National Geographic's Jane Goodall documentary makes Middle East premier

Jane Goodall: Saving Paradise will air on 28th March on multiple Middle East channels. The documentary is a culmination of a project, years in-the-making between National Geographic, Dr. Jane Goodall and director Brett Morgan.
Gombe Tanzania:  Jane formed a close bond with young Fifi as the film Jane depicts. The feature documentary JANE makes it Middle East premier at the Imagine Science Film Festival Abu Dhabi, on March 8th
National Geographic Creative Hugo van Lawick
Gombe Tanzania: Jane formed a close bond with young Fifi as the film Jane depicts. The feature documentary JANE makes it Middle East premier at the Imagine Science Film Festival Abu Dhabi, on March 8th

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Hailed by critics as “spectacular”, JANE will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages and it will make its broadcast debut on March 28th 2018 at 9.50 pm UAE, 8.50 pm KSA on National Geographic in the Middle East. The BAFTA-nominated film, which has been named best documentary of 2017 by the prestigious Producers Guild of America, American Cinema Editors and Broadcast Film Critics Association among others, is the year’s most celebrated documentary.

The film will premier at New York University Abu Dhabi as part of the opening session of the Imagine Science Film Festival Abu Dhabi, on March 8th and will also feature a panel discussion with Marlain Daniel, Director of content and partnerships at National Geographic Middle East, and Khansa Al Blouki, Director of Environmental Outreach, Environmental information, Science and Outreach Management at Environmental Agency. In view of its historic importance, the documentary will also be screened to a selected number of school children especially invited by National Geographic to the premiere in Abu Dhabi.

Drawing from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage shot in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park in the 1960s, the film from award-winning director Brett Morgen (“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “The Kid Stays in the Picture”) tells the story of Jane Goodall, a young untrained woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionised our understanding of the natural world.

“Seeing the film for the first time was incredibly nostalgic; there was something very immediate and real and unconstrained,” said Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute. “JANE shows things as they were, bringing to light people’s characters, especially mine and Hugo’s, in such an intimate way. It took me back to the best days of my life in a way that none of the other documentaries have.”

Marlain Daniel, Director of content and partnerships at National Geographic Middle East, said “The unique documentary is a culmination of a project, years in-the-making between National Geographic, Dr. Jane Goodall and of course the iconic Brett Morgan. We have transformed 50-year-old archived footage into a story that sheds new light and gleans fresh insights into her work that ultimately re-wrote the book on Primatology.”

“The appeal and value of this documentary is universal, extending beyond demographics and geographies. Today, we are delighted to celebrate this film with the next generation of explorers, as part of our commitment to inspire them ‘go further’ in their pursuit of knowledge and science, which also contributes to the region’s national agendas in STEM and Innovation,” Daniel continued. 

Director Brett Morgan commented: “The narrative I was interested in first and foremost was this story of female empowerment, particularly in the era that Jane was working in. The film is very much a love story, except the love is not between man and woman. The love is between a woman and her work.”

The film opens in 1960 in Gombe, as Goodall, a 26-year-old British woman driven only by her love for animals, embarks on her first research expedition to study chimpanzees. Patiently gaining the animals’ trust, she soon makes headlines with the discovery that chimps are highly intelligent and social creatures that use tools to gather food. When the dashing Dutch filmmaker Hugo van Lawick is sent by National Geographic to document her work in 1964, filmmaker and subject soon fall in love — but professional commitments, polio outbreaks and violence among the chimps threaten the couple’s idyllic existence.

While much has been shared in film and books about Goodall’s work with chimpanzees, far less is known about the woman herself. Now, as Jane studies the chimps, the documentary studies Jane — gaining an intimate look as she falls in love and struggles to balance the demands of marriage and motherhood with her lifelong dream.

The footage, expertly shot by van Lawick, was rediscovered in National Geographic’s archives — and while pristine, it was not without its challenges. Reel upon reel of 16 mm film was out of order and without notes or audio, leaving Morgen and his team the daunting tasks of organising the vast archive, identifying 160 chimpanzees and re-creating the sounds of Gombe’s forest. The result is an editing feat that brings the forgotten footage back to life, offering an unprecedented portrait of the trailblazer who defied the odds to become one of the world’s most admired conservationists.

JANE first debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews, and has screened at more than 25 film festivals around the world, including the BFI London Film Festival, New York Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Savannah Film Festival and DOC NYC. The film screened to a full house at the Hollywood Bowl this past October alongside a live orchestra, making it the first documentary ever to play at the iconic Los Angeles venue.

Jane Goodall: Saving Paradise will air on 28th March on the following channels: eLife –Channel # 369, DU – Channel # 375, OSN – Channel # 513, beIN – Channel # 302, Ooredoo – Channel # 457, My HD - Channel # 037

It will also air on National Geographic Abu Dhabi on March 29th at 10 PM UAE

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