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Love Nature Announces Greenlight and Commission of Gangs of Lemur Island via True to Nature at Wildscreen Festival 2018
By Blue Ant Media
18th October 2018

Gangs of Lemur Island will premiere on Love Nature’s linear and streaming video platforms internationally and via Smithsonian Earth in the US.

Blue Ant International oversees the five-part series’ licensing, which will be available for pre-sale at MIPCOM and Wildscreen this month.

Wildscreen Festival 2018 - Panda Award Winner

Love Nature, a joint venture with Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks, announced from the Wildscreen Festival today its greenlight and commission of captivating new series, Gangs of Lemur Island (5x50’; UHD and HDR) with renowned Bristol-based production company True to Nature, led by former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, Dr. Wendy Darke. The series will air on Love Nature’s linear and streaming video platforms internationally and via Smithsonian Earth in the US. Blue Ant International oversees the five-part series’ licensing, which will be available for pre-sale at MIPCOM and Wildscreen this month.

Responsible for over 1000 programmes, Dr. Darke brings decades of experience to this new production. She served as Head of the BBC Natural History Unit from 2012-2016 and is well-known for leading the development and successful delivery of many beloved character-based series. In Darke’s latest wildlife soap opera, Gangs of Lemur Island, we meet the lemurs of the Berenty, a small forest reserve in southern Madagascar where a lovable troop of ring-tailed creatures live. Studied for over 50 years by scientists, these lemurs are intelligent and highly social creatures that share a common ancestry with humans and, as the series reveals, remarkably like us.

The ground-breaking, new wildlife soap, created by a multi award winning team, follows four warring troops of ring-tailed lemurs in the fast changing, unique world of Madagascar, The Museum Gang, The Ruins Gang, The Yalygate Gang and The Hangar Gang: four tight-knit clans that fight with each other on a daily basis to protect their turf and family. Power struggles and in-fighting are rife, as matriarchal gang bosses strive to keep a firm, yet fragile, hold on their alpha status and stories of loyal friendships and coalitions unfold.

Aided by the latest cinematic technology, Gangs of Lemur Island gives viewers an unprecedented entry into the highs and lows of life as a lemur in the 21st century, which includes the extreme environmental challenges that threaten extinction. Drones are frequently deployed to illustrate the scale and geography of the reserve, with graphics included to indicate the locations of each lemur gang throughout their travels. On the ground, the latest gimbal technology allows viewers to follow the lemurs through their level of sight. Finally, miniature gimbals paired with mini-cams offer increased flexibility when capturing the profile and individual personalities of each troop member.

“Love Nature is committed to creating content that makes the natural world more relatable and relevant. Strong narratives in Gangs of Lemur Island pull viewers through the daily lives of the lemurs and we experience their struggles and triumphs through intimate stories of individuals and groups.  Viewers feel closer to nature because they have bonded with the characters and want to know how their stories end,” said Carlyn Staudt, EVP, Love Nature Programming & Development.  “Love Nature’s audiences will revel in the knowledge and expertise that Wendy Darke brings to this series, as one of the premiere talents in production and one of the most well-respected executives in the nature and wildlife space.”

“Working in partnership with Love Nature, while using the latest technology, scientific discoveries and storytelling techniques, has helped us realise new, premium factual creative ambitions within the popular animal soap opera genre,” said Dr. Wendy Darke, True to Nature.

We are excited to introduce viewers around the world to Gangs of Lemur Island’s charismatic cast of characters, including the ring-tailed lemurs and iconic dancing sifakas, while sharing how they are surprisingly like us!”

Highlights of storylines include:

  • Crystal is the dictatorial leader of the Ruins group, often flanked by her ‘sisterhood’ of Ornella and Clare. These alpha girls dominate the troop and their new pups have everything they could possibly need. At the same time, low-ranking Erika and Pam are pushed to the far edges of the troop, where even getting a glimpse of food is challenging and raising their babies is even tougher.
  • Despite the drought savaging the land, Crystal ensures her troop is well-fed. They have Berenty’s prime real estate and have positioned the heart of their home at the tortoise enclosure where the Ruins troop eat their fill of the daily fresh vegetables left for the tortoises, while always keeping one eye peeled for invading gangs!
  • Kati is the gentle leader of the Museum Gang. Faced with the daily dilemma of where to take her troop, she often takes her gang far out in the sisal fields. With the Ruins to one side and the Yalygate’s to the other, these planted crops are her best option for food, and the spikey plants have become a favorite that help these lemurs through the dry season
  • Low-ranking Juliette, with her unique blonde coat, has ideas above her station. With a new baby and aspirations of climbing the hierarchical ladder, she’s not afraid to chase and swipe at the higher ranking members
  • Morris is the Museum Gang’s lover and fighter. With an eye for the ladies, he’ll happily try to connect with anyone; and his search for lust often leads him into path of neighboring gangs, where he finds himself frequently facing fights to survive
  • The Yalygate Gang, the largest gang in the area with 25 members, live close to the Museum Troop. Aloof and boisterous, their numbers give them confidence and, although they roam far and wide, they have their eye on Museum Gang’s patch
  • The Hangar Gang is led by El, a young and tough mother of twins. (Only 1 in 100 females gives birth to a twin). She leads a powerful marauding gang and it would appear she has her sights set on gangland domination

Gangs of Lemur Island is created and executive produced by Dr. Wendy Darke. The series is written by Hazel Marshall. Andrew Graham-Brown is the Series Producer. Alison Barrat, VP, Development & Production and James Manfull, Executive Producer will oversee the series on behalf of Love Nature. Gangs of Lemur Island is due for delivery in Summer 2019.

Love Nature, creators of the world’s largest 4K natural history library, is seeking co-production and broadcast partners at Wildscreen Film Festival, where the brand is acting as Principal Sponsor. Love Nature is also seeking out new partnerships with premium natural history producers all over the world to program its platforms globally.

Love Nature's channel distribution has grown significantly over the last 12 months with 4K channel launches in The UK and Ireland on Virgin TV, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papa New Guinea, Fiji, Qatar, Thailand and The Maldives; and HD channels also airing in Nigeria and Singapore. The brand’s streaming video service, available in 60+ countries worldwide, has also notably launched on Amazon Channels UK, Amazon Channels Germany and Austria and Vodafone TV in New Zealand in the last 12 months.

Love Nature, a Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks joint venture, creates and distributes the largest library of 4K wildlife and nature content in the world. Love Nature is available on linear television internationally and via streaming video in 60+ countries worldwide. LoveNature.com

TRUE TO NATURE is a Bristol-based, independent production company founded by Dr. Wendy Darke, former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit.  We specialise in innovative, world-class natural history and specialist factual content and TV production using great storytelling to build lifelong relationships between people and the natural world. Recent commissions include The Gangs of Lemur Island (5x60’; UHD and HDR) for Love Nature; Expedition with Steve Backshall (4x60’ and 6x60’) for BBC, UKTV Dave and Fremantle; specialist factual documentary, Volcano 24 (1x60’), an international co-production between True to Nature , ZDFE Enterprises, PBS, WNET Thirteen, Nature, ZDF and ARTE. truetonature.co.uk.

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