The Elephant Queen stomps into UK cinemas ahead of Apple TV+ launch
James R | On 18, Oct 2019
Today sees The Elephant Queen stomp into UK cinemas, as Apple prepares to launch its new streaming service Apple TV+.
The genre-crossing wildlife documentary, which is crafted as a character-driven narrative, is built upon a foundation of authenticity and integrity, brought from filmmakers Mark Deeble (Voyage of Time) and Victoria Stone’s (The Queen of Trees) 60 years of collective experience in nature documentary filmmaking. Deeble and Stone, who are Emmy and Peabody Award winners, spent 25 years living in the East African bush, preparing them for the epic odyssey of family and coming home.
The Elephant Queen is Athena, an elephant matriarch who leads her family across an unforgiving, yet cinematic natural landscape made up of grasslands and woodlands, dotted with seasonal waterholes. The elephants share their home with a cast of supporting character species who provide texture and richness to the elephants’ ecosystem – from a toenail height perspective. Athena, as leader of her herd, anticipates the coming dry season and knows there are lean times ahead. As the waterholes dry up, she has no choice but to take her family on a treacherous journey across even more foreboding landscapes, as the majestic creatures seek refuge until the rains fall again.
The film is directed by Deeble and Stone and produced by Stone and Lucinda Englehart (My Marlon and Brando). Deeble is the cinematographer and writer. The music is by Alex Heffes (Last King of Scotland) and narration is by Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Boy who Harnessed the Wind).
An official selection of the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the film was acquired by Apple last year. Now, after its premiere last night – attended by Sir David Attenborough, Princess Beatrice Of York, Thandie Newton, Emilia Fox and Krishnan Guru Murthy – the film arrives in select UK cinemas today.
Like Netflix, Apple has turned to Curzon Cinemas – which has its own video on-demand platform, Curzon Home Cinema, and is no stranger to day-and-date releases – to screen the film on the big screen. The Elephant Queen is showing from today at Curzon Wimbledon, Aldgate, Oxford and Colchester.
The film will be available worldwide on Apple TV+ when it launches on 1st November. Apple TV+ will cost £4.99 a month. For more information, click here.
Apple acquires The Elephant Queen
10th September 2018
Apple has acquired the worldwide rights to documentary The Elephant Queen.
From veteran wildlife filmmakers Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble, the film follows a majestic female elephant who leads her herd in search of a new place to call home.
Earning the respect of her extended family by ruling with loving practicality, Athena knows that the fate of her herd is on her shoulders — a responsibility she does not take lightly. The challenges faced by one newborn, Mimi, remind us how fragile life can be in an unforgiving climate, and just how much herd members rely on one another.
The film was shot over four years, as Deeble and Stone embedded themselves in the herd. The end result is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Doctor Strange) and had its premiere this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. Now, in a deal with Endeavor Content and Mister Smith Entertainment, Apple TV has snapped up the project wholesale for distribution on its upcoming video platform.
The film joins Apple’s growing slate of original projects, which mostly involve TV series. However, Apple is also steadily building a feature film library to boot: the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year marked a seven-figure deal by Apple to release Songwriter, a new documentary about Ed Sheeran. Apple isn’t the only streaming service out in force at Toronto, with YouTube Premium snapping up Gael Garcia Bernal thriller Museo and Netflix acquiring Nigerian film Lionheart.