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Nat Geo preps first women-led nature series “Queens”

Disney-owned National Geographic is producing its first ever women-led natural history series, focusing on the matriarchal species of the animal kingdom. The six-part Queens follows six distinct groups of animals with matriarchal ...
May 10, 2019

Disney-owned National Geographic is producing its first ever women-led natural history series, focusing on the matriarchal species of the animal kingdom.

The six-part Queens follows six distinct groups of animals with matriarchal power structures: hyenas, elephants, ring-tailed lemurs, insects, primates and orcas.

Crews are expected to spend at least 300 days filming each of the six episodes on a shoot that started earlier this spring, using state-of-the-art tech, including remote camera systems, drones, cameras that operate in virtual darkness and gyrostabilized cameras for close-up filming.

Queens is produced by Wildstar Films for National Geographic. Vanessa Berlowitz is executive producer for Wildstar Films. She leads production on the series, which boasts renowned wildlife cinematographers including Sophie Darlington (Our Planet, Dynasties, Disneynature’s Penguins) and Justine Evans (Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Life).

Queens is a wild departure from anything you’ve ever experienced with natural history storytelling,” said Berlowitz in a statement. “We’re accustomed to a narrative where the male animal voice often outshines that of the misperceived ‘gentler’ sex. In Queens, females drive the story: the most accomplished women in the industry get behind the camera to turn things on their heads, revealing surprising insights into how females rise to power, often relying on cooperation and wisdom over brute strength to get ahead.”

“With Queens, National Geographic challenges a historical bias in wildlife storytelling that favors masculine societies,” adds Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president of development and production at National Geographic. “The assembly of first-ever women-led production team will bring a new perspective to telling these intimate narratives. Scientifically, women score higher for emotional and social intelligence, so it will be fascinating to see how the team will read relationships to underscore the nuances of how female-bonded societies operate.”

Queens will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages. A premiere date has not yet been set.

(Photo credit: iStock, supplied by Nat Geo Wild)

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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