ZDF Studios will be shopping five new 50-minute nature documentaries courtesy of its affiliate, wildlife factual specialist Doclights.
First up is Bee Wild!, an exploration of the pre-domestication life of the European honey bee. Directed and shot by award-winning nature filmmaker Jan Haft, the doc details the benefits that could derive from allowing bees to once again flourish in the wild, as they did for nearly a millennium prior to the 1970s. Haft’s prodco Nautilusfilm produced the film for Doclights and NDR Naturfilm, in association with NDR, Arte, Terra Mater and ZDF Studios.
Wild Netherlands, meanwhile, documents the methods by which the Dutch have kept their country — half of which lies below sea level — from being flooded by the North Sea, and profiles the rich array of wildlife that this preserved land supports, including seals and spoonbills, red and fallow deer, beavers and otters. The doc is produced by Denalifilm for Doclights/NDR Naturfilm in association with WDR, ORF, NDR and ZDF Studios.
Pantanal – Brazil’s Natural Miracle (pictured) spotlights the world’s largest tropical wetlands, which lie in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul and extends into areas of Bolivia and Paraguay. Though the Pantanal provides an invaluable sanctuary for many threatened species, it too remains vulnerable to the depredations of human activity. Doclights and NDR Naturfilm produced the doc, in association with NDR, WDR and ORF.
The Pantanal is also the main attraction in Lydia and the Giants – Into the Wild Pantanal, which follows German behavioral biologist Lydia Möcklinghoff as she ventures into the wetlands to study giant anteaters in their natural habitat, while meeting a variety of the region’s other fauna along the way. Doclights/NDR Naturfilm produces, in association with NDR, Arte and RBB.
Finally, Coming Home – Back to the Wild accompanies some of Europe’s rarest animals — lynxes, minks, pond turtles and ground squirrels — as they are reintroduced to the homelands they were formerly driven out of. The doc shows how these creatures re-adapt to their old skittering grounds while detailing what it will take to keep these fragile ecosystems protected and intact so as to ensure these species’ continuation. Doclights/NDR Naturfilm are once again the producers of record, in association with NDR, Arte, MDR and SWR.
“Doclights has once again presented us with a set of superb and informative natural history documentaries,” said Ralf Rueckauer, VP of unscripted for ZDR Studios. “Any one of these titles would be ideal for a primetime slot, providing great storytelling and fascinating facts for audiences of all ages.”