Discovery & Ethnology
The return of shamanic rituals
These past years, the Moken - once knowned as the sea gypsies of Burma – seemed lost in the big turmoil of globalization. They had largely settled, gradually losing their traditions and idendity. Then, and somewhat mysteriously, shamanic rituals resumed after years of interruption and an increasing number of Moken took to the sea again, embracing the lifestyle of their ancestors.
This film aims to uncover this very peculiar people whose values are so unique.
BAHIA, THE AFRICAN HERITAGE [52’]
The story of the "Bay of All Saints"
In 1500, in the region of Salvador in Brazil, the first Portuguese settlers landed and built their first colonial city: Salvador de Bahia, known as "the Bay of All Saints".
The indigenous tribes were decimated and replaced by African slaves working mainly in mills.
Today, Salvador's African heritage can still be felt in the culture, the music and the arts while its inhabitants strive to perpetuate the memory of their ancestors.
FLAVORS OF AFRICA [17x52’]
The wonders of a continent
Discover the richness, magic and beauty of some of Africa's most sought after destinations: their natural wonders and outstanding landmarks, their handicrafts and breathtaking landscapes.
FLAVORS is a memorable journey into the traditions and history of countries everyone is dreaming of visiting.
FROM AFRICA WITH LOVE [8x52’]
The great metropoles
What do the names of West African cities such as Dakar, Yaoundé, Cotonou, Bamako, or Abidjan suggest?
This series offers an immersion in these big cities that just want to be seen in a different light by focusing on their assets. Combining tradition and modernity, it presents an urban and booming Africa.
IRAN, THE LAST GREAT NOMADS [52’]
An exhausting and spectacular transhumance
In central Iran, the mountains of Zagros are the domain of the Bakhtiaris, one of the last great nomads.
They are proud shepherds who still practice a long, exhausting, and spectacular transhumance. They remain attached to centuries of traditions as well as a way of life dating back to ancient Persia.
These majestic valleys framed by mountains and glaciers present an unexpected image of Iran.
ISLAND OF THE SUNKEN CITY [52’]
A different Japan
Yonaguni is one of the smallest inhabited islands and the most western point of Japan’s archipelago, much closer to Taiwan than Tokyo.
Its remoteness gives the place a singular dimension embodied in a dramatic past as well as in traditions which have all but vanished in the Northern islands. One can find there an endemic species of small horses or puzzling underwater stone structures deemed, by some people, to be the remains of an antic suken city.
Between legend and reality, tiny Yonaguni offers diverse facets, the most intriguing one being the discovery of a Japan caught in a time warp.
LANDS OF THE EARTH - THE 52' COLLECTION [12x52’]
Exploring with wide open eyes
Today, exploring the world doesn’t have the same meaning as in the past. Indeed, very few corners of the planet remain unknown, although it would be wise for them to stay so.
With infinite passion and curiosity, the directors of these films brought back from their travels the discovery of small villages whose beauty had gone unnoticed, touching encounters and fascinating stories.
These modern explorations are done with wide-open eyes on foot, by train, or by boat.
MEKONG, MOTHER OF ALL RIVERS [52’]
Life along the banks
The Mekong river runs over 5,000 km and across 6 countries: China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam where it ends with its famous delta.
For hundreds of years, it has provided shelter, food and all kind of natural resources to over 60 million people who lived in harmony with the generous mother of all rivers. However, with the rapid growth that South East Asia is experiencing, as witnessed by the ever increasing constructions and economic development projects, the fragile balance of communities living by and from its waters is at stake.
Facing a threat as well as an opportunity, the future of the Mekong lies in the diversity of the cultures and the beauty of its landscapes shaped both by the river and its inhabitants.
MOTU HAKA [52’]
The Marquesas Islands Arts Festival
The Marquesas Islands Arts Festival, Matavaa, is a time of intense celebration.
Each edition is an opportunity for the locals to unite with much fervor around their culture.
