Documentary

Film
Release Year
Runtime(s)
Synopsis
Strange World
2015
8 x 60 min

People have an insatiable and timeless appetite for the bizarre.  Modern media is an incubator of hysteria and excitement, as strange and unexplained stories gain traction and capture the public mind.  In Strange World, our host, journalist Alex Hannaford, travels the planet in search of the truth behind these mysteries.  This is a one-stop-shop for all your conspiracy theory urges!

Survival in the Ice Kingdom: Polar Bears
2014
52

Polar bears are the largest land carnivores in the world.  In the fall, 900 individuals gather along the Canadian coast, waiting for the annual sea ice to form so they can hunt.  The polar bears may seem active, but their bodies are in a state of hibernation so they must call upon their unique ability to persevere in this harsh environment despite extended periods of fasting.  Pregnant females fast for eight months a year during which time they give birth before emerging from their den.  This episode highlights the true strength of the rulers of the ice kingdom as they raise their cubs in extreme conditions.

Swimming with Legends
2014
70

The largest creatures on Earth live underwater.  Their sheer size has always triggered our imagination.  In murky waters or inaccessible places, we ignored their true nature and created legends.

Today, scientists try to understand them, to go beyond the myths.  But stranded or fished creatures offer a poor glimpse into their world.  So how can we decipher their underwater secrets without altering their behaviour?

Meet Fred Buyle, a record-breaking freediver who has dedicated his life to this non-intrusive quest.  For science, he travels the world to tag or photo-identify large marine creatures that have populated his imaginary world since he was a child.

Tawaraya: The House of Secret Codes
2015
59

In the heart of Kyoto stands a discreet but very distinguished ryokan or traditional Japanese inn, with only 18 guest rooms.  Its architecture, hospitality, cuisine, and ambience are the best Japan has to offer.

Tawaraya is many things: an inn, a house, a garden, a museum, and a haven of spirits and traditions.

Every room breathes a very Japanese sense of detail with ornaments and objects telling untold stories of exquisite Japanese culture.

Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Paul Sartre, Steve Jobs … Artists, intellectuals, and captains of industry with a singular feel for beauty have always flocked to Tawaraya.

Filmed with 4K cameras, this documentary introduces us to this oldest and most elegant inn in Japan and reveals its beauty and astonishing history of this House of Secret Codes.

The 63rd Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
2013
30

This year The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is presented for the first time in stunning 4K Ultra HD for your viewing pleasure.  There are 248 cars from 36 states and 12 countries on display.  Among the marques celebrated this year were: the Lincoln, fifty years of the Lamborghini, fifty years of Porsche, 100 years of the Aston Martin, and the very rare BMW 507.

The Bachelor King
2011
75, 56, 50

Stunning 3D cinematography takes us into an extraordinary, sub-Antarctic island, home to majestic albatrosses, brawling fur seals and six million penguins. It’s a world away from human existence; but yet our hero’s struggle is familiar to us all, young and old alike.

After three years out on the open ocean, our bachelor returns to the place where he was born and raised: Penguin City.  On this densely-packed island, he looks to establish himself and find a mate. What follows is the most challenging time of his life.  He must grow up fast to survive and raise chicks of his own.

Once he meets the penguin of his dreams, the two of them embark upon raising a family.  Having witnessed his chick hatch, the parents work together to feed it, teach it, keep it warm against the harsh sub-Antarctic weather and protect it through its first danger-filled year.  But with predators in the sky, the land, and the water, tragedy could lie around every corner.  In the face of all these challenges, our king must persevere.

The Bachelor King‘s story is often comic, sometimes tragic, and ultimately triumphant; a rite of passage set within one of the earth’s last great wildernesses.

The Caiman Hunters: Jaguar, Brazilian Wetlands
2016
52

The carnivorous and ever wary jaguar is usually hidden deep in the forest, never revealing its true nature.  However, during recent dry seasons, they have been spotted in the Pantanal wetland in Brazil.  Using unmanned cameras and ultra-sensitive cameras, our film crew embarked on a major project to record these jaguars.  Witness an amazing Jaguar hunt that climaxes in a single deadly bite.

The Citadel
2015
55

Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey aim to make the first ascent of the extraordinary 1200m long north-west ridge.

The stage is set for two mountaineers, who despite their many accomplishments, must still seek out new lines in unchartered territory.  The odds are stacked heavily against them.  It’s a hard and difficult climb to the top.  They test their endurance, will, and commitment to the climb.  Why?  So that they can experience the freedom of standing alone on a peak with no one else around for miles; the chance to chart their legacy as explorers and adventure seekers and make their own paths in life.

