WASHINGTON (Nov. 2, 2010)—Move as millions. Survive as one. National Geographic Home Entertainment’s newest release, “Great Migrations,” gives the word “move” a whole new meaning. The three-disc DVD compilation (two-disc Blu-Ray), available at retail Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, follows the landmark television event premiering Sunday, Nov. 7, on National Geographic Channel. The collectable, embossed set can be found at shopNG.com, in stores where videos are sold or by calling (800) 437-5521.
Narrated by two-time Emmy winner and three-time Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin, “Great Migrations” takes viewers around the world on the arduous journeys that millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species.
Shot from land and air, in trees and cliff-blinds, on ice floes and underwater, “Great Migrations” tells the powerful stories of many of the planet’s species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights and previously undocumented behaviors with breathtaking high-definition clarity and emotional impact. A global initiative unprecedented in the Society’s storied 122-year history, “Great Migrations” content will also be featured across the spectrum of National Geographic platforms, including magazine articles and maps, books, mobile and iPhone apps, games, lectures, screenings, exhibits and tours.
“Great Migrations” presents the most-in depth visual record of a diverse range of animal migrations, including zebras in Botswana, Mali elephants, red crabs on Christmas Island, flying foxes in Australia, army ants in Costa Rica and Pacific great white sharks.
The series is a technical tour de force, capturing the travels of microscopic ocean plankton and translucent jellyfish and documenting the attachment of radio transmitters to monarch butterflies and elephant seals in order to study migration behaviors. Each animal’s fragile, yet majestic, existence inspires viewers to consider what it is really like to move like your life depends on it.
Animal behaviors never before caught on film include the dramatic moment a herd of Mali elephants passes through “La Porte des Elephants” — the elephants’ door — in West Africa, and a monarch butterfly flying with a radio transmitter attached. Viewers will also see rare footage of a great white shark devouring a seal off the coast of Guadalupe Island and the unusual sight of a zebra stallion as he tries to herd an orphaned foal. The program shows history in the making as massive numbers of white-eared kob, thought to have been wiped out during more than two decades of violent unrest in the Sudan, are filmed for the first time. There also is footage of a heartbreaking crisis for Arctic walruses confronting historic climate change.
Set to original music by film and television composer Anton Sanko (“Big Love”), these epic stories of animal migration across the globe are told in four parts:
“Great Migrations: Born to Move”
For these animals, moving literally means survival. In this hour, observe the dramatic migration of Christmas Island’s red crabs, as they travel en masse from interior forests to mate on the beaches and deliver their young, braving intense battles with ferocious yellow ants; the wrenching moment a wildebeest calf falls prey to crocodiles as its mother helplessly watches from the river’s edge, during the arduous 300-mile journey the wildebeest make each year; the monarch butterflies’ annual journey in North America that takes four generations to complete; and the marvel of the sperm whale, which may travel more than a million miles in a lifetime.
“Great Migrations: Need to Breed”
The stories of species’ need to reproduce, the obstacles they overcome and the distances they travel to ensure future generations are awe inspiring. Witness history as we see, for the first time in nearly 30 years, that the white-eared kob is alive and well in war-torn Sudan and performing a deadly, yet comical-looking, mating ritual; stunning footage of red flying foxes soaring across the skies of Australia with the young wrapped in their mothers’ translucent wings; hard-working army ants in a Costa Rican rain forest, where the females and 200,000 larvae demand 30,000 prey corpses a day; and remarkable feeding and breeding behaviors of elephant seals, penguins and black-browed albatross in the Falkland Islands.
“Great Migrations: Feast or Famine”
Witness the fortitude and elegance of Mali elephants as they undertake the longest elephant migration on Earth. The only way these elephants can survive is to keep moving across the scorched earth — from water to water, food to food — both in desperately short supply. Great white sharks cover thousands of miles of open ocean each year from Hawaii to northern Mexico to reach an abundant feast 150 miles off the coast of Guadalupe, Mexico, where the waters are teeming with marine life. View close up the rarely filmed attack on a seal by a great white, shown in incredible detail from above and below the water’s surface. Revel in the incredible, beautiful sight of golden jellyfish off Palau on a race to follow the sun in their daily migration.
