The Smithsonian Channel has signed a co-production deal with South Africa-based wildlife and factual entertainment producer Earth Touch for three new 50-minute wildlife documentaries set in the U.S., China and Mexico.
The Mexico-set one, called “Migrating to Mexico,” will be Earth Touch’s largest budget production to date and shot in 4K. It follows wildlife, including monarch butterflies and gray whales, that migrate to or through Mexico. Mexico’s Oscura Productions will participate in production and handle the Mexican theatrical release.
A second project, “China’s Monkey Kingdom,” follows a baby white-headed langur monkey and his family as the group of endangered primates climb through karst mountain landscapes. It is a multi-territory co-production that also involves China’s state broadcaster CCTV, Austrian national broadcaster ORF and Beijing-based Mandarin Film.
The third project, “Rattlesnake Roadtrip,” follows famed snake wrangler Jules Sylvester as he drives from Los Angeles to Galveston, Texas, through regions such as Joshua Tree and Gila National Park in search of different rattler species. Sylvester was the handler for the film “Snakes on a Plane” and had his own Travel Channel series in 2002 called “Wild Adventure,” which went dark after a year.
Earth Touch specializes in the production and distribution of natural history documentaries and factual entertainment series and films. It has three affiliated entities, including production companies in Durban, South Africa, and Washington, D.C., as well as a London sales and distribution office. The Smithsonian Channel is owned by Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between the Smithsonian Institution and Showtime Networks.