IMAX® Corporation (NYSE: IMAX), Beach House Pictures (a Blue Ant Media company) and China Review Studio of China International Communications Group (CICG) today announced the start of production on a new documentary, “The Elephant Odyssey”. The film chronicles the epic adventure of the wandering Asian elephants that captivated viewers around the world in 2020 and explores the beautiful, rarely seen world of Yunnan, China where the elephants (called Dá in the local Wa dialect) live. Filmed with stunning IMAX cameras and slated for release across the IMAX network in 2024, the 90-minute film is currently in production in China.
“The 18-month journey of the Yunnan elephants at the height of the pandemic was a hopeful antidote to the lockdowns many of us were enduring,” said John Turner, Head of Documentaries for IMAX. “We wanted to know more about these animals and why it happened. Together with Beach House Pictures, China Review Studio and director Alice Gu, this will be an immersive wildlife documentary like no other.”
“This is a prime example of the premium Asia-to-the-World collaborations that Beach House Pictures excel at and we are proud to be making our first IMAX film with China Review Studio,” said Donovan Chan, Creative Director of Beach House Pictures, “I have no doubt that the incredible elephants and people we will meet and the stunning places we will uncover will surprise and delight audiences, and inspire us to do more to repair and protect our fragile relationship with Mother Nature.”
“The Elephant Odyssey” offers both a completely new story on humanity’s relationship with the elephant and also a new perspective on the spectacular march of the elephants across Yunnan and the story that unfolded when 16 wild Asian elephants left their habitat in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in March 2020. For 18 months, the elephants traveled over 1000 kilometers on a wildlife journey that included impromptu village feasts, riotous raids on grain stores, messy mud fights, and even giving birth on the road. The elephants of Yunnan captivated people in China and around the world, with millions of viewers watching the story unfold via a 24-hour live stream shot with drone footage.
“Telling great stories has always been a core part of IMAX’s DNA, and we’re thrilled to bring this fascinating story from China to the world,” said Daniel Manwaring, CEO of IMAX China. “Thanks to our partners from China Review Studio, Beach House Pictures and an incredible team.”
“The documentary film ‘The Elephant Odyssey’ is a deep exploration that goes beyond the fascinating journey of the Asian elephants that moved north and south, uncovering previously unknown, touching stories. We very much look forward to telling a distinctive Chinese story to audiences worldwide, together with IMAX and Beach House Pictures.” said Chen Fang, Director of China Review Studio, CICG.
“The Elephant Odyssey” is directed by renowned director and cinematographer Alice Gu (“The Donut King”), with Clair Popkin (“Free Solo”, “Wild Life”) serving as the director of photography. The feature documentary is filmed with IMAX certified cameras and will feature exclusive footage of the elephants’ breathtaking 18-month journey through an unprecedented partnership with China Review Studio.
The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Alice Gu and co-produced by IMAX, Beach House Pictures, and China Review Studio, associated with the Foreign Languages Press and Lucent Pictures. IMAX’s John Turner and Daniel Manwaring, Beach House’s Donovan Chan and Jocelyn Little, and China Review Studio’s Chen Fang will executive produce.