MUSEUMS TO VISIT IN JAPAN [6x30’]
From the Edo era to the more recent industrial period
Japan has a long and rich history covering many areas and the best way to approach these many facets is to visit the museums scattered around the country.
This series spans the Edo era to the more recent industrial period.
MUSTANG, THE HORSES KINGDOM [52’]
A spectacular and ancestral migration
The Mustang region spans about 80 kilometers northeast of Nepal. Every year, villagers of this kingdom surrounded by mountains bring their horses south to escape the winter’s harshness.
We follow these men through this spectacular and ancestral migration, crossing remote and beautiful valleys, discovering old villages, and always with the majestic peaks of the Himalayas in the background.
POLYNESIA, THE QUEST FOR ORIGINS [52’]
The ancestry of the people of Tahiti
Where do the people from French Polynesia come from? South America, as the Kon-Tiki tried to prove? Alaska? Southeast Asia?
This mystery is compounded by another more recent one. How did the numerous Chinese come to play a critical role in the island's demography?
Through Teiva's quest, a young Polynesian dancer, and Kyle's, a Chinese boy in high school, this film is a fascinating ethnological study with a surprising result; even though everything seems to set them apart, they are cousins since their ancestors came at different times from... China!
SACRED PILGRIMAGE IN NEPAL [52’]
In Nepal, ancestral customs are the highlights of numerous religious festivals that attract huge crowds. They take place in magnificent temples where sadhus, monks who have renounced all material ties, officiate.
We follow Shivadas who treks along dizzyingly steep trails in the Langtang mountains for a spectacular pilgrimage.
His destination is the lake of Gosaikunda, at an altitude of 4,380m, to honor the god Shiva.
SAINT BRANDON, THE LOST ARCHIPELAGO [52’]
The heavenly islets
The Saint Brandon archipelago, off the coast of Madagascar, is part of Mauritius Island. It’s a shoal of thirty tiny islets, some mostly sandbars.
This lost heaven accommodates only birds and about a dozen fishermen and is so remote that it only appears on a limited number of marine maps.
Saint Brandon is a magical and pristine place under threat, hosting unconventional inhabitants craving an authentic and timeless lifestyle.
THE GENUINE DRIED TANGERINE PEEL [4x25’]
A small piece can arouse homesickness
This series introduces the intricate relationship between an icon of traditional ingredients and people from China or abroad.
From Xinhui to Paris, Hong Kong, the United States or Singapore, each episode explores a different theme: the merit of dried tangerine peel, the history of its production, its innovative use and the nostalgia it begets.
THE KINGDOM OF MANASLU [52’]
A natural gem between heaven and earth
In the heart of the Himalayas, the Nepalese region of Manaslu is a natural gem between heaven and earth.
Here, Man and Nature coexist since the dawn of time. Humans and animals have learned to adapt and survive under the most extreme conditions.
These valleys - still secluded not long ago – are opening to the outside world and the local communities try, often successfully, to control these unavoidable mutations and maintain their traditional lifestyle while adjusting to modernity.
THE TREE GODS IN THE LAND OF THE STONES [52’]
Vehicles of myths
In the north of Togo, marking the border with the Sahel, a mountainous relief shelters the Kabyé Country.
Ancient volcanoes have left behind a landscape of stones and rocks that the Kabyé people have learned to tame over the centuries.
In this sparse vegetation, the trees have passed along all the myths and serve as intermediaries between men and the gods.
A Buddhist paradise
Built in 1236, the Tofukuji temple is the largest Zen temple of Japan with 19 statues of Buddha, the Sanmon Gate designated as National Treasure, 3 wooden bridges and nearly 2,000 maples trees.
The combination of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage makes it a Buddhist paradise through the magical changing of the seasons.
A UNESCO Intangible World Heritage
Washoku is a social practice based on a set of skills and traditions related to the preparation and consumption of food usually visible during New Year's Day celebrations when the Japanese prepare various dishes to welcome the deities of the New Year.
It is associated with a fundamental principle of respect for nature closely linked to the sustainable use of natural resources.
