Terra Mater Studios Takes Specialist Factual Focus

Oct 6th, 2023

Ramping up its slate of specialist factual programming, Terra Mater Studios is currently releasing and producing a nice mix of one-offs as well as limited series. Current and upcoming release highlights include the three-parters Scotland—The New WildA Cheetah’s Pride and The Wild Sides, which has just been picked up by National Geographic channels internationally as a presale. At the same time, the company’s one-offs are presenting and investigating dedicated topics, be it digging into weather phenomena, the changing world as a whole or the circle of life at a specific place, with titles such as The Storm—Wildlife in Wild WeatherNature’s Changes and Morava—River of Ancient Times.

Sabine Holzer

“The current state of our world demands feel-good stories sprinkled with some serious, encouraging nods,” says Sabine Holzer, head of specialist factual. “Terra Mater Studios’ blue-chip portfolio is in ongoing high demand—as awards, sales and rating numbers for titles such as The Hummingbird Effect and Treasure of the Caribbean clearly show. However, we also encourage discussing more inconvenient topics—our changing climate, nature in distress and humans on the quest for solutions, as shown in titles such as Healthy Cities—More Than HumanDethroned and Future Home. The question is: Are TV channels brave enough to broadcast these important topics and to push the marketing to reach high viewer numbers?”

The company is gearing up for MIPCOM with a slate that includes Raptors, which looks at the large predator birds. The project saw Terra Mater Studios again working with Matt Hamilton, with whom it has produced many multi-awarded programs in the past, including Amazing PigsSanta’s Wild Home and Borneo—Earth’s Ancient Isle. “The two-parter reveals the ways in which birds of prey have come to dominate the planet, kill for a living and inspire both fear and wonder,” explains Holzer. “Alongside astonishing visuals, insights and behaviors, we even introduce you to a new, rather surprising, member of the raptors.”

Jaguar Beach is a one-off, first-of-its-kind film rooted in an intimate jaguar family story. It uses the latest camera technology to explore the complex lives of these mysterious and powerful cats as they navigate the unique environment between the forest and the sea, mating, rearing cubs and learning to hunt in an unusual way. For this film, Terra Mater Studios teamed up again with Coneflower Studios’ Ann Johnson Prum, most recently known for award-winning films such as The Hummingbird Effect and Sex, Lies and Butterflies, co-produced by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios and The WNET Group.

Europe’s Amazon takes viewers into a magical world where the rivers Danube and Drava meet, into Central Europe’s inland delta. “The makers of this film have grown up, lived and worked along this still secret gem of the river,” Holzer says. “Being familiar with some of the great rivers of the planet, including the Amazon, the comparison they draw reveals the Drava’s unique and fascinating character and uncovers many of its hidden treasures.”

Holzer notes that Dethroned will be “a tough 50 minutes to digest, but ultimately worth it.” The film is a story of rediscovery, following photojournalist Aaron Gekoski across the planet in an attempt to uncover where we have parted ways with the big cats and what could happen if we continue to allow these creatures to be traded, commodified and enslaved.

“Terra Mater Studios continues to produce premium natural history, science and history programming, and we’re backed up by a triple-digit number of awards over the last decade,” Holzer says. “From the beginning, we’ve only ever worked with the best and continue to do so—and it shows.”

Its slate of future projects features a mix of topics that cater to a family audience. Titles include The Philippines, looking at how rising sea levels are impacting the nation; American Amazon, a natural history adventure through the wilderness in North America; The Nature of Christmas, exploring the connection between animals, plants and mystical landscapes with this beloved holiday; Kui Buri—Recreating Paradise, about a national park in Thailand; Healthy Cities—More Than Human, which looks at urban biodiversity, human health and other hot topics; Wild Vienna, taking a closer look at the animals of Austria’s capital; and Wild San Diego, spotlighting the diverse wildlife of the American city. “We’re always looking for co-production partners,” Holzer adds.

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