The Citadel is a stunning 3,000m peak in one of the remaining untouched corners of the Great Alaskan Range.  With the mantra “EatClimbRepeat,” the mountaineers need a minimum of 3 weeks to make it to the top.  Will they make it?  In the documentary we take a front seat ride on a trip through the unknown and are with Matt and Jon every step of the way through all the hardships and struggles, hopes, and disappointments.  What unfolds is a classic narrative arc where success is snatched from the jaws of defeat.

The City: San Francisco
2017
53

The San Francisco Bay Area is a realm of adventure and beauty with ever-changing skies and light; and ever-evolving culture and technology.  Throughout its colorful history, San Francisco has maintained its unique flavor and aesthetic as the tides of time and the serpentine fog pour over and through.  Discover this iconic city and its surroundings at a pivotal moment in its story.  Filmed in 8K resolution by land, sea, and air, The City: San Francisco will engulf the senses with the heart and soul of fog city.

The Disaster Diaries
2015
3 x 75 min

While we can’t look into the future and foresee what may hit us next, we do know that each year brings its share of natural disasters that we often try, in vain, to anticipate, understand, and predict.  This is a new kind of natural disaster programme: instead of relying on poor quality archive footage, our crews are on standby ready to take off anywhere around the planet to film these disasters in Ultra-High Definition.  They will use state-of-the-art film technology, such as gyro-stabilized mounts attached to helicopters, drones, or ships, collapsible dolly carts and even rotating portholes that evacuate sea spray by centrifugal force to bring the highest quality images to your screen.

The Dying King
2016
76, 53

In the open wilderness of Africa, there are only 20.000 lions living a free life.  Humans have killed hundreds of thousands in the last decades – mostly for purely hunting purposes.  In the last couple of years, a new industry has developed called the canned hunting.  After 4-5 years of breeding, young lions are shot in special areas, after which tourists pay up to 40.000 USD for the corpse of the dead male lion.

A real industry developed in South Africa – lion cubs are used in petting zoos, bones of the animals are exported to Asia for so-called medical “purposes.”

Figures of more than 10.000 lions in captivity being targets for future canned hunting are supposed to be real these days.

We want to open public eyes on these industries using big cat lives for money making.  With investigative means, hidden cameras, we will try to get in touch with the people behind these intrigues.

First and foremost we want to stress the work of FOUR PAWS to save and protect big cats worldwide.  As part of FOUR PAWS’ work for wild animals in captivity, the organization focuses on the situation of big cats in zoos, in private captivity, and in the entertainment industry.

First successful action took place in 2002, when four lion cubs used for taking photos with tourists were sent from Romania to a sanctuary in South Africa.  Ever since then, FOUR PRAWS has increasingly stepped in more on this issue and has undertaken research in several countries in order to collect information about the conditions and numbers of big cats in captivity.  In November 2007, the first transfer or “rescue action” with two lions from Romania, and ten lions from Austria took place.

In the meantime the Big Cat Sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa is now home to more than 90 big cats.  Furthermore, FOUR PAWS concentrate on collecting more information on big cats around the world and will increase its network with other big cat sanctuaries and big cat experts.

The Extreme Nature of Bats
2010
24

The Extreme Nature of Bats is a 3D science film that explores not only the truths but the myths and dark legends that have been associated with bats for hundreds of years. Through the (sometimes frightening) wonders of digital 3D technology, audiences will learn that bats are unique and interesting animals; but, because of fear and misconceptions throughout history, they are also one of the most misunderstood animals in the world. There are close to 1,000 species of bats worldwide and they comprise more than one-fifth of all the mammals in the world. The film examines how bats are unique in the animal kingdom because they are the only mammals to have evolved true flight.

The Genet
2014
36

This is remarkable story about a young genet who after losing its mother’s track decides to embark on a lonely journey to look for her.  The forest gives it shelter, food, but it is also filled with traps of nature, threatening dangers, and enemies that turn into allies.

The Great Amazon: Monkey Enigma
2016
49

The Amazon rainforest is a luscious jungle wonderland, a treasure trove of many unidentified animals.  The jungle is long on anecdotes about various legendary creatures, in particular the primate “Mono Grande.”  A photo taken in the early 20th century of this gigantic ape amazed the world as a possible new simian, and sightings remain rife today.

“Does the Mono Grande really exist?”

Driven by the desire to find out, an NHK crew thrusts deep into the jungle, encountering exotic monkeys on the way.