WITHOUT RIGHTS OR TITLES [52’]
The people of the Lencois National Park in Brazil
In 1981, Brazil created the Lencois National Park in the state of Maranhão, which is home to an ecosystem unique in the world: pristine white sand dunes that wave for tens of kilometers, punctuated by lakes of fresh water and deserted beaches where turtles and birds take refuge.
Communities have lived here for more than 200 years, but the government wants them to leave because the country’s environmental law does not allow anyone to live in natural parks.
This film meets these inhabitants, sheltered in shacks without running water or electricity, who make ends meet with fishing and a little farming.
A BAMBOO JOURNEY [52’]
High energy for a slow trip
Bamboo scaffolding can be seen everywhere across Asia. This essence of wood is also the most versatile construction material for tropical climate such as in Bangladesh.
In this overpopulated country there is a huge demand for bamboo which is grown in the north where it is cut and consolidated into massive rafts. They are then floated down rivers toward Dakha, the capital, during a perilous journey which takes several weeks under the guidance of experienced and intrepid men.
A SCHOONER IN PARADISE [5x52’]
Cast off to the South Pacific
This original series goes to the 5 archipelagos of Polynesia, some of these islands being so isolated that their only link with the outside world are schooners, whether traditional craft or vessels at the cutting edge of technology.
Cast off to this part of the South Pacific to find emerald green atolls, paradisiacal lagoons, and impenetrable jungles.
A WINTER WITH THE MOUNTAIN NOMADS [45’]
Another face of Afghanistan
There is a valley in Afghanistan that has never seen war, a strip of land that unfolds amid high mountains. Here, the last remaining Kyrgyz nomads live isolated, 4,000 meters high.
For 2 winter months, a Western woman stayed in their camps. She arrives there with great expectations but these are quickly stifled.
This film is her discreet glimpse into an unfamiliar and harsh world.
ANGOLA, THE FORGOTTEN TRIBES [52’]
An ethnological marvel
Cut off from the rest of the world and the country’s recent economic takeoff, southern Angola’s tribes have kept alive customs and lifestyles from another age.
Very few people have been able to approach the Mucawana and the Mucubal, forgotten ethnic groups which were last mentioned in travel books dating back to the 30’s.
ARCHEOLOGEEKS IN BAGAN [45’]
Bringing a universal heritage back to life
Some buildings, sites, and structures are historical wonders. Their very names are legendary and their stories epic and surprising.
Yet, these treasures are threatened by wars, financial pressure, property developers, and climate hazards.
Today, a new breed of archeologists is using modern technologies to bring this universal heritage back to life, turning them into "archeologeeks". They make the impossible possible by bringing these hidden treasures back to life.
ARMENIA: THE LAND OF NOAH [52’]
Hidden treasures of Eastern Europe
Infinite horizons. Miracles of nature. Historical cathedrals. Mythological temples. Sacred mountains. Prehistoric mysteries. Art, faith and devotion. Thousand-year-old traditions. These are just few descriptions of Armenia.
This country is located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and shares borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.
To visit this small kingdom of wonders is to discover one of Europe’s most fascinating enclaves.
ARTISANS REBOOT [8x26’]
A novice takes on an artisanal trade
Changing times and mass production have driven artisans to the edge of extinction.
This series challenges a new generation to learn from the older craftsmen and save them from oblivion. Each episode features a beginner taking on an artisanal trade. At the end of the apprenticeship and with only weeks of training, they must give their newly learned work a new lease on life.
With crafts ranging from ink stick making to drum tuning, these novices are in on one of the greatest challenges of their lives.
ASIAN WATER TALES [4x52’]
A resource for many human activities
From the somptuous Mekong to the vast Indian Ocean, water is at the center of an infinity of human activities in Asia, be it fishing, transportation or agriculture.
Man has used its ingenuity to make the most of it to the point of sometimes endangering this precious natural resource.
This series travels from India to Vietnam to showcase the extraordinary alliance between Man and Water through portraits of ordinary people and their traditional lifestyles caught in a modern world.
