Documentary

Film
Release Year
Runtime(s)
Synopsis
Bug Technology
2016
2 x 48 min

The unique mechanism of the mosquito’s proboscis inspired “pain-free needles.”  The structure of dragonfly wings contributed to a wind-powered generator.  With over 400 million years in the race for survival, insects embody technology that is amazing and was once unimaginable to humans.  But now, cutting-edge technology unlocks this mystery, and practical application of “bug technology” is underway.  The program takes full advantage of 4K cameras, macro imagery, and high-speed cameras to reveal the amazing mechanisms of bugs.

Join the navigators of the show, a comedic duo of a bugologist and his assistant, in this exciting and entertaining science program for the whole family.

Campus Galli – The Medieval Experience
2016
75, 52, 45

Craftsmen, helpers and volunteers are busy building a monastery in town without the modern tools of the 21st century.  Rather than tractors with easy loading and unloading mechanisms, oxen are being used to carry heavy loads of stones.  The woods are being chopped with an axe instead of a wood chipper and from the smithy you can hear the sound of an anvil.

Building a living historical site with the aid of staff dressed in period costumes is a totally new and ambitious project.  By portraying construction, everyday life and the monastic culture of the Carolingian times – a period setting stage for our common medieval heritage – in the microcosm of an almost autonomous abbey, the inhabitants of Meßkirch will have the prestige of bringing the medieval times into the 21st century.

For centuries, the Plan of Saint Gall has inspired a vast number of architects and even more historians.  Yet, it had never before been realised – until today.  Welcome back to the Dark Ages!

Carnival de Cádiz
2017
86

People singing, dancing or crying spontaneously – this non-scripted, cultural and travel film features one of the most powerful traditions in Spain – Carnival de Cádiz.  Unlike other carnivals that stress on spectacular and dazzling costumes, Cádiz distinguishes itself with the cleverness and imagination of its carnival attire.  But the true highlight of Cádiz is the chirigotas, a satirical groups of performers that share a costume and sing together, performing a repertoire of songs about current topics in a humoristic way.  Their music and lyrics are at the heart of this carnival.  Shot in 4K-UHD, each frame is a feast of colour and expressions that haven’t been seen before.  Through a narrator and live street music, we go deep into this unique fiesta.

Catching Light: New Zealand
2016
45

New Zealand, a small country, filled with an abundance of natural beauty and diversity.  This film explores the South Island, capturing the stunning views in 4K UHD, where viewers can fully experience all the endless detail and eye candy there is to offer, in this land of the hobbits.

Caves
47
Chicken Planet
2015
52

The love story between chickens and men has lasted for over 5000 years.  How has this humble forest animal managed to conquer all continents, all territories and become the most abundant and diversified feathered species on our planet?

Today there are over 19 billion on earth, three times more than human beings, and many more than any other species of wild birds.

How did this darkly plumed forest species become so diverse in colour, form and behaviour?  What is the everyday life of the hens and roosters that surround us?

Battery-farmed in Brazilian hangars, raised outdoors in the English countryside, in Filipino combat training centers, in survivalists’ bunkers or on New York’s roofs, chickens can live many different lives.

This documentary will explore the world of mankind and chickens in order to unveil the mysteries of the unprecedented success of this unassuming bird.

Conquest of the Skies
2015
40, 22 (Film); 3 x 50 (TV), 1 x 50 min Behind the Scenes (TV)

The ability to fly is one of the greatest wonders in the natural world.  Millions of creatures soar above our heads today, using a fabulous variety of techniques to defy gravity and master their aerial environment.  But how did animals make the incredible transition from land to air?

Conquest of the Skies uses the very latest science and stunning special effects to uncover the 300-million-year story of flight—and it’s not simply about birds.  Using advanced 3D filming technology we capture the beauty and excitement of the whole world of flying creatures, from the fastest predatory falcons to the most acrobatic of insects, night flyers like owls and bats, and the soaring and gliding specialists capable of traveling huge distances.  Audiences will enter the truly amazing world of these remarkable animal aviators, and leave the theater both stunned by the spectacle and thrilled by the story of how animals rose up and conquered the skies.