After over 100 days of desperate exploration, the crew finally meets up with a enormous monkey!  But is it the legendary Mono Grande they are after … ?

The Great Amazon: Secrets of the Mighty River
2016
49

The Amazon River is home to a wide variety of unique fish.  NHK spent over two years exploring the dense jungle to closely follow the Amazon’s stunning underwater creatures with 4K cameras.  The exploration led to an encounter with a crystal clear natural spring, and successful recordings of fascinating creatures of the Amazon.  Captured on camera are very rare footage of electric eels hunting prey, energetic images of the Amazon river dolphin attacking a school of fish in high speed 4K, and a unique sight of local fishermen catching a gigantic 2-meter shark-like catfish.

Come and unveil the drama of the legendary fish in the most magnificent river.

The Last Wild
93, 55

A spectacular journey in Ultra HD cinema through the most remote and fascinating nature parks in Namibia, Africa, underlines the need to restore human contact with wildlife.  Elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos and many other wild animals share the same biological and spiritual bond with nature as the human race, but growing pressure from the predatory behaviour of man and the spread of civilisation across the Planet is threatening their survival.

The Last Wild is a cry for the need to restore contact with and respect for nature and all the living things that inhabit it in order to build a new more positive and sustainable world.

The Last Wild film offers to the audience a touching cinematic experience discovering one of the remotest wild regions of Africa and promoting the need to preserve a more respectful relationship between humans and nature.

The film travels to the Western Kalahari region, in Namibia, inquiring about the spirit of the wild and the deep sense of the human condition as part of the nature cycle.

The Last Wild, a very high quality film shot in 4K resolution from the ground and from the air, joins spectacular pure wildlife images with a deep conservationist message and a very moving soundtrack.

Filmed in the remote Khaudum National Park and its surrounding area, and in the Kavango-Zambeze region that borders with Angola, Zambia and Botswana, capturing spectacular landscapes, meeting bushman tribes and finding herds of elephants and buffaloes, big cats, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, and many more wild animals.

The Last Wild spread out a very powerful conservationist message to the next generations, contained in a symphony of cinematic sensations, taking the audience to contemplate the ordinary rhythm of nature and wildlife without interferences, connecting with it, as it was part of it.

Enjoying The Last Wild film, the worldwide audience will experience an extraordinary adventure that connects human spirit with the spirit of wildlife.

The Moon’s Spell on the Great Barrier Reef
2014
59

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, covers a range of over 2,000 kilometers off the northeast coast of Australia.  Magnificent spectacles of the birth of life unfold here every summer.  Male and female surgeonfish swim at lightning speed toward the water surface and spawn; tens of thousands of green sea turtles simultaneously come ashore under the star-filled sky to lay eggs; and the climax is a rare sight of some 100 varieties of coral all spawning at once within a timeframe of only 15 minutes.

Enjoy the breathtaking moments successfully caught on an unprecedented scale by taking full advantage of the amazingly rich colors of high-definition 4K cameras.

Immerse yourself in the mysterious drama of life under the spell of the moon on a summer night.

The New Sperm Whale
52

Sperm whales are back, and learning how to steal fish off their hooks.  They are also learning how to speak a special “coda” language, and fool killer whales – their ancient enemies.  They have now started to investigate our oil rigs, telecommunication cables, and submarines.  Their large brains – the biggest in the animal kingdom – try to decipher our innovations … and turn them to their advantage.  Discover the new sperm whale.

The Ninja Birds of Kakadu: Comb-Crested Jacanas
2015
52

Kakadu National Park is located in the northernmost part of Australia.  During the rainy season, when vast expanses of wetland appear and many aquatic insects and fish emerge, aquatic birds arrive to feed on them and breed.  Among them is the comb-crested Jacana.  These unique birds use their long toes to gracefully walk across lotus leaves and catch underwater prey.  Interestingly, these birds are polyandrous, meaning the females mate with more than one male.  Females therefore lay a lot of clutches and it is the males alone who care for them.  This episode, filmed between the rainy season and dry season when the park undergoes drastic changes, follows the lives of these aquatic birds.

The Physics of Surfing
2010
24

Unlike other surfing documentaries, The Physics of Surfing is a 24-minute educational film that uncovers the physical science of ocean waves and the art of surfing.  In this captivating presentation, the filmmakers explore how energy moves through water, building and combining its force, traveling thousands of miles over the course of weeks until the ocean floor underneath disrupts the wave’s formation and causes it to pitch up and collapse.  The film also investigates the science behind various surfing styles and how surfers instinctively address such notions of gravity and buoyancy while using the energy of motion to ride waves.

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