BAMBOO BRIDGE [63’]
When concrete takes over
Every dry season, the world's longest bamboo bridge (1.5 km) is built over the Mekong River in Cambodia and, each year, it is dismantled in the wake of the monsoon tides.
Recently, it was replaced by a concrete structure financed by Chinese investors.
Three generations of Cambodian workers tell the story of this building, a symbol of social and environmental transformation.
BORNEO DEATH BLOW [52’]
A blowpipe-hunter tribe uncertain future
Borneo Island is home to the Penan, a blowpipe-hunter tribe. They use deadly poison darts to catch their prey and are experts at building rainproof shelters in under an hour.
Their survival skills, nomadic culture, and traditional knowledge enable them to be the last tribe remaining in one of the oldest and most diverse rainforests on Earth.
However, with around 90% of the forest cut down, the Penan are facing a dire future.
BOUKOUT, A RITE OF PASSAGE [52’]
The initiation into the secrets of life
Diassy is a Diola. The Diolas live in Casamance, the southern region of Senegal. They have always been farmers; it is even said that they were the first to plant rice in West Africa.
They also have strong traditions, the Boukout being perhaps the most significant of them all. One does the Boukout to become a man, to be initiated into the secrets of life. This rite, which only takes place far and wide and attracts thousands of people, will allow Diassy to take his place in society.
BRAZIL'S CONQUEST [10x26’]
Thanks to horses, man has been able to venture further and further
The horse is the common vector to the conquest of Brazil; it allowed man to venture always further in search of wealth.
As centuries went by, horses adapted to the various regions they settled in, resulting today in 10 different breeds. This constitutes the backbone of this series, with each episode dedicated to one kind of horse.
The way men use horses today is still closely related to the vastly diversified geographical and climatic conditions of the country and the animals enjoy a special relationship with different chapters of its history.
BRAZILIAN MAZURKA [52’]
Memories of a Polish community
In South Brazil, the city of Aura is almost entirely populated with descendants of a Polish community which settled here in 1911. Today, some of them try to keep that history alive so that the grit of these pioneers and the difficulties they had to overcome may serve as an example to all.
A century is conjured up through recollections and reenacments: sick children, clashes with German immigrants during the war and the courage it took to build a new life in a far away and hostile land.
The youngest have forgotten their history and blended into Brazilian culture, but some seek to preserve the memory of an epic adventure that defines them.
BRAZILIAN THIRST [52’]
Amongst thorny trees, the land of the Brazilian Robin Hood
Brazil is known as the most water rich country in the world. Nevertheless, the Nordeste suffers chronic droughts.
The Sertao, more particularly, is an unforgiving region covered with caatinga, a thorny vegetation in which one can raise only a few animals.
It was here that Lampiao, the most famous Brazilian bandit, was born. He stole from the wealthy farmers and redistributed part of his loot to the poor. His legend is controversial, but he is considered a pure product of this hostile environment.
CAMEL SHEPHERDS [52’]
Living into the heart of the Sahara
Southern Morocco is a desert region where Sahrawis live. Several families still practice camel farming there, which allows them to produce milk and meat.
Imam, Hadrami, and Moulay belong to the Oulad Sbaa tribe, founded in the 16th century, whose members were Bedouins. They crisscross the desert with their animals between winter and summer quarters.
We share their daily routine in search of water and food for their herd, in harmony with the elements of the desert. Nature here, is seemingly hostile, but reveals unsuspected life for those who know how to adapt.
COBRA GYPSIES [52’]
The Roma ancestors
COBRA GYPSIES offers a colorful window into the startling ancient culture of the nomadic Kalbeliya tribes living in rural Rajasthan, Northern India. A decade ago, their folk songs and dances were declared a part of the Intangible Heritage List by the Unesco.
This film explores their culture of eternal dance, syncopated music, snake charming, colorful fashion as well as their way of life.
These exotic looking castoffs are the ancestors to the Roma Gypsies living in Europe today.