“Great Migrations: Race to Survive”
Every spring in Botswana, hundreds of zebras leave the largest inland delta in the world to make a desperate 150-mile slog into hell — a desert of salt and sand — so their bodies can take in much-needed minerals. Off the coast of Alaska, Pacific walruses have become victims of Earth’s changing climate, enduring a grim struggle as they travel hundreds of miles along ice floes to reach their summer foraging ground. One small herd of 200 pronghorn antelope follows its species’ ancient migration, traveling north in early spring from southern Wyoming, moving to lower elevations to follow the retreating snow line — a tough journey made even more difficult by human encroachment. In Borneo, a single, fragrant fig tree provides the impetus for a chaotic chorus of orangutans, red leaf monkeys, macaques and grey gibbons that travel from throughout the jungle to feast before the figs rot and drop to the forest floor.
Bonus content includes:
“Science of Great Migrations”
“Science of Great Migrations” investigates the mysteries behind some of the most impressive and puzzling migrations. Watch the intricacies of placing the first radio transmitter on a butterfly, and follow scientists tracking elusive elephant seals with a special tag called a “Daily Diary,” designed to find out what these creatures do during the 10 months every year they disappear beneath the surface of the ocean.
“Great Migrations: Behind the Scenes”
In the behind-the-scenes hour, we see the dramatic measures the National Geographic crews took during years in the field to get the painstaking shots, including swimming with sharks out of the cage; facing an enormous sandstorm moving at 60 miles per hour; dangling off a 400-foot cliff to get never-before-captured footage of peregrine falcon nestlings; spending 14 hours a day for an entire month 150 feet off the ground in Borneo to film primates in the canopy; and almost getting trapped in the Arctic by ice and shifting currents while filming walruses.
The official companion book to the miniseries — “Great Migrations: Epic Animal Journeys,” by Karen Kostyal; ISBN: 978-1-4262-0644-3) — releases this fall to coincide with the global premiere. The book includes more than 250 National Geographic photographs, mirroring the incredible stories from around the world told in the film. National Geographic is also publishing five children’s books, and “Great Migrations” is the cover story of the November 2010 National Geographic magazine, which contains a foldout map detailing some of the greatest animal migrations on the planet.
“Great Migrations” is a National Geographic Television (NGT) production. President, NGT, is Michael Rosenfeld. Executive producer is Keenan Smart. Series producer is David Hamlin. Executive producer for National Geographic Channels is Char Serwa; for NGC-US, senior vice president of production is Juliet Blake, and executive vice president of content is Steve Burns. For National Geographic Channels International, executive vice president of content is Sydney Suissa.
National Geographic Home Entertainment titles are distributed to the retail marketplace in the United States and Canada through Vivendi Entertainment.
For more information visit www.natgeotv.com/migrations.
Street Date: Nov. 16, 2010
Suggested Retail Price: $44.99 (DVD)/ $49.98 (Blu-Ray)
Run Time: Approx. 200 minutes, plus 100 minutes of bonus content
About National Geographic Entertainment
National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) was established in 2007, combining into a single operating group National Geographic’s Cinema Ventures, Feature Films, Kids Entertainment, Home Entertainment and Music & Radio business units. NGE is part of National Geographic Global Media, which brings together all of National Geographic’s editorial platforms in order to streamline collaboration and further support the Society’s mission to inspire people to care about the planet.
About Vivendi Entertainment
Vivendi Entertainment is a full service independent film, television, DVD and digital distribution company operating in the United States and Canada. Representing a vast range of genres including action, comedy, urban, family, Latino, sports and stand-up comedies, Vivendi Entertainment has become a favorite distribution partner for independent content providers. The company has built an extensive catalog of over 3,000 titles, and its customer-centric business model was founded on the principles of collaboration and financial transparency. The company provides sales, marketing and distribution services to many of the home entertainment industry’s most prestigious brands including: World Wrestling Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Shout! Factory, Classic Media, Big Idea, RHI, Code Black, National Geographic, Salient, Televisa, Sid and Marty Krofft Pictures and Nelvana. Vivendi Entertainment is a division of Universal Music Group Distribution, the award-winning sales, marketing and distribution arm of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company.