Docs

“Sherpa” team reunites for BBC, ABC feature copro, “River”

London-headquartered Arrow Pictures and Sydney-based Stranger than Fiction Films are teaming for an upcoming theatrical documentary exploring the relationship between human beings and rivers. River, commissioned by ABC Arts and BBC ...
February 23, 2021

London-headquartered Arrow Pictures and Sydney-based Stranger than Fiction Films are teaming for an upcoming theatrical documentary exploring the relationship between human beings and rivers.

River, commissioned by ABC Arts and BBC Arts and coproduced with distributors Dogwoof and Madman Entertainment, will be co-directed by Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizeti, and produced by Peedom and Jo-Anne McGowan from Stranger than Fiction and John Smithson from Arrow Pictures. Peedeom and Smithson last worked together on Sherpa, a 2015 doc which won multiple awards following its run on the festival circuit and theatrical release, including a Grierson Award for best documentary, the Australian Film Critics Circle Award, the Australian Directors Guild Award, several audience awards and a BAFTA nomination in 2016.

The new project, which also follows up Peedom’s previous acclaimed doc, Mountain, is also receiving major production investment from Screen Australia and the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). River will feature specially-composed music by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Richard Tognetti, with the score also slated to feature music from Jonny Greenwood and Radiohead.

The film also boasts a narration script by Robert Macfarlane, an internationally award-winning author of bestselling books about landscape, nature and place.

The production will span six continents and utilize contemporary cinematography, including satellite filming, to show rivers “on scales and from perspectives never seen before” according to the team behind the film.

London-based international distributor Dogwoof will be handling world sales, starting at the European Film Market kicking off on March 1. Madman Entertainment will handle distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

River is a coproduction with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the BBC and Dogwoof and Madman Entertainment. The project was commissioned by Miranda Culley for the ABC, and executive producer for the ABC Arts is Kalita Corrigan. The commissioning editor at BBC Arts is Mark Bell.

“This is not a traditional theatrical documentary,” said Peedom in a statement. “The phenomenal global success of Mountain shows that audiences worldwide have a huge appetite for a different kind of experience. Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script will ensure that River is both dream-like and powerful.”

“This film is an exciting hybrid, with brilliant images, powerful music and elegant words which combine to say something profound about the human race’s impact on the planet,” added Arrow Pictures creative director John Smithson. “It’s a stimulating creative challenge and it’s great to be collaborating again with one of Australia’s top directors.”

(Photo: Pete McBride)

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