Unusual public transportation
Asia is home to some of the most unique means of transportation. Some are relics of a bygone era while others are products of inventiveness in the face of desperation.
All these weird and wonderful machines are icons of a community, embodying a culture’s identity.
This series revels in folksy transports and the spirit that lives within them; painting a portrait of societies in transition as modernization renders these machines, carriages, and vessels almost irrelevant, even out of place amidst these technology-driven times.
CRYING OUT LOUD [4x26’]
Tears for sale
The existence of mourners as a profession is attested to as far back as Ancient Egypt. This is the name given to anyone hired to feign grief at funerals to pay tribute to the deceased.
Today, this activity persists in Asia, from India to Vietnam, through China and Singapore.
This series introduces us to a unique and endangered tradition.
DEFINITELY FRENCH [6x26’]
A British view on France and its inhabitants
Who are the French? Why are they so peculiar? This country seems to relish standing apart for the better or for the worse.
In this series, a very British director digs into the French paradox by taking an offbeat tour of its quirkiest traditions. There will be plenty of action: snail racing, frog jumping, duck plucking and lemon sculpting. Last but not least, we pay homage to cheese and worship at the temple of wine.
Funny. Surprising. Offbeat. Delectable. Outlandish. This is France like you've never seen it before.
Also available as 30x5'
DISCOVERING CHILE [3x52’]
A historical, ethnographic and political approach
This series explores the cultural diversity of Chile from different standpoints: historical, through the myths and legends of Easter Island, ethnographic, through the traditions and rituals of the Tapati festival and, finally, political with the Carnival of Arica where the Andean peoples come down to demand, through dance, a better inclusion of minorities.
DISCOVERING LANGKAWI WITH IRSHAD MOBARAK [2x45’]
A naturalist haven
This series is a journey through Langkawi, an enchanting Malaysian archipelago with rich fauna and flora biodiversity found in its forests.
It’s a naturalist haven where one can see stones that are over 1 billion years old, learn more about the fascinating mudskipper, and witness the beauty of the migratory birds.
Find out why the strangling fig tree is so misunderstood, why the mangroves are called "the kings of adaptability", how man and nature live in harmony and why it is important to preserve such a natural heritage at all costs.
Also available as 10x15'
DIVING WITH CROCODILES [52’]
Close encounters on the wild side
Bernie is a television reporter who has covered wars, infiltrated jails and rubbed shoulders with men and women studying the deadliest predators. Adrenaline is his fuel yet he has never felt so vulnerable than when facing a Nile crocodile. It is a formidable killing machine living in Botswana and responsible for over 2,000 deaths every year.
Vince Shacks is a scientist who doesn’t hesitate to risk his life to observe these dangerous predators up close by swimming next to them in the Okavango river.
Bernie will be diving with him along side 5 meters long specimens in an effort to better understand their behavior. An indispensable task in order to make man and crocodile coexist.
GAWAI ANTU [72’]
The festival of ghosts
An ancient tribal community in Borneo works to retain its identity and traditions by calling back the dead, thereby reasserting the orderly relationship between their world and the surrounding jungle.
Known as Gawai Antu, “the festival of the ghosts”, this ritual is so complex and powerful that most will experience it only once in a lifetime.
Also available as a 52mns
The best kept secret in the Caucasus
Situated at a strategic crossroad between Europe and Asia, Georgia has been invaded by Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and Bolsheviks; but no one has been able to crush the energy and artistic creativity of a people who consider dance and vines the expression of its identity.
Despite this troubled history, the country has been able to protect its heritage and maintain the vibrancy of its unique traditions. It is home to a biodiversity greater than that of some continents and of Homo Georgicus, the first European human known to this day.
The soul of Georgia is both European and western but with a touch of Mediterranean expansiveness. A surprising combination making it a land to discover.
GREENLAND: WHERE ICEBERGS ARE BORN [52’]
The white adventure of a father and his 2 sons
Somewhere in the Great North there is a secret place where icebergs come to life. This is where the icecap frees them and let them drift as ephemeral giants of the oceans.
