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NHNZ Announces Production of 4K Natural History Docu-Soap, Orangutan Jungle School, Commissioned for Love Nature
2 April 2018

The 10-part docu-soap, filmed in Borneo, Indonesia, takes viewers inside the intimate and emotional journey of baby orangutans, and their caregivers, at the world's largest primate rescue and rehabilitation project managed by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).

Blue Ant International oversees licensing of Orangutan Jungle School and will feature the docu-soap at MIPTV 2018.

NHNZ Orangutan Jungle School Bumi and Jacqui
Nursery school students, Jacqui and Bumi (L-R), star in Orangutan Jungle School (10x60’;HDR), produced by NHNZ for Love Nature and scheduled for delivery in June 2018.

NHNZ, Blue Ant Media’s New Zealand-based factual television production house creating original content for global broadcasters, announced today that it is currently in production on a new HDR natural history docu-soap, Orangutan Jungle School (10x60’HDR). Commissioned for Love Nature, home to the largest 4K wildlife and nature library in the world, Orangutan Jungle School follows the hilarious antics, triumphs and tragedies of a group of orphaned orangutans as they progress through a unique forest school system. The series is filmed at Nyaru Menteng, in Borneo, Indonesia, where the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) manages the largest primate rescue and rehabilitation project in the world. Blue Ant International oversees the docu-soap’s licensing, which will be featured at MIPTV 2018.

Orangutan Jungle School introduces audiences to BOSF’s highly skilled team who rescues orangutans that have been displaced from their habitat because of forest destruction, separated from their mothers or kept illegally as pets, and teaches them the skills necessary to return to the wild. Once in the care of BOSF, they have the chance for a future of freedom – but the road back to the wild is long as they embark on the various stages of their education. The nursery, five stages of forest school and pre-release islands teach the orangutans essential lessons for survival. The charismatic and intelligent orangutans have distinct characters and viewers are guaranteed to become emotionally invested in their journey to freedom. The docu-series is an entertaining and fascinating insight into the world of orangutans, which will foster awareness for the plight of this endangered species and the fragile ecosystem in which these charismatic apes lead their lives.

Orangutan Jungle School - Sizzle

“The individual storylines and overarching narrative of this series is comparable to anyone’s favourite long-running drama soap. The scope of material for our production team is a banquet of delights including edge-of-seat drama, tear-jerking moments and plenty of comic relief. The orangutans themselves take over the script development and come up with stories we would never even think of,” said Judith Curran, Writer and Executive Producer.

“It is an exciting time for NHNZ to see the engaging and visually vibrant results of Orangutan Jungle School,” said Kyle Murdoch, Managing Director, NHNZ. “We are anticipating a very positive response from viewers. The series combines light-hearted fun with the jeopardy of a real-life conservation mission; it strikes a great balance.”

Orangutan Jungle School is emblematic of Love Nature's new commissioning strategy. The series delights with rich characters and entertaining storylines that have broad audience appeal," said Carlyn Staudt, EVP, Programming & Development, Love Nature. "Our viewers will be captivated by the stories captured at Nyaru Menteng, anchored by the credibility that the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation brings to this important docu-soap.”

In the jungle classroom, lessons range from cracking open a coconut to nest building, snake awareness and how to become an expert climber. The youngest students are less than one year old and the oldest are the equivalent of human teenagers. Adolescent and adult graduates wait their turn for wild release on special river islands.

The docu-series’ “cast” includes an all-star line-up of best mates, rivals and prima donnas, including:

  • Valentino: the class clown who BOSF carers hope will smarten up enough to graduate.
  • Mema: a picky eater who thinks snack time is gross.
  • Malika: the clumsy toddler who doesn’t know how to climb.
  • Big-bellied Beni: the glutton who has to go on a diet.
  • Kesi: the inspiring amputee victim whose hand was cut off by a machete as she clung to her mother’s back. Nothing stands in her way and she’s always at the top of her class, even in climbing!
  • Cinta: one of Jungle School’s cleverest, boldest and most resourceful students. She is full of surprises!

Orangutan Jungle School is created, executive produced and written by Judith Curran. Kyle Murdoch serves as Executive in Charge in Production and Anya Durling is Head of Development. Anna Sand is the Executive Producer for Blue Ant Media.

Wild Studios

NHNZ, based in Dunedin (New Zealand) with an office in Beijing, has been in operation for 40 years and is one of the largest and most respected natural history and factual production houses in the world. NHNZ’s storytelling prowess has been recognized with more than 300 international honours including Emmy awards and the prestigious Wildscreen Panda. The production house’s highly anticipated blue chip series Big Pacific (5×60), co-produced with partners PBS, CCTV, ZDF Enterprises, Discovery International, Channel 9 and ARTE was met with critical acclaim. NHNZ’s roster of partners and buyers also include National Geographic Channels, Animal Planet and NHK. The company’s team is made up of over 100 highly-skilled filmmakers, craftspeople, media executives, researchers and a dedicated group of technicians. NHNZ is a Blue Ant Media production company. nhnz.tv

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 brings audiences closer to the beauty and wonder of nature, sharing awe-inspiring stories and shining a light on the fight for survival in a changing world. With commercial-free linear and streaming video platforms and original content shot in the highest quality, Love Nature offers viewers exclusive content from around the globe. Love Nature is available via linear television internationally and streaming video in 65+ countries worldwide. LoveNature.com

NHNZ Wild Studios

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