographic wildlife program.

The natural world intrigued him so much, Masters earned a degree in wildlife biology at Texas A&M University in 2011. A few years after serving as a ranch manager in South Texas, he founded Fin & Fur Films, a production company that specializes in films about wildlife research, conservation, and activism.

Now an Austin-based filmmaker, Masters’ most recent project is Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story, a documentary on the diverse species and landscapes in the Lone Star State.

“I thought it was interesting that no one had made a film about wildlife in Texas before,” Masters, 33, told MySA during a recent interview. “We don’t have cheetahs running down gazelles, but we have mountain lions hunting mule deer and ocelots hunting armadillo. We have some of the most remarkable biodiversity on the planet.”

In his documentary, Masters features much of that wildlife — from the endangered blind salamanders found in the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos to the abundant Mexican free-tailed bats at the Bracken Cave Preserve northeast of San Antonio.

While he tells the stories of these species and explores their diverse habitats, Masters also urges Texans to do their part in protecting the environment.

“I’ve always dreamed about doing a movie like this here in Texas,” he said. “We have a lot of examples of how we’ve made the conscious decision to co-exist with wildlife in the state. We should continue to do that.”