An interview with #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed film director Mateo Willis

11 OCTOBER 2019

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If you’ve seen our new campaign film #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed, you may know that we worked with multi award winning director Mateo Willis whose previous credits include Blue Planet 2, Planet Earth 2, Frozen Planet, Human Planet and Dynasties.

Mateo began his film career as a cameraman, filming documentaries and commercials, eventually specialising in wildlife filming which earned him two BAFTAs and two Emmy Awards. Now he’s turned his attention to rescue animals, creating a film that captures their unique characters and quirks and really shows why rescue is our favourite breed.

We caught up with Mateo to talk about why he got involved with Battersea and his lifelong passion for wildlife, animals and rescue pets!

What made you want to work on this film with Battersea?

I once had a dog from Battersea so already I had great respect for their work and believe the service they provide is frankly amazing which also made this project particularly personal. Given I’m passionate about animals it was a natural fit.

What was your approach to making the film?

As with all wildlife filming my approach was to capture the energy and character of each animal. To do this, the viewer’s perspective had to be motivated by the animals - at their eye level, moving at their speed. This creates a natural connection between subject and audience. With this film I wanted dogs and cats to take centre stage.

How does filming with rescue dogs and cats compare to filming with wildlife?

In this case the animals came to me. I didn’t have to travel to far-flung corners of the planet and spend weeks searching for them. But even though these cats and dogs are trained they are still animals – wilful and independent. To capture their characters we needed to be reading their moods and predicting what they would most likely do as much as I do with wild animals. And in both scenarios it’s often the unscripted moments which are pure gold.

Who was your favourite rescue dog/cat on the day?

Tough question! Some were warm and filled with joy, some were cool and relaxed, others were like clowns, full of clumsy energy. Each one of these animals had such great character I could have happily taken any of them home.


Here at Battersea, we believe that rescue really is the only breed for you if you’re looking for a unique and loving pet. They come in all shapes and sizes and refuse to be defined by their past. Rescues aren’t broken, or damaged, so here at Battersea we think it’s time to look beyond pedigree and start appreciating personality; stop focussing on age and instead see character.

To find out more about the campaign follow #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed.

Ready to be loved

Rehoming a Battersea rescue dog is a very rewarding experience and gives our dogs the second chance of the loving home they deserve.

Meet the dogs