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National Geographic Documentary Films, Along With Oscar- and Emmy-Winning Producers Little Monster Films and Lightbox, in Association With Señal Colombia Announce New Documentary Feature LOST IN THE AMAZON (WT)

The Film Will Tell the Incredible True Story of Four Children Who Survived 40 Days in the Colombian Jungle After a Plane Crash, With the Children Sharing Their Story For the First Time

The Film Will Be Directed and Produced by Colombian Filmmaker Juan Camilo Cruz Along With Little Monster Films’ E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and Produced by Lightbox’s Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn alongside Guillermo Galdos with Pacha Films and Mark Grieco

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, National Geographic Documentary Films announced a new film, LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title), directed by Academy Award®-winning directing-producing team E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (“Free Solo,” “The Rescue”), and Emmy® and BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Juan Camilo Cruz (“In Her Hands,” “Messi’s World Cup”). Double Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire,” “Searching for Sugar Man”) and double Emmy Award-winning Jonathan Chinn (“LA 92,” “TINA”) of Lightbox will produce alongside Emmy Award winner Guillermo Galdos of Pacha Films (“From Tenancingo to New York”) and Mark Grieco, along with Vasarhelyi and Chin.

The documentary will tell the incredible true story of the struggle for survival of four Indigenous children in the guerilla-held jungles of Colombia and the daring national effort to rescue them. The film will exclusively reveal firsthand accounts from the children detailing their story of survival. Currently in production, the feature documentary LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title) will be available exclusively on National Geographic and Disney+/Hulu. A release date has not been set.

With exclusive, unprecedented access to the four Indigenous children, Lesly and Soleiny Jacobombaire Mucutuy and Tien and Cristin Ranoque Mucutuy, LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title) will share for the first time the story of how after a terrifying plane crash and the tragic death of their mother, they survived for 40 days in the deep Amazonian rainforest using their Indigenous knowledge of the jungle. Through firsthand accounts, the documentary charts the astonishing journey of the siblings, aged from 11 months to 13 years, as they struggle against the elements, unaware of an unprecedented search and rescue collaboration between Indigenous groups and the military to save them. The film will also feature the incredible stories of the Indigenous and military teams who joined forces to rescue the children, giving comprehensive access to every major participant to present the definitive record of this remarkable true story. The parties involved have also collaborated on a trust to benefit the children.

The plane crash took place in May of 2023 and transfixed global media, transcending cultural and political divides as a universal testament to the unbreakable bond of family and the triumph of faith and perseverance against impossible odds.

“Chai and Jimmy’s virtuosic approach to telling stories about people who push the limits of human potential — Alex Honnold in ‘Free Solo,’ the cave divers in ‘The Rescue’ — will be on full display in LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title),” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Documentary Films for National Geographic. “We are delighted that talented Colombian filmmaker Juan Camilo Cruz will be partnering with them along with our friends at Lightbox. This is truly a documentary film dream team. I can’t think of a more thrilling combination of storytelling talent to bring the remarkable journey of these determined and heroic children to the world.”

LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title) marks another thrilling project in National Geographic’s long-standing relationship with Vasarhelyi and Chin’s production company, Little Monster Films, and the Chinns’ Lightbox. Vasarhelyi and Chin, fresh off their narrative directorial debut “Nyad,” are directing alongside Colombian filmmaker Camilo Cruz. The film is executive produced by Anna Barnes for Little Monster Films. Hollman Morris is executive producing on behalf of Señal Colombia. Carolyn Bernstein serves as executive producer for National Geographic Documentary Films. WME negotiated the deal for Little Monster Films and director Camilo Cruz, and Submarine Entertainment’s Josh Braun for Lightbox. The project, produced in association with Colombian public broadcaster Señal, is being filmed in Colombia with the CINA Incentive (Audiovisual Investment Certificate), granted by the Colombian government and administered by Proimágenes Colombia.

“Our films have a common theme of the indomitability of the human spirit and its power to move, inspire and remind us all of what we are capable of when differences can be put aside. LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title) is the epitome of this message. We’re thrilled to partner once again with our friends at National Geographic Documentary Films and thank them for their unwavering support. We’re honored to be working with Juan Camilo Cruz, from whom we have already learned so much,” said directors Vasarhelyi and Chin.

“As a Colombian-born filmmaker, I’m incredibly proud to tell this story, which shines a light on the people who call the Amazon home, and the wealth of wisdom it holds. I hope that this film will make us all think about the real value of the Amazon and the people who live there, as well as showcasing the incredible bravery of these four children, who are truly incredible heroes. I see this story as an example for all of us that it is possible to work together for something bigger than ourselves, something that this world desperately needs,” said director Juan Camilo Cruz.

Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn of Lightbox echoed those sentiments: “The story of LOST IN THE AMAZON (working title) is one of courage, strength and the resilience of four extraordinary children. We are incredibly proud to partner with Pacha Films to secure unprecedented access to the children themselves, to tell their own definitive and inspirational story for the first time. Juan Camilo Cruz, Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are the perfect directing trio, and we can’t think of a better home than National Geographic for this project.”

