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A Natural Code

This is a short wildlife documentary about the fascinating Turing patterns in nature and how they may help endangered species around the world.
The first half of the film introduces three characters - a science writer, Philip Ball and two mathematicians, Natasha Ellison and Philip Maini. They will take us on a quest to explain who Alan Turing was and what is his connection with patterns in nature. Alan Turing was able to explain, using two mathematical equations, how the patterns arise in nature, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to landscapes and even animal movements. This is quintessential for the story, as we will later show how this can help endangered species.
The second part of the film is showing how these patterns can help with conservation. The main example for this will be the beautiful patterns of a whale shark, as their spot point configuration forms a Turing pattern. The last person introduced will be Iru, the Lead Field Coordinator of the Maldives Whale Shark Research. Through her, viewers will discover how the team can identify individual whale sharks by their unique spots on their skin.
Natasha Ellison specialises in models which describe ecological processes. This means she can describe the patterns formed by animal movements, using Turing’s pattern formation theory. She will explain to the viewers that the patterns can also exist in the way the animals use their landscape. Where animal coat patterns are created by chemical reactions, animal movement patterns are created by behaviours, such as foraging for food or avoiding predators. Natasha will link then the animal movement theory with the whale shark movement.
This film will take viewers on a fascinating journey, from the secret world of mathematical ecology to incredible Turing patterns in nature and beautiful underwater scenes.

  • Cristina Ceuca
  • Natasha Ellison
  • Cristina Ceuca
  • Cristina Ceuca
  • Natasha Ellison
    Key Cast
  • Dr Philip Ball
    Key Cast
  • Prof Philip Maini
    Key Cast
  • Irthisham Zareer (MWSRP)
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 9, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Maldives, United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Cristina Ceuca

Kriss is a Transylvanian HSE Commercial Media diver, with more than 6 years experience in
scuba diving. Her goal is to be a camera operator specialising in underwater wildlife films.
Before starting an MA in Wildlife Filmmaking Kriss worked as a tour guide across Europe
and as an SSI scuba instructor, a profession that allowed her to work around the world in
countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Gran Canaria, where she taught a variety of
specialist dive courses as well as open water. Her passion for diving and love of teaching led
her to run a dive school in Greece an experience that taught her fundamental skills for
running diving operations.
When asked by her grandmother where her love for the ocean comes from, she was lost for
words and realised the best way to showcase the beauty beneath the waves and get people
to share in her love for the ocean was through film.
Through film, Kriss hopes to share unique stories and is especially interested in projects with
community involvement and strong female characters.
Key skills:
- Underwater camera operator
- HSE Commercial SCUBA (50+ commercial dives)
- Scuba Diving Instructor (500 + dives)
- Night Diving Specialist
- Dry suit Specialist
- Researcher – work experience
- Linguist – Romanian (native), German, Greek, Hungarian, Spanish
- Online media content creator

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As part of my final project, I have produced, directed, filmed and edited a short wildlife documentary. The film is based around the Turing patterns in nature and the whale sharks in the Maldives.