July 5, 2023—IMAX® Corporation, Beach House Pictures (a Blue Ant Media company) and China Review Studio of China International Communications Group (CICG) have 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.

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture, and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX systems to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, making IMAX’s network among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. Streaming technology company SSIMWAVE, an IMAX subsidiary, is a leader in AI-driven video quality solutions for media and entertainment companies.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of March 31, 2023, there were 1,711 IMAX systems (1,631 commercial multiplexes, 12 commercial destinations, 68 institutional) operating in 87 countries and territories. Shares of IMAX China Holding, Inc., a subsidiary of IMAX Corporation, trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code “1970.”

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About Beach House Pictures
Founded 18 years ago by Creative Director Donovan Chan and Managing Director Jocelyn Little, Beach House Pictures (BHP) is headquartered in Singapore and is one of Asia’s largest independent TV & Film production companies, with a base in China and partners across Southeast Asia and in Korea, Japan and India. BHP is a unique multi-cultural and multi-genre expert whose buyers and partners range from the US to Asia. BHP specializes in creating and owning original IP across scripted, factual, unscripted and branded programming for regional and international platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Warner Bros Discovery, including Chinese platforms such as Youku, Bilibili and Tencent, producing highly-rated premium shows such as Emmy® nominated MIND YOUR MANNERS (Netflix), Top 10 Netflix series MR MIDNIGHT and THE RAINCOAT KILLER, critically acclaimed science series EVOLVE (Curiosity, Amazon Prime) and LIFT THE ICE (Curiosity), highly rated wildlife series OTTER DYNASTY (Max/Discovery+, Love Nature) and long-running franchises MASTERCHEF SINGAPORE (MediaCorp), BAKE OFF JAPAN (Amazon Prime), ED STAFFORD: FIRST MAN OUT (Discovery, Bilibili) and WILD CITY WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH (Sky, BBC America). BHP is in development with Ink Factory (NIGHT MANAGER) on a premium Asian scripted action series CLEOPATRA WONG with new scripted development deals signed with Canal+, Studiocanal, Viu and Amazon Prime. An ultimate blend of the best of East and West, BHP is currently repped by Anonymous Content. beachhousepictures.com

About China Review Studio
China Review Studio was founded in 2012, affiliated with China International Communications Group. It has financed and produced excellent documentary programmes of Chinese themes, covering various fields including ecology, science and technology, and culture, etc. In recent years, China Review Studio has developed and produced nearly a hundred documentaries and new media short-form programmes, which has won worldwide recognition.

Source: IMAX Corporation