Dinosaur Bone Trade Documentary ‘The Bones,’ From ‘Fire of Love’ Producer, Debuts Trailer, Dogwoof Handles Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer (below) for dinosaur bone trade documentary “The Bones,” which will have its world premiere at CPH:DOX as part of the festival’s Science program. The producer is Ina Fichman, Oscar nominated for “Fire of Love.” Dogwoof is handling world sales.

“The Bones,” written and directed by Jeremy Xido (“Death Metal Angola”), is a cinematic exploration of the high-stakes world of dinosaur bone trading, where obsessive collectors compete with museums, scientists, and high-end auction houses to own a piece of the past.

More from Variety

“It’s a story of intrigue, an illicit caper at the collision of science, commerce and a dark colonial legacy,” according to a press statement. “Part international thriller, part meditation on the nature of existence, ‘The Bones’ reveals the hidden world of passionate, globetrotting scientists and fossil dealers battling over the meaning of ‘The Bones’ and our uncertain future.”

The film sees paleontologist Bolor Minjin, the first scientist to ever repatriate fossils that had been stolen from Mongolia, travel through her homeland training the next generation of Mongolians to be the guardians of the bones.

In Morocco, Nizar Ibrahim leads a team into the Saharan desert on a quest to unearth the next great scientific discovery but must negotiate with fossil dealers who want big money for the same bones.

Meanwhile, French collector and fossil dealer Francois Escuillier introduces us to the questionable world of buying and selling dinosaur bones, which today can be worth millions of dollars.

And eminent paleontologist Jack Horner—the man upon whom “Jurassic Park” is based—changes the concept of a fossil’s value by breaking them open, searching for molecular clues that may help him resurrect an actual dinosaur.

Xido explains: “Originally, I thought that the film would chronicle Bolor Minjin’s story on the mission of repatriating the Mongolian dinosaurs, but the scope of it grew as I started to understand the extent and the global ramifications of the bone trade. The film now moves across the world, weaving together stories, complicated by the legacies of colonialism and late-stage capitalism. And then there is the very notion of ownership. Can anyone really own the dinosaurs? And does the very idea of ownership just miss the point of what the bones truly have to teach us about life on earth and our possible extinction?”

Fichman adds: “Producing this film has been a global journey of discovery as our crews engaged with such a diversity of characters in the dinosaur bone trade. I am so grateful to all of our collaborators, on and offscreen, all of whom brought their creative vision to this story. And, now I am very excited to share this film with audiences worldwide.”

Katie Bench, Dogwoof’s senior sales executive, comments: “We knew ‘The Bones’ was a crowd-pleaser, but it also manages to be provocative, and confront questions in the cultural zeitgeist. It’s an entertaining and rich exploration of the intrigue, drama and deals behind a multi-million dollar business. No one knows how global the trade is, there just aren’t many stories more international in scope.”

“The Bones” is an Intuitive Pictures and Berlin Producers co-production produced in association with Crave Originals, ARTE RBB with the participation of Rogers Cable Network Fund, the Canada Media Fund, Quebec Film and Television Tax Credit, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg Funding, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund, supported by a development grant from Catapult Film Fund and developed with the assistance of NY Foundation for the Arts, and the Forstrom and Zeitblom funds.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.