Katalyst is an Emmy-award winning ethically conscious content creator established in 1999 by Founder/Director Sharron Ward. We are based in London, UK and in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

We have a background in making powerful, insightful and moving observational documentaries and investigative films – particularly in developing countries for all the major UK and international broadcasters and streaming platforms.

Our work in the past, has focussed on investigative journalism and current affairs, sometimes filming undercover.  These films often featured compelling characters that shed light on important social issues such as criminal justice, mental health, cancer, human rights, addiction, and homelessness. Our team has a strong track record making films exploring Women’s rights, gender based violence, human trafficking, modern day slavery, and the Syrian refugee crisis & migration.

We’ve filmed all around the world in some of the most hostile, dangerous and challenging locations and covered a number of world events such as the Syrian refugee crisis, the Arab Spring in the Middle East, including the Libyan Civil War and the Egyptian Revolution and one of Britain’s most devastating events - the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

Our films now focus mostly, but not exclusively on the climate crisis, conservation, wildlife, natural history, sustainable travel and adventure. Compelling characters are at the heart of our story-telling and we often follow inspiring, heroic characters telling a micro story which reveals a bigger, macro picture.

Our mission is to make cinematically beautiful films that inform, inspire, educate and advocate for change.

We’re here to help advocate for change by communicating positive solutions to combat the climate emergency – especially focussing on our oceans (moana), on our wildlife, on bio-diversity and on the land (the whenua) especially our forests (ngahere) and our trees.  And yes, we’ll also communicate how and why this change is so urgent.


We are in a climate and ecological crisis.  If we don’t all start actively making and demanding change now – sustainable life as we know it, simply won’t exist.

That’s the reality.

We’re on the tipping point, we are at "Code Red for Humanity" – we’re already breaking boundaries – so how far we all go as humanity is up to us.

Our team

Sharron Ward

Founding Director/Producer

Katalyst Founder Sharron Ward is a Conservationist, a speaker, writer, photographer and filmmaker. She is an Emmy and Royal Television Society award-winning Director and Producer. She is also a cinematographer and often self-shoots many of Katalysts’ documentaries.

Her films have been nominated for a British Grierson, a One World Media Award, 2 Amnesty Media Awards, a Sandford St Martin Award, an Asian Media Award & other films she has helped produce and direct have won a BAFTA & a One World Media Award. In a career spanning around 30 years, she has directed and produced a number of high-profile, compelling and award-winning documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, MTV & VH1 Europe and The Guardian in the UK as well as for other broadcasters and streaming platforms globally.  

Sharron produced, co-directed and co-edited the multi-award winning feature documentary, Addicted in Afghanistan which was selected to screen at the world’s biggest documentary film festival IDFA and had it’s World premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2009. It has been selected to screen at over 30 international film festivals and has won many awards.

Her films are known for their distinctive cinematic flair and she is noted for her ability to build trust and rapport especially with challenging and sensitive contributors and gaining difficult and exclusive access.

A native Kiwi, Sharron worked in the New Zealand film industry in the 1990s freelancing as an Art Director, stylist, and props buyer working on numerous feature films, shorts, TV dramas, documentaries and television commercials. She has worked on advertising campaigns for a number of high profile ad agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, M&C Saatchi, McCann-Erikson, Ogilvy & Mather and Colenso. Production companies Sharron has worked with in New Zealand include Zee Films, Flying Fish, Airdate, Motion Pictures, Film Construction, Screentime and RSA Films.

She was born in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne, New Zealand home of Ngāti Porou the Māori tribes (iwi) of the Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, and grew up around “Middle Earth,” amongst the famous film locations of Central Otago, in the South Island. Sharron's roots are firmly in Queenstown and the surrounding area, where she also films & works.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Philosophy from the University of Otago.

Sharron has spent over 20 years based in London, UK where she has filmed in many conflict zones covering political unrest, riots and revolutions – particularly the Arab Spring in the Middle East in Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. She has also filmed across the globe including in Japan, Russia, Thailand, the UK, Greece, Dubai and most of Europe.

She is a former Board Member of the Frontline Freelance Register – a charity which advocates for the safety of freelance journalists at risk set up by the Frontline Club in London. She has had the honour of being on the jury for the International Emmy for News & Documentary Awards for several years and was a Judge for the Documentary category for the International Amnesty Media Awards in London.

Sharron speaks regularly in the international news media and her work has been profiled many times in the media.  She was first interviewed for her work as a music video director for the Sunday magazine arts show on TVNZ in New Zealand in 1995 and for the NZ TV4 programme, Ice TV. You can read some of these interviews on our News page.

Sharron is based on Waiheke Island, in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand where she is heading up the Asia Pacific arm of Katalyst.

You can watch her latest directing & cinematography reel here.

Brigitte Scheffer


Brigitte is a director, producer, writer, presenter and reporter. She is a multi-lingual, award-winning journalist and investigator who loves asking questions, making films and telling stories.

Her experience includes reporting, producing and directing shoots worldwide for a range of British and international networks including BBC, Bloomberg, PBS Frontline, The Economist, The Sunday Times as well as online outlets.

She was a Correspondent for BBC World’s Arabic service, having previously been based in Libya for Bloomberg.

She specialises in difficult access, character-driven and immersive observational documentaries often exploring sensitive issues that require journalistic rigour, such as Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, a BBC2 series on migration which won 3 BAFTAs and many other prestigious prizes.

She has self shot the chronicles of a bank robber on the run, now out on Amazon, right through to filming the lives of Islamic State brides in Syria for BBC’s flagship investigative strand Panorama, and documented the ups and downs of the Libyan revolution, spending long stints in high risk areas.

More recently, Brigitte has series produced an explosive documentary on the behind the scenes story of Bin Laden and the Road to 9/11 for Channel 4 and was a Producer for the ITN documentary hunting the latest suspect of the Madeline McCann disappearance.  Brigitte has a background in marine ecology and has worked as an Advocacy Director for Sea Shepherd.

In the corporate world, she is a sought after international conference chair and moderator, drawing on her extensive journalistic experience plus extensive knowledge of the Arab World, marine conservation and energy sector. 

Brigitte is fluent in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic (3 dialects).

Brigitte is currently based in Barcelona, Spain where she works on a variety of projects for a number of production companies including Katalyst.

i am the tree

We embrace Tikanga Māori (cultural values and beliefs) that are derived from mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and our conservation and filming work is guided and inspired by the Māori concept of Kaitiakitanga – (guardianship). We believe that we all should act as Kaitiaki – as guardians of the land (the whenua), the sea (moana) and the forest (ngahere).  If we respect, protect and care for Nature – Nature will care for us.

We aso believe strongly in championining diversity - especially with female filmmakers. Wherever we can we like to champion female underwater ops, drone ops, and female directors and producers - sometimes the branded content & telly world still feels male dominated and we're here to change that!  We're also on a mission to give more opportunities to Māori and Pasifika filmmakers - and we're devising a mentoring scheme to be able to do that, as well as hiring more diverse talent whenever we can.

Please stay tuned for information on upcoming campaigns that we are aligning with.


We are based in London, UK & Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand but we film and work all over the globe.