IMPACTWILD, the indie recently founded in Bristol by Cherique Pohl, a former director and producer at the BBC’s Natural History Unit (Bears About the House, Expedition Rhino: The Search for the Last Northern White, Our Changing Planet), is about to embark on its first TV documentary, Re:Think Chimps.
Pohl has been given exclusive access to the last four years of footage from the Ozouga Society, a German-run chimpanzee research organisation that has been working in Gabon, Central Africa, for more than 15 years.
Earlier this year, Ozouga’s research made international headlines when it identified that champs use insects to heal wounds. The region of study is home to one of the most unique family of chimps in the world, one that demonstrates its high level of shared DNA with humans (95-98.8%) through a range of clever, caring and highly comical behaviours – all of which will be captured in the film.
Working with the Ozouga Society, IMPACTWILD will initially create a half-hour film for Gabon Culture Television and French-speaking African channels – and then look to sell internationally. The aim is to encourage reappraisal of chimps – which are frequently used as a commodity or for food – leading to more protected populations in the wild. The film will involve an experienced Gabonese scriptwriter.
In addition to the half-hour film, IMPACTWILD will be creating short, shareable clips which also feature local researchers and will be made freely available in French-speaking Africa via WhatsApp and YouTube.
Cherique Pohl comments: “IMPACTWILD was established as a force for good, seeking to end the exploitation of wildlife and wild places through informing and inspiring critical audiences. Having grown up in Africa, I know only too well that local people do not always have access to the same information we do in the West about declining wildlife populations and disappearing habitats. So, the ambition with this project is to use the extraordinary footage from the Ozouga Society to not only create an engaging and entertaining film, but one that also encourages reappraisal and changes behaviour. Most wildlife filmmaking is undertaken sympathetically, and filmmakers work hard to raise issues, but we are dedicated to creating real impact with our work to ensure we effect meaningful change on the ground.”
IMPACTWILD is launching a crowdfunding campaign to help with the project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/impactwild-chimps/re-think-chimps-wildlife-documentary-with-purpose
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