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Animal rescue series nominated for Emmys

REGION — A San Diego television series that follows the stories of rescued wild animals has been nominated for three Emmy Awards.

“It’s thrilling,” filmmaker and former Del Mar resident Elliott Kennerson said. “The show was a lot of work and it kind of seems like that’s the best possible result.”

“Animal R&R,” which debuted in May 2014, is a natural history program on the local PBS affiliate narrated by wildlife preservationist Joan Embery.

The four-episode series takes viewers to animal habitats and borderlands of the urban edge, including the Ramona grasslands, Torrey Pines State Reserve and San Diego’s downtown airport. One segment features a hummingbird habitat in a person’s home.

The animals featured in the first series include a striped skunk, hawks, a peregrine falcon and two opossums.

Two coyote pups burned in the 2014 Poinsettia fire in Carlsbad also star in “Animal R&R,” which stands for rehabilitation and release.

Kennerson attended what is now known as Del Mar Hills Academy and is a 1992 graduate of the private Bishop’s School in La Jolla.

He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and attended graduate school in Montana, where he was trained in science and natural history filmmaking.

When Kennerson initially sought to fund the first two episodes he unsuccessfully applied for a KPBS grant. He was awarded the money on his second try after getting Embery onboard.

Kennerson produced the second two shows partly, he said, because he had so much great footage from the first shoot but he couldn’t fit it all into two episodes.

Additionally, some of the stories had not played out before his deadline.

Kennerson received a smaller KPBS grant to produce those episodes and filled the funding gap with $25,641 from 328 backers in a Kickstarter campaign.

He is hopeful the Emmy nominations will help with future funding as he plans to broaden the scope of the series.

“I’m trying to sell the show upstream,” he said. “My goal is to do a bigger production and have it be a national show filmed simultaneously in different places to get a view on what kind of wildlife people run into in those areas.”

Kennerson said he is looking at locations on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and in California’s Humboldt County.

“I’m trying to get a good measure of the various types of ecosystems around the country,” he said. “It’s a broad range of places that people are sort of familiar with to get that deeper look into the wildlife and ecosystems.”

He said he is seeking funding from a broadcaster, a major sponsor or grants.

Two of the Emmy nominations, from the Pacific Southwest Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, are in the Health/Science Program or Special category.

There is one for each of the first two episodes. The third nomination is for excellence in editing.

Winners will be announced June 20 at a ceremony in Palm Springs. KPBS will broadcast an encore presentation of the current season of “Animal R&R,” which will be eligible for Emmy awards next year, on June 17 at 8 p.m.

Review copies of both seasons are available online at

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