Queens is Nat Geo’s latest wildlife series that follows six domains ruled by the fierce and formidable matriarchs of the animal world.
Narrated by Angela Bassett, the series hosted its world premiere in LA this evening at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
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And there was a surprise guest. Hillary Clinton delivered a message to the all-female production team behind the series, a rarity in the world of documentary and particularly wildlife.
In a video message, the former Senator said she was “celebrating the women in wildlife TV who are flipping the male-dominated script”.
“I love wildlife TV and for over 136 years National Geographic has captivated audiences with their visual storytelling of the natural world. But until now, there has never been a woman-led film and production team telling those stories. Queens not only amplifies stories of female power in the wild, it is dedicated to reshaping gender representation in television, by training and supporting women behind the lens,” she added.
“Glass ceilings are hard to crack anywhere, but they’re even harder to break. So, I want to congratulate this special group of glass ceiling breakers at National Geographic in Los Angeles and around the world. Thank you, and may tonight’s celebration actually be fit for a queen,” she said.
The series is produced by Wildstar Films with Chloe Sarosh as showrunner and writer. It is exec produced by Vanessa Berlowitz and Pamela Caragol with Sophie Darlington and Justine Evans as directors of photography. Erin Ranney is cinematographer and Faith Musembi is a producer and director.
Launching on March 4, Queens bring the natural world into focus through the female lens for the very first time. The series features matriarchies and female leaders from around the world to tell stories of sacrifice and resilience but also friendship and love. Each episode showcases matriarchs, from the peace-loving bonobos of the Congo basin to the ruthless jewel bees of Costa Rica to the powerful elephants of the Savanna.
It took four years to make and was shot using cutting-edge technology to reveal surprising insights into how females in the natural world rise to power, often relying on cooperation and wisdom over brute strength to get ahead.
Speaking earlier today at Nat Geo’s TCA panel, Vanessa Berlowitz said, “30 years I worked in wildlife filmmaking, largely at the BBC, and at every stage I looked around and didn’t see women. We fledged the next generation of female filmmakers in making this series and I look back to those [old] days and I want to say to them, ‘We could do it’.”
Chloe Sarosh added, “When we started making this production, someone in our industry said Queens is that series the girls are making. Vanessa and I knew at that moment not only did we have to make a great series, but we had to make something that was better.”
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