Monster croc doco reveals a classic fable
16 January 2013
Monster croc doco reveals a classic fable for National Geographic Channels International
NHNZ’s Monster Croc Hunt (WT Croczilla) a documentary produced for National Geographic Channels International, premieres around the globe this month (January 2013) on Nat Geo Wild.
Monster Croc Hunt is a classic tale retold: a group of Filipino villagers hunt down a monster crocodile that has terrorized them for years, only to find that once captured they become enamoured with the monster.
Executive Producer Craig Meade says the production team saw the story shift as the villagers, who were intent on destroying the crocodile which they thought had killed people from their village, developed a deep bond with the animal. And then the story really flipped when they found out that the crocodile was the largest in the world – with the potential to change the village’s fortunes.
“The croc they captured was huge; a deadly creature. But once up close, the villagers realised that this beautiful and distinct creature needed to be protected and defended.”
Monster Croc Hunt follows a group of villagers terrorized by a monster croc. The people would love to take the monster out, but its home in the Agusan marsh is a strictly protected Wildlife Reserve. Killing the saltwater crocs in this region carries a maximum jail term of 12 years. Working with wildlife officer and croc legend Ronnie Sumiller, the villagers set traps in the creeks near their village. The beast they trap and pull from the swamp is more massive than anything they’ve ever seen. Crocodile biologist Adam Britton officially certifies it as the Guinness Book of Records’ largest crocodile in the world. With a growing attachment to the crocodile, which the villagers call Lolong, and the potential to create a sanctuary for him in their village, the tables turn on the creature and the villagers are now determined to look after him. And Lolong becomes a great source of pride and income.
The film was shot around the small Filipino community of Bunawan, which was on the outskirts of a region plagued with an on-going war against Islamic separatists.
“While we were shooting, there was a war against Islamic militants just a few kilometres south of us. We had to have six armed men protecting the crew and more than once we had to avoid a route as there were guerrillas on the same path we were about to take. It made for a fairly hair-raising shoot.”
NHNZ is a major global producer of factual television creating original content for National Geographic Channels, Discovery Channels, Smithsonian Channel, A&E Television Networks, 3net and NHK. Highly regarded for its 30-year plus natural history heritage, more recently NHNZ has branched out to other factual genres with hit shows like I Survived… for A&E’s Bio Channel. The company’s storytelling prowess has been recognized with more than 250 international awards including Emmy awards and the prestigious Wildscreen Panda. In addition to its base in Dunedin, New Zealand, NHNZ has offices in Beijing and Washington DC, and a controlling stake in Singapore production company Beach House Pictures. www.nhnz.tv