Pierre and his two sons, aged 11 and 15, have decided to reach this magical location.
This 400 kms journey sees them facing menacing icy storms through white bears territory. In doing so they write one of the most glorious pages of recent Arctic history showing that human warmth and solidarity can brave the harshest conditions.
HANIEF, LORD OF KASHMIR [52’]
Job hopping in the Himalayas
Mohamad Hanief shares his life between the valley of Kashmir, where his family resides, and Gulmarg, a mountain resort perched at an altitude of 3,000 meters on the slopes of the Himalayas. Despite being located in one of the most militarized area in the world, Gulmarg is very popular year round with affluent Indian tourists.
Mohamad has a very contrasted lifestyle over the course of a year. He is a farmer in the valley in spring and autumn and becomes a horse and ski instructor as well as a mountain guide during summer and winter. Indeed, nobody knows these mountains better than him.
Torn between his aspiration for a traditional lifestyle close to nature and the necessity to adapt to the changing economy of the region, Mohamad has developed his own philosophy which, intertwined with his passion for the Himalayas, has made of him a figure for people around him.
HIMALAYAS, THE LOST VALLEYS OF PALDAR [52’]
The majesty of the mountains
In the heart of the Himalayas, there are still some forgotten valleys such as those of Paldar. Hard to reach, they were known for their Sapphire mines, but the 1990’s Kashmir conflict plunged into oblivion this singular region nicknamed "the Himalayan Switzerland" because of its picturesque landscapes.
Rigzen Tsewang, who lives in Zanskar, has decided to travel to Paldar through the imposing Omasila pass, nestled 5,400m high. As our guide, he leads us to exceptionally well preserved villages where Hinduism adds a very colorful dimension, especially during the Nague Festival which celebrates the beginning of the harvest.
My roots are here
Home. There is no place like it anywhere in the world. Cooking, eating, resting… it is at home that the simple activities of life occur, forming the everyday scenes that, however, differ from place to place.
Homes could be mud huts in the grasslands, bamboo houses over the waters or wooden ones in the mountains. All of them reflect a culture, a people and way of life.
This very unique series unveils the philosophies of living for families from Burma to Japan and the Philippines to Korea.
HORSES BY THE THOUSANDS [52’]
A gaucho celebration
Every year, in Tacuarembo, in the North of Uruguay, the gauchos gather to celebrate their culture and traditions. This event is called the “patria gaucha".
For a week, they engage in all sorts of equestrian games, for all to admire their skills.
People come from all over the country, even from Brazil and Argentina, to witness historical reenactments produced by organisations that compete for a very coveted title.
ICONIC POLYNESIA [15x13’]
The wonders of Tahiti and its islands
ICONIC POLYNESIA is a series of short films highlighting practices as well as cultural and tourist sites among the most emblematic of Tahiti and its islands.
Each episode highlights the wonders of Polynesia, with breathtaking images, accompanied by the words of those who bring these places to life.
They share a culture, know-how, and environment that have elicited dreams in many who haven’t had a chance to visit.
IGUAZU FALLS, BEHIND THE SCENES [52’]
Balancing nature and onlookers
Bordering 3 countries, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, the Iguazu Falls are considered the most breathtaking in the world and the Iguazu National Park has been designated one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. But with nearly 1 million yearly visitors, it faces quite an ecological challenge.
The Guarani Indians have fallen victims to this booming industry. They had to sell their lands to hotel groups. Nowadays, they eke out a living no longer fishing or hunting but making handicrafts for tourists.
This film is about the men and women trying to preserve the delicate balance between preserving the nature and tending to the visitors’ curiosity.
IN THE HEART OF THE MEKONG DELTA [52’]
A vital plain
Formed by the muddy deposits carried by one of the biggest river in the world, the Mekong delta is characterized by its extraordinary fertility. Here Nature is overwhelming and the vegetation exuberant.