Vasarhelyi and Chin most recently directed “Nyad,” about Diana Nyad’s 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, which earned Academy Award, Golden Globe®, and SAG nominations for its stars Annette Bening and Jodie Foster. Their groundbreaking film “Free Solo,” an intimate, unflinching portrait of rock climber Alex Honnold, won seven Emmys, a BAFTA and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019. Their first film together, “Meru,” won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and was on the 2016 Oscar® shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. More recently, they directed the BAFTA- and DGA-nominated documentary “The Rescue,” chronicling the against-all-odds rescue of 12 boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand. Their new National Geographic series “Photographer” recently premiered on Disney+, and their film “Wild Life” was released by National Geographic Documentary Films in 2023. They are set to direct the upcoming National Geographic Documentary Film “Endurance.”

Camilo Cruz is an Emmy- and BAFTA-winning filmmaker. He recently served as the executive producer for the Apple documentary series “Messi’s World Cup: The Rise of a Legend,” focusing on Lionel Messi during the 2022 World Cup. Throughout his career, Camilo Cruz has worked on a number of notable films, including “In Her Hands,” a documentary for Netflix about the youngest female mayor in Afghanistan, made in collaboration with Oscar-nominated director Marcel Mettelsiefen and Hidden Light, Hillary Clinton’s production company. Additionally, he has collaborated with Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman on projects such as “City of Ghosts” and “The Boy from Medellin,” exploring stories about the war in Syria and Colombian musician J Balvin, respectively. Camilo Cruz also directed “Venezuela: Country of Lost Children” for ARTE in Germany and is currently working on the documentary “Artem” in Ukraine alongside Sundance-winning filmmaker Artem Ryzhykov.

Since its inception in 2017, National Geographic Documentary Films has been lauded around the world for telling timely, gripping and globally relevant stories. It released the Academy-, BAFTA and seven-time Emmy Award-winning film “Free Solo,” the Academy Award-nominated and Peabody Award-winning “Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” the Academy- and BAFTA Award-nominated and Peabody- and DGA Award-winning “Fire of Love,” and the Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning film “The Cave”. In recent years, the film banner’s slate has also included the duPont-Columbia Award- and two-time Sundance award-winner “The Territory;” BAFTA nominees “The Rescue” and “Becoming Cousteau;” Emmy Award winners “The First Wave;” “LA 92” and “Jane” and many other critically acclaimed features and shorts.

About National Geographic Documentary Films

National Geographic Documentary Films, part of a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium, feature documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers. Its award-winning and critically acclaimed films reach 300 million people worldwide in 180 countries and 33 languages across the global National Geographic channels and direct-to-consumer platforms Disney+ and Hulu. Recent films include Oscar® nominated Bobi Wine: The People’s President, Oscar®- and BAFTA nominated Fire of Love, three-time Emmy-award winner The First Wave, two-time Sundance-award winner The Territory, BAFTA nominees The Rescue and Becoming Cousteau, and Oscar®- and BAFTA winner Free Solo. For more information visit films.nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

About Little Monster Films

Little Monster Films is an Academy®, BAFTA®, and multiple Emmy® Award-winning production company founded by Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. Our mission is to capture humanity at its best, aiming to reflect a diverse world both in front of and behind the camera. We present grounded narratives with intensity and depth while showcasing the extraordinary among us who push the limits of human potential. Our 2021 documentary THE RESCUE, about the world-famous rescue of the boys’ soccer team from a cave in Thailand, won the People’s Choice award for best documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival, was nominated for a BAFTA, and won three News & Documentary Emmys. Previously, our groundbreaking film FREE SOLO was awarded a BAFTA and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019. The film also received seven Emmy awards. Our latest film WILD LIFE, an environmentalist love story, recently premiered in theaters and on Disney+. Our first scripted feature, NYAD, about Diana Nyad’s 110 mile swim from Cuba to Florida, began streaming on Netflix in the fall of 2023 and garnered Academy Award, Golden Globe, and SAG nominations for its stars Jodie Foster and Annette Bening. Our latest series PHOTOGRAPHER with National Geographic is now streaming on Disney+, and our next feature documentary ENDURANCE is currently in production. www.littlemonsterfilms.com

About Lightbox

Headquartered in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox is a multi-award winning media company creating high quality non-fiction content for an array of distribution platforms. It was founded by two-time Academy Award®-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man, Whitney) and Emmy® Award-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (LA 92, American High, Whitney). Lightbox’s recent productions include: Brandy Hellville & The Cult Of Fast Fashion for HBO Documentary Films and Max, The Trouble with Mr Doodle, which premiered at SXSW 2024, The Mission, for theatrical release and National Geographic Documentary Films, which premiered at Telluride and the London Film Festival, BAFTA-nominated David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, which premiered at DOC NYC and aired on HBO/Max and Sky Documentaries, Donyale Luna: Supermodel for HBO/Max and which premiered at the American Black Film Festival 2023; Spector for Showtime and Sky Documentaries, The Princess, directed by Academy Award®-nominated Ed Perkins, for theatrical release, HBO Documentary Films and Sky Documentaries, which premiered at Sundance 2021; and Emmy Award®-nominated TINA, directed by Academy Award®-winners TJ Lindsay and Daniel Martin, for HBO/Max, Sky Documentaries and theatrical release. The company is currently in production on projects for a range of US, UK and international broadcasters, platforms and for theatrical release.

Contacts

For media inquiries, please contact:

National Geographic Media Contacts
Chris Albert: Chris.Albert@natgeo.com
Marcus Cammack: Marcus.Cammack@natgeo.com
Nadia Ahmadein: Nadia.Ahmadein@natgeo.com

Written by SerieAUKWire

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