Eye on int’l: ARTE sets up deals for “Private Life of Sharks”; NHK unveils natural history copros

NHK plots copros with Icon, NHNZ, Oxford Scientific Films Japanese public broadcaster NHK has unveiled a trio of international coproductions in the natural history genre set to be delivered this year ...
July 16, 2020

NHK plots copros with Icon, NHNZ, Oxford Scientific Films
Japanese public broadcaster NHK has unveiled a trio of international coproductions in the natural history genre set to be delivered this year with partners including Bristol-based Icon Films, NHNZ and UK-headquartered Oxford Scientific Films.

Mysterious Planet (48 minutes x 5, produced by NHK and NHNZ in association with ARTE for Discovery Channel and Youku) takes “a series of epic journeys into the wild, across continents, through millennia, to uncover the answers to the mysteries that shape life.” It marks the third major series copro between NHK and NHNZ, following 2011′s Life Force and 2014′s Life Force II.

Okavango – A Flood of Life (52 minutes x 1, Icon Films, Natural History Film Unit and NHK), meanwhile, marries aerial access with ultra-high definition 8K footage to capture dramatic behaviors and life within the river region of southwest Africa.

Elsewhere, Wild Tokyo (58 minutes x 1, Oxford Scientific Films and NHK) captures the wide variety of wildlife present in the teeeming Japanese metropolis, through 4K footage shot by leading natural history cinematographers.

“For teams that have different languages, values, and cultural backgrounds, making programs together from scratch is far from easy,” said NHK Enterprises executive producer Masa Hayakawa in a statement. “But mutual respect, understanding, and an effort to combine each other’s strengths can yield incalculable benefits. In an era of huge challenges such as global warming and the coronavirus pandemic, I believe that filmmakers who make natural- history programs need to unite in their adoption of new ways to proceed with international coproduction. We at NHK plan to keep moving forward with international coproduction in diverse ways.”

ARTE, Doclights GmbH team up for “Private Life of Sharks”

Franco-German ARTE Distribution and French indie producer Le Cinquième Rêve have signed a coproduction deal with Doclights GmbH for the upcoming The Private Life of Sharks, with the rights for the rest of the world excluding France and Canada pre-sold to National Geographic.

Directed by Alexis Barbier Bouvet and Didier Noirot for ARTE GEIE’s nature and discovery slot, The Private Life of Sharks (pictured) will focus on little-known shark behaviors and footage from around the world in 4K and 8K. While typically regarded as fearsome apex predators, the film highlights other aspects of the animals’ lives, including hunting, cleaning, reproducing and resting.

“Didier Noirot is a critically acclaimed underwater cinematographer; he has been filming around the globe for years in 4K and 8K and has a deep knowledge of the oceans,” said Céline Payot Lehmann, head of distribution at ARTE, in a statement.”That, together with the know-how of the team that produced 700 Sharks, make an ambitious and promising production that is convincing for international partners.

“We are thrilled to have concluded our first coproduction partnership with Doclights GmbH, maker of some of the best blue-chip films on the international market, and to continue working with National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild that will bring our film to audiences globally,” she added.

The film makes its U.S. debut on July 24 via Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild under the title 50 Shades of Sharks. It will air on ARTE before the end of 2020, and on Germany’s NDR primetime wildlife slot in 2021.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.