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National Geographic, Academy Award-Winning Producer James Marsh and Tigress Productions To Partner On Dian Fossey: Secrets In The Mist


Sigourney Weaver Will Narrate Miniseries Event Commemorating Dian Fossey’s Life and Legacy, Including Footage of Mountain Gorilla Cantsbee, a Silverback Known and Named by Fossey Who Recently Rejoined His Gorilla Group

Film Has Exclusive Access to Over 40 Hours of Rare and Previously Unseen Film Footage of Fossey and Her Pioneering Research, Revealing New Insights Into Her Life and Work

(Washington, DC – Jan. 23, 2017) — National Geographic President, Original Programming & Production Tim Pastore announced today that the network will partner with Academy Award-winning Executive Producer James Marsh (“Man on Wire,” “Theory of Everything”) and Tigress Productions, part of Endemol Shine Group, on the three-part special Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist, to honor the life and groundbreaking legacy of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey. Sigourney Weaver, nominated for an Academy Award and winner of the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Fossey in the 1988 film “Gorillas in the Mist,” will narrate. With exclusive access to over 40 hours of rare and previously unseen film footage of Fossey and her pioneering research with gorillas, the series will reveal new insights into her life and work. The series is currently in production and will air globally on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages in fall 2017.

Through extensive archival footage, still photos, dozens of Fossey’s letters and personal correspondence, collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and interviews with friends and colleagues to highlight her startling findings and observations, Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist will tell her life story from childhood and her early days researching in Congo, through to her arrival in Rwanda, where Fossey spent 18 years studying and protecting the mountain gorilla population. With exclusive access to Fossey’s belongings and personal effects, including objects from her cabin where she was brutally slain, the series will explore Fossey’s murder and the investigation and trial of her research student Wayne McGuire, who was found guilty in absentia of her murder by the Rwandan courts.

“Dian Fossey was a seminal figure of the 20th century, whose contribution to science had a profound impact on our understanding of primates,” said Pastore. “By revealing how her groundbreaking findings came about and why they had such an impact on the world, we are paying tribute to her life’s work. This series will be her definitive life story and a testament to her trail-blazing legacy.”

“I am delighted to be working with Nat Geo on a documentary about Dian Fossey’s trailblazing life and work with the Mountain Gorillas,” said Weaver. “This project promises to enrich our appreciation of Dian and these majestic primates and to raise awareness about the crucial conservation work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.”



“Nat Geo championed Dian’s life and work when she was alive and built up an amazing visual archive of her vital work with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda,” said Marsh. “They are the ideal partners for a series that will both celebrate her achievements and investigate the events that led to her tragic demise. Without Dian’s efforts, there would be little or no population of gorillas left in Rwanda and by examining her life, we are also going to show the tremendous impact of her research into these majestic, unique animals.”

“This ambitious, filmic series is an example of the kind of project we’re passionate about developing and making as part of Endemol Shine’s factual output,” said Kim Shillinglaw, Director of Factual at Endemol Shine UK. “It’s a privilege to be working with James Marsh, and Tigress has assembled a world-class team to tell an extraordinary and important story, with really gripping new material.”

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist will also join the Pablo troop of gorillas, including Cantsbee, whom Fossey named as a newborn. Just recently found to have rejoined his gorilla group, he is the oldest silverback gorilla on the mountain and the most prolific father in the area. His surviving the worst years of poaching and threats to his habitat is due in no small part to Fossey and her work in protecting Rwanda’s mountain gorilla population.

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist is produced by Tigress, part of Endemol Shine Group, for National Geographic. For Tigress Productions, the executive producer is Dick Colthurst and showrunner is Sarah Peat.


About Tigress:
Tigress Productions, part of Endemol Shine Group, is the bold factual production company behind innovative and award-winning natural history, adventure, specialist factual and contemporary documentary programs.

Recent and forthcoming credits include “Birds of Paradise: The Ultimate Quest” (BBC Two), “A Year in the Wild: Dales and Moors” (Channel 5), “Marooned With Ed Stafford” (Discovery) and John Bishop’s “Gorilla Adventure” (ITV). Tigress produces ambitious factual series including “Everest: Beyond the Limit,” “Countdown to the Rains” for BBC Two, “The Elephant: Life After Death” and the award-winning “Hippo: Nature’s Wild Feast,” both for Channel 4.

About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Media Contacts:
Jennifer DeGuzman, 212-656-0713, Jennifer.deguzman@natgeo.com

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