Bristol-based indie Offspring Films will make its BBC debut this Spring with an hour-long documentary about orangutans for BBC2. 

Red Ape: Saving the Orangutan uses exclusive access to frontline conservation efforts in Borneo, expert testimony and previously unscreened archive footage to highlight why one of mankind’s closest relatives is being pushed towards the brink of extinction.

Offspring’s founder and executive producer Alex Williamson said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the BBC’s Natural World team on this really important film.  As a production company working in natural history we’re able to film some of the most incredible landscapes on Earth and the extraordinary animals that inhabit them – like the orangutan.  However, we also get to see how vulnerable our planet is and meet the extraordinary people working on the front line of conservation to protect them.

Red Ape tells the story of a team of medics from International Animal Rescue (IAR) fighting to save Borneo’s critically endangered orangutans.  Armed with cameras, International Animal Rescue has documented their fight for 10 years: pulling apes from the devastated jungle and administering emergency medical care on the frontline, caring for orphaned babies and returning characters like Pelangsi, who lost an arm to a hunter’s snare, to the wild.”

Among the film’s expert interviewees offering ways to secure a future for orangutans are IAR founder and programme director Dr Karmele Sanchez; primatologist Dr Ben Garrod; John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK and Gemma Tillack, of Rainforest Action Network.

The film will get its first airing on BBC2 on Thursday 10 May (9pm).

It is written and directed by Rowan Musgrave. It was commissioned by the BBC’s Roger Webb, editor of the Natural World strand, as a co-production with BBC Worldwide and Discovery, overseen by John Hoffman and Jon Bardin.  

Offspring was set up in 2014 by Williamson, an ex-BBC Natural History Unit exec. Other up-coming projects include a three-part series for Sky1 on giants of the animal kingdom due to be shown this summer.

Staff Reporter

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