Its 9 branches delineate a vast and extremely fertile plain crossed by a dense network of canals plied by legions of boats.
This vast area known as the Vietnam rice bowl has been good to Man and animals alike. Indeed, despite its agricultural development, the Mekong delta has a very important and vibrant biodiversity.
ISLAND OF THE KING BUFFALO [52’]
An ubiquitous creature
Marajo is the world’s biggest river island, nestled at the mouth of the Amazon.
This is a place out of time where being laidback is a way of life. People brace themselves for a hypothetic touristic boom while raising a singular animal which ended there 200 years ago : the buffalo.
This quiet creature has become ubiquitous and plays a central role in the local life, even allowing Marajo to have its own, if atypical, mounted police.
KIDS OF THE WORLD [6x26’]
The daily life of children in faraway places
Children everywhere are the same yet lead quite different lives.
This series meets them in the jungle, the savannah, the deserts, or the high mountains to share a day in their lives. With the most remote tribes, we discover what it means to grow up in these communities. There are certainly differences but also amazing similarities between our societies.
KIDS OF THE WORLD is about the daily life of children in faraway places.
KUMBH MELA [52’]
The biggest and most colorful pilgrimage on earth
For Hindus, the once every 12 years Kumbh Mela is the ultimate pilgrimage. It is during this event that the Amrita, the precious nectar of immortality, resurfaces from one of India’s sacred rivers.
During Kumbh Mela, the city of Allahabâd and its 1.5 million residents inflates uncontrollably during two months with up to 70 million visitors to become the largest human gathering in the world.
This exceptional film unveils the infinite diversity of Hinduism and its most colorful and disconcerting forms of worship.
The Land of a Million Elephants
Nestled between Thailand, Viet Nam, and China, Laos was for a very long time a country shrouded in mystery, cut off from the outside world.
Today, it is a dream-like destination thanks to a population made up of 130 ethnic groups living harmoniously as well as stunning nature and landscapes.
Stretched over 1000 km from North to South, the Land of a Million Elephants is the hidden gem of Southeast Asia.
LIFE ON A VOLCANO [52’]
Villages on the lava path
For half a million years, the Piton de la Fournaise has been the pulsating heart of the island of La Reunion.
A volcano admired and feared by the people who have come to understand it by literally living by its side. Indeed, towns and villages have sprung up on its slopes, right where the lava sometimes makes its way to the sea.
This film tells the daily life of the men and women who have chosen to live around the Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
MADE IN KYOTO [25x26’]
A culture of craftsmanship and excellence
Kyoto's allure lies not only in its shrines and temples or the elegance of the city.
Since the year 794, Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan, leading the way in the arts, architecture and commerce. The essence of the country’s culture was born in this very town and has been refined and passed down.
This series introduces artistry at its best created and nurtured by the local masters who know true craftsmanship and excellence.
MARAMURES, A CIVILIZATION OF WOOD [52’]
The ultimate timberland
In Nortwhest Romania, Maramures is certainly one of the most authentic and preserved region of Europe. With half of its territory covered with forests, it is home to a civilisation of wood which is everywhere from churches to houses, from imposing portals to delicate artworks.
In the heart of its deep valleys live uniquely talented craftsmen. Foresters, carpenters and wood carvers populate villages entrenched in traditions. For centuries, life in Maramures has followed the seasons and Mother Nature plays a key role here. Christmas and Easter are cornerstones of the year and their celebrations are rich with folklore.
But slowly, for better and worse, modernity is entrenching. However, this little known region is hanging on its traditions and natural beauty.
MARKETS OF THE WORLD [4x52’]
Places of conviviality and exchange
On every continent, local markets bring together small producers like farmers, fishermen, breeders.
Whether on a lake in Kashmir, on a river in Vietnam, in the high mountains in Peru or on the seaside in the West Indies, these markets are first of all places of conviviality, warmth and exchange.
MEETING THE PAPUAN [26’]
Kelly Woolford, an explorer, is guiding an intrepid family of navigators deep inside the Wapoga river in