LOS ANGELES, April 7, 2004 — National Geographic Feature Films (NGFF), a division of National Geographic Ventures, will film “Krakatoa,” an epic motion picture about the spectacular 1883 eruption on the volcanic island off the coast of Java, it was announced today by Ventures President Dennis Patrick, NGFF Chairman Jake Eberts and President Adam Leipzig. Patrick is executive producer; Eberts and Leipzig will produce.
Gavin Scott will write an original script about the personal and romantic relationships that occur against the turbulent backdrop of the decline of Dutch imperial power, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the advancing role of science and technology, and this cataclysmic eruption.
Simon Winchester, who wrote the best-selling nonfiction book “Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded,” will consult on the project.
“Because of National Geographic’s mission and research resources, we are uniquely qualified to bring this historic event to the screen,” Patrick said. “Not only did the newly invented telegraph link the whole planet, but Krakatoa’s ash in the stratosphere gave rise to major climactic changes due to significant declines in temperatures all over the world. As the earth was erupting with fire and lava, the social, political and cultural orders of the time were in major turmoil. The film will be about men and women caught in a natural phenomenon amid a world churning with new ideas and movements.”
“To dramatize this world in transition and those cataclysmic events for today’s audiences, we wanted a strong personal narrative and empathic characters. Gavin Scott has created an imaginative love story about American and colonial adventurers, and indigenous Javanese,” said Eberts. “We also wanted Simon Winchester, the greatest authority on the many intriguing scientific and sociological details of Krakatoa’s impact on Java and the world, to advise on the project.”
“The synergy of Scott with Winchester will result in a cinematic epic that will utilize many new facts about this historic catastrophe,” added Leipzig.
Gavin Scott wrote and directed the soon-to-be-released “The Battle for Treasure Island.” His other motion picture credits include “Small Soldiers” and “The Borrowers.” Scott wrote “Earthsea,” the Sci Fi Channel’s new mini-series based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s books, starring Danny Glover and Isabella Rossellini. For television, Scott wrote the award-winning miniseries “The Mists of Avalon,” as well as the series “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.”
Simon Winchester’s scholarly works on history and geology have repeatedly climbed onto the world’s best-seller lists. Besides “Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded,” Winchester has written “The Professor and the Madman,” “The Map that Changed the World,” “The Fractured Zone” and “The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.”
National Geographic Feature Films (NGFF) also begins production in fall 2004 on “Emperor Zehnder,” the true story of Bruno Zehnder who dedicated his life to photographing Emperor penguins in the Antarctic, starring Richard Gere. “On the Wing,” starring Robert Redford and adapted by Erik Jendresen from Alan Tennant’s soon-to-be- published book, is currently in development. NGFF’s first feature film “K-19: The Widowmaker,” was released July 2002.
National Geographic Feature Films has established a new specialty label National Geographic World Films (NGWF) — ‘movies without borders’ — to showcase great motion pictures from around the world. NGWF’s inaugural film is the co-presentation with
THINKFilm of the festival hit “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” which begins its U.S. release on June 4.
Jake Eberts produced Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Two Brothers,” which will be released in July. He also is executive producing Christian Volckman’s animated
film “Renaissance,” Jon Long’s large-format film “Sacred Planet” and Louis Schwartzberg’s feature documentary “America — ‘Heart and Soul.” Among the many features Eberts has produced or executive produced are “Chicken Run,” “A River Runs Through It,” the Oscar-winning “Dances with Wolves” and “Driving Miss Daisy,” Kevin Costner’s “Open Range” and last year’s Oscar-nominated, feature-length documentary “Prisoner of Paradise.”
Adam Leipzig produced Julie Taymor’s “Titus.” He was a producer for Interscope on such films as “Roommates,” “Too Much” and “The Associate.” Leipzig previously was senior vice president, Motion Picture Production, for Walt Disney Studios and Touchstone Pictures, where he supervised such films as “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” “Dead Poets Society” and “The Doctor.”
Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, National Geographic augments its award-winning documentary productions (122 Emmy Awards and more than 800 other industry awards) with feature films, large-format films, kids programming and long-form television drama programming. Worldwide, National Geographic’s television programming can be seen on the National Geographic Channel, MSNBC and PBS, home video and DVD, and through international broadcast syndication. The National Geographic Channel is received by more than 200 million households in 25 languages and 146 countries, including the United States. For more information about National Geographic Television & Film, log on to www.nationalgeographic.com, AOL Keyword: NatGeo.