Deep Ocean: The Lost World of the Pacific
2015
59

The island of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean sits on the equator, where immediately next to a richly-colored coral reef, a sharp underwater cliff drops down to 1,000 meters.  A long-awaited exploration down the little known depths of this tropical sea is finally about to start.  NHK has teamed up with eminent marine biologist Mark Erdmann, discoverer of the coelacanth in Indonesia.  The spherical transparent submarine, which successfully captured the world’s first moving images of a giant squid in its natural habitat, is used as the team encounters true living fossil species one after another.  During their last dive, in the darkest depths of caves in the deep-sea cliff, the crew encounters a huge, unknown exotic fish …

For this shoot, the submarine was equipped with a cutting-edge 4K camera for pristine images.  Join the film crew on an exciting adventure into a deep sea never before seen by humans, captured on six cameras shooting multi-angles, creating a breath-taking underwater documentary.

Denali
2017
53

Denali, which was once called Mount McKinley, is North America’s highest peak.  At its towering glacier-clad summit elevation of 6,190 meters above sea level, the temperature is 30 degrees below zero Celsius even in the middle of summer.  The condition there is so extreme that it has claimed some lives of explorers.

In 2016 Daisuke Sasaki, a Japanese climber and skier, embarked on an extraordinary undertaking – a one-push ski descent down the hill of the Cassin Ridge on the Southwest Face of Denali.  The steep slope that drops directly down to a valley looks as if soaring almost vertically to climbers.

NHK closely followed and captured Sasaki’s great adventure in 4K using eight UHD cameras.  The huge precipitous slope plumbing down at inclines of up to 55 degrees, dozens of meters deep crevasses silently gaping in the gentle-white snow cap, and avalanches tumbling rapidly down the slopes that are caused by unusual weather – all the spectacles Sasaki met at the most beautiful but the most precarious mountain in North America were filmed in a stunning quality.

Denali, however, did not so easily allow the daredevil skier to accomplish his ambitious attempt.  A slip fall of a team member, who was injured in the accident, nearly discouraged him to continue his bid on the unprecedented decent, but instigated by warm supports from his team members and his profound adoration for Naomi Uemura, a great predecessor and his countryman, Sasaki decided to resume his adventure.  And at last in 38 days Sasaki pulled off the stunning feat.

This is a story about a man who made a record success in the world of big-mountain skiing.  In a series of suspenseful scenes of his perilous adventure into the magnificent mountain and the breathtaking decent from its ridge, it will get across the viewers how deeply the impulse for exploration dwells in our human species.  His adventurous spirit will spark their sporting blood …

Desert Survivors: The Arabian Wolf
2016
52

Without rain for six months each year and with temperatures reaching nearly 50 degrees Celsius, the Negev Desert in Israel is an inhospitable place to live.  The Arabian wolf, the smallest member of the wolf family, is unique in that it does not hunt like other wolves that follow their prey for extended periods in packs.  Due to a small population, researchers have attached transmitters to a mated pair to understand more about their behavior.  This program closely follows the pair as they busily raise their offspring.

Egypt Unwrapped
2008
8 x 50 min

A major eight-part series following experts using the latest research and modern techniques to unravel Egypt’s greatest mysteries.  With special access to sites across the country, the series travels from the pyramids and Sphinx in Giza and Saqqara down to the Valley of the Kings near Luxor and the great rock temples of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt.  The series investigates the origins of Egyptian civilisation and the real history behind the legend of the Scorpion King, uses CT scans and facial reconstruction to try to identify the Screaming Man mummy, and reveals new insights into Egypt’s great figures including Ramses II, Alexander The Great, and Cleopatra.

El Milagro
2014
56

El Milagro is a makeshift town surrounding a landfill where over 30,000 people live.  Hundreds of children are forced to work there amidst terrible health and environmental conditions.  With the help of Diego, an 11-year-old local boy, a film crew tries to expose the hazards the children are subjected to in one of the cities with largest numbers of working children in the world.  While doing so, the team itself will be exposed to danger.

Evolutionary Mayhem: The Flightless Birds of the Galapagos
2016
52

The Galapagos Islands are home to a treasure trove of creatures that have gone through unique evolutionary adaptations.  One of the most extraordinary is the flightless cormorant, an endangered species.  These birds can swim and hunt on water, but because their wings are so small, they are the only cormorants among 30 or so species in the world that cannot fly.  Life on land is a series of challenges for them.  The parents use their small wings to protect their young against the scorching sun and predators.  However, once in the water, they are unbeatable.  Using intricate moves, they display impeccable hunting skills.  For the first time ever, cameras capture their tireless efforts to survive on a desolate, lava covered island.

Extraordinary Humans
2015
10 x 60 min

If you think that people with ‘extraordinary’ abilities are only in comic books or in Hollywood movies — then think again.  Living amongst us are people who have amazing abilities that seemingly defy explanation.

In each episode we meet 2 real life super humans — we explore their world: their family, their friends, how they discovered their amazing powers, and we build up to them pushing their abilities to the very limits of what they are able to achieve.

We also put our characters under the microscope by challenging them to a variety of revealing, scientific tests in order to discover whether or not they are for real, highly trained or mutant individuals.

Fascinating India
2013
1 x 91 min, 2 x 45 min

A fascinating journey to the motherland of spirituality: India – an ancient civilization, mythical and mysterious, infinitely rich in tradition, architecture, culture, and religion.

Fascinating India spreads an impressive panorama of India’s historical and contemporary world.  The film presents the most important cities, royal residences, and temple precincts.  It follows the trail of different religious denominations which have influenced India up to the present day.

The film deals with the highlights of everyday life in India.  In Varanasi, people burn their dead to ashes.  At the Kumbh Mela, the biggest religious gathering of the world, 35 million pilgrims bathe in holy River Ganges.  This is the first time India is presented in such an alluring and engaging manner on screen.

Flats
83

In 2015 Nigel embarked on a journey with a group of friends to realise a dream of laying down a record at the DLRA salt flat speed trials on Lake Gardiner, South Australia.  Flats captures the passion, persistence, adventure, and heartache that played out during their journey, against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes of Australia.  Offering stunning 4K production values and a story that is guaranteed to inspire, enlighten and entertain audiences.

Flower Power
2012
22

They are everywhere.  Flowers by the billions.  They drink, move, compete and some even eat bugs.  A brilliantly colorful and bright adventure through the science of flowers.  You will fly over some of the world’s largest flower fields and see how this amazing life-form covers our fields and gardens while simultaneously cleaning our air and tickling our senses.

Fuzzy Baby Animals
2010
22

Fuzzy Baby Animals is a 20 minute 3D documentary which features an assortment of animals in cute, cuddly, infant form.  Spectacular visuals are coupled with furry little critters to create a riveting, heart-melting picture the entire family will enjoy.

Galapagos
2013
3 x 50 min

The story of Life on Earth is one of our greatest mysteries.  How did such variety and wonder develop?  Fortunately there is a place where this mystery has been unravelled.  It’s the site of the planet’s greatest natural experiment – a living laboratory where life has played out in isolation from the rest of the world.  That place is Galapagos.  The result is the most remarkable collection of flora and fauna on the planet, set against the backdrop of a stunning yet brutal tropical paradise.  In this groundbreaking 3D series Sir David Attenborough returns to Galapagos for the final time to ask the fundamental question: how and why did life prevail on here?

Over three epic hours he will be our guide for this greatest of natural stories.  Shot on Red Epic cameras in glorious 5K detail, the series captures the beauty, diversity and strangeness of the Galapagos in a way never seen before, providing an immersive ringside perspective for viewers.  This is a story of discovery, of survival against the odds, and of nature’s ingenuity.  The stage is at times barren, sometimes brutal but always beautiful.  And the characters are mind-bogglingly weird, disarmingly tame and endlessly fascinating.  Join Sir David for Galapagos 3D – the greatest show on Earth.

Galapagos: Realm of the Giant Sharks
2014
52, 40

In the far reaches of the Galapagos archipelago there is a remote island – Darwin Island.  Here, a mysterious parade of giant whale sharks passes … all of them are pregnant females, about to give birth.  What has drawn them here?  Where are they going?  Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks follows a group of researchers who have travelled out to Darwin Island to begin following these dinosaurs of the sea wherever they travel across the globe.  But placing satellite tracking devices on giant sharks is not always easy.  Steel spear tips bounce off.  Dangerous currents intervene.  And the sharks can deliver bone-crushing swipes with their tails … In an exciting blend of science and natural history filmmaking, Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks uses action-packed, high-resolution photography to draw audiences into the world of one of the ocean’s largest and least understood creatures.

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