Passion Planet is our Science and Nature department, creating inspiring documentaries in a range of tailored approaches, formats and genres: From authored singles like the multi-award-winning My Life As A Turkey; to ambitious landmark series such as H2O: The Molecule that Made Us and Earth; A New Wild. Passion Planet’s output covers the breadth of media from feature documentaries including Emmy Award-winning The Serengeti Rules to new formats like the viral animations Animals in Therapy.
Science and Nature
My Garden of A Thousand Bees
For WNET Nature & Tangled Bank Studios Chosen to open the 40th anniversary of the Nature series on PBS, this film is about a veteran wildlife cameraman who is bee obsessed. Seeking refuge from the pandemic in a small city garden, he is filming the wild bees that live there with mind-blowing results. From giant bumblebees to scissor bees the size of a mosquito, he has seen over 60 species of bee. But more importantly, he is developing a close relationship with an individual bee he follows through its entire life.
The Serengeti Rules
Feature documentary for HHMI/Tangled Bank Studios, 2018. Broadcast version for WNET Nature, 2019. Beginning in the 1960s, this feature documentary follows a small band of young scientists as they head out into some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth, to uncover the rules of Nature. Now in the twilight of their eminent careers, these unsung heroes of ecology share the stories of their adventures, and reveal how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head, and gives us a chance to reimagine the world around us, and face up to some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. “Nicolas Brown’s exhilarating doc The Serengeti Rules proves, predators like starfish and bass are essential for the survival of ecosystems. The photography is startling and gorgeous, and even the toughest naysayers will be hard-pressed not to admit that certain animals are essential for the protection of forests, oceans, and even endangered species.“ VILLAGE VOICE “A quality scientific documentary… with stunning cinematography and arresting juxtapositions which give the sense of the tragedy of a downgraded ecosystem.” SCREEN DAILY
H2O: The Molecule That Made Us
The Molecule that Made Us is a landmark, three-part series that tells the human story through our relationship to water. We find out how our success is intimately connected to our control of the molecule, but that the growth of our civilizations has also created a dangerous dependence on a precious resource. One that may be about to run out.
The Octopus in My House
For BBC Natural World and WNET Nature. A professor develops an extraordinary relationship with an octopus when he invites it to live in his home. The octopus, called Heidi, unravels puzzles, recognises individual humans and even watches TV with the family. The episode also shows remarkable behaviour from around the world – from the day octopus, which can change colour and texture in a split second, to the coconut octopus, which carries around its own coconut shell to hide in. But most fascinating of all is seeing how Professor David Scheel and his daughter Laurel bond with an animal that has nine brains, three hearts and blue blood running through its veins.
My Life As A Turkey
For BBC Natural World and WNET Nature, 2011. The story of how one man left humanity behind to become a turkey explores one of those rare moments when man and animal unwittingly become linked closer than nature should allow. Deep in the American wilderness, Joe Hutto’s extraordinary narration take us to another dimension of natural history appreciation. And in this way, this film is like no other natural history documentary that has gone before it. “Possibly the best documentary of the year” THE TIMES
Earth: A New Wild
Five part series for PBS/National Geographic, 2015. EARTH: A NEW WILD uses advanced filming techniques to provide visuals as stunning as the best natural history programs but unlike most nature films, this series turns the cameras around, to show the world as it really is – with humans in the picture. Dr. M. Sanjayan takes us to the frontiers of where man and animal meet, and here he discovers how our relationship with the greatest natural history events on the planet are intimately connected to us humans; a relationship that can provide a key to preserving our present and saving our future existence.
Documentary short, 2021. In the mountains of northern Kenya, a Samburu community is doing something that has never been done before, building a sanctuary for orphaned elephants to rehabilitate them back to the wild. The project is not just changing attitudes about elephants, it’s changing attitudes about women too; the secret to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary’s success is the special bond between a group of women keepers and one special elephant named Shaba.
The Unnatural History of London
For BBC Natural World, 2012. Most of London’s nine million residents are oblivious to the secret world that surrounds them, but nature is seeping into every corner of this capital. Coming in from the countryside, stowing away on ships the pigeons are even using the tube trains, climbing aboard to commute to their feeding sites each morning! In a very British manner, some of its residents have forged extraordinary relationships with these urban immigrants. Extraordinary images combine with the lives of ordinary people to provide a vision of a city like no other – a journey to hidden world, where we become more and more immersed in the animal stories we discover.
A Sparks Films and Passion Planet production Released worldwide on Friday August 21st. Available to stream and download in 5 languages at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thetroublemaker In times of crisis, we get to find out who we really are. ‘The Troublemaker’ delves deep into the ideas and emotions behind the international wave of civil-protest, born in the face of the unfolding climate crisis.
Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and presented in stunning 360° VR, “My Africa” transports viewers to an elephant sanctuary in Kenya, where a community is reknitting the bonds that have long enabled people and wildlife to coexist. “My Africa is a transporting film. The nine-minute video narrated by Lupita Nyong’o takes viewers inside the life of an elephant keeper in Kenya. The effects in this film range from cute (a baby elephant licking the camera) to terrifying (a wildebeest stampede right out of The Lion King). It’s education with a twist, which is one of VR’s big advantages.” OBSERVER “Stereoscopic 360 cinematography, striking in its dimensionality… a world so complete in its presence you feel a deep, moving empathy for the people and their struggle to live in harmony with nature.” FORBES Get the full VR experience
Feature documentary for CBC/Film Four. A docu-drama based on the story told in the award winning book ‘The Golden Spruce’, this film tracks the events which lead up to the catastrophic destruction of North America’s most precious tree. An environmental thriller set in the wilderness of Canada’s Pacific North West. This is the true story of how one man dared to challenge the destruction of the World’s last great temperate rainforest. Grant Hadwin may have instigated the salvation of the forest with his terrorist act, but his story ends in madness and self-destruction and raises the age old question: can the end justify the means?
Touching The Wild
For WNET Nature. Joe Hutto’s research is anything but normal, he is dedicating seven years of his life to become a wild deer. The herd of mule deer should run from any human, but incredibly, these keenly intelligent animals have accepted this stranger as one of them. He walks amongst them; he is even groomed by them, and can lie with a pregnant doe talking to its unborn fawn. He is slowly being accepted into deer society, and as he crosses the species divide, the captivating joy this man feels for his new family is nothing short of infectious. But this human predator is also learning to see the world from the point of view of prey, and it’s an experience that will ultimately rock him to his very core, sending him running back to his own kind.
For Discovery Channel, Shark Week, 2015 The ocean is a cruel place—full of predators driven to survive. But at the apex of the food chain are six swift and deadly sharks. These stealthy assassins exploit prey with specialized adaptations, making them the most fearsome predators on the planet. Passion Planet filmed the first successful tagging program of thresher sharks for this Discovery Channel ‘Shark Week’ production.