Following the success of celebrated 4K natural history project Camp Zambia, Love Nature 4K announces continued partnership with Plimsoll Productions with character-led docu-soap, Big Cat Country
Specialist wildlife cameraman, Nathan Pilcher, plants himself in the heart of big cat country to bring viewers unprecedented 24/7 blue chip footage of the ultimate lion soap opera
(New Orleans, LA – January 28, 2019) – Love Nature 4K, a joint venture with Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks, announced today that it will continue its work with award-winning, Bristol-based production house, Plimsoll Productions, on a new lion docu-soap Big Cat Country (6×60’; 4K and HD) commissioned for Love Nature 4K. The series will air on Love Nature 4K’s linear and streaming video platforms internationally and via Smithsonian Channel in the US. The news follows a series of recent greenlight and commission announcements by the brand, including Gangs of Lemur Island via True to Nature and Malawi Wildlife Vet with Icon FIlms. Blue Ant International oversees the six-part series’ licensing, which is now available for pre-sale.
Shot in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, one of the most remote and brutal wildernesses in Africa, the series takes an in-depth look at three dynasties of lions that are poised on the edge of collapse. Nathan Pilcher, a native of Zambia, has been filming in the country for more than 15 years, with a special focus on the Luangwa prides for the last three. With an unique knowledge and understanding of this great cat family, Pilcher speaks to each individual personality, as well as the intricacies of pride politics on a whole after observing the drama up-close for so many years. In this series, Pilcher will be joined by the passionate and insightful, Sam Davies, who will serve as a prompt for Pilcher to answer what the team anticipates will be the audience’s most pressing questions as the drama unfolds. Davies has worked in Africa all her life and will also serve as second camera. Production launched in September 2018.
Filming will take place over a six-month period, when the season transforms the Luangwa Valley from an extraordinary wetland into a brutally dry semi-arid desert. There will be several crews, and numerous cameras, capturing all of the action night and day. One key feature of the filming process is the Selex camera, a thermal, military-grade, night-vision camera that is the latest and most sophisticated tool used to capture wildlife behaviour in Africa. The capabilities of this camera are essential in filming lions and their night hunting behaviour.
“Love Nature 4K is focused on commissioning content that creates human connections to the natural world. Nathan Pilcher has been following the lions of Luangwa Valley for over three years and has a unique vantage point to bring Love Nature 4K viewers closer to the action,” said Carlyn Staudt, EVP, Love Nature Programming & Development. “This series is the beginning of introducing faces to the Love Nature brand. I’m committed to showcasing passionate talent who are immersed in nature in a legitimate way, as well as real experts in their field.”
“We’re delighted to be continuing to film the lions of Luangwa with Love Nature 4K,” said Andrew Jackson, President of International Production for Plimsoll Productions. “It has been a wonderful experience to follow the individual lives of these incredible creatures, watching them grow up and take on the world. Their stories are fascinating and we know they’ll capture the hearts and admiration of our audience as well.”
The series documents the story of the Mwamba pride, which has been locked in a raging battle with the Hollywood and Kaingo prides for territory and dominance in the region. The three brothers who are the alpha males, the Punks, are getting old and a new order is about to take control of the valley.
Highlights of storylines include:
- Four new young males appear: The Nomads. Their arrival throws all the existing prides into turmoil. Battle lines are drawn between the Punks and new males. Every lion will be affected by the outcome.
- Rosa, one of the adult females from the Mwamba pride, has been missing for weeks. Just when the team starts to doubt she will ever return, Rosa is seen hiding in the bushes and she is not alone. She has given birth to three new-born cubs; they’ve been spending time getting to know each other in the safety of the thicket. Cubs are always at risk, but especially in their first few months of life, which is why they are kept hidden. With the Nomads on the prowl and sure to kill them if they find them, their future is more uncertain than ever. Can Rosa keep them protected? What will happen when they join the main pride?
- The Hollywood pride have been used to having no alpha males so the lionesses are fierce and protective of each other and their young males. The Nomads are trying to woo them, so far unsuccessfully, but as the dry season starts to bite the lions are forced to live cheek by jowl near the river and love turns to war. Can the Hollywood females stand up to the Nomads?
Big Cat Country is executive produced by Andrew Jackson and Kate Beetham. The series producer is Beth Brooks. The principle camera and onscreen host is Nathan Pilcher. Sam Davies is onscreen host and second camera. Big Cat Country is due to be delivered in early 2019. The series is also available for licensing in select regions via Blue Ant International.
Love Nature 4K, 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 4K is available on linear television internationally and via streaming video in 60+ countries worldwide. LoveNature.com
Plimsoll Productions creates and produces non-scripted programming for the international television market from offices in Bristol, Los Angeles and Cardiff. The award-winning creative team has produced some of the biggest factual hits in recent years, winning Emmy Awards as well as top honors from BAFTA and RTS. Since launching five years ago, the company has produced over 50 series for domestic and international networks, including the recent Yellowstone Live (Nat Geo), which premiered to 13 million viewers, Earth Live (Nat Geo), Rescue Dog to Super Dog (Animal Planet), First Brit (Channel 4) and the upcoming Camp Zambia (Love Nature, Smithsonian Networks) and Hostile Planet (NatGeo) among many more. Last year, the company earned the fifth position in the Sunday Times’ annual Fast Track 100, the third position in the annual Fast Track Export List and the British Chamber of Commerce awarded the company the High Growth Business of the Year award, making Plimsoll the first independent production company to ever be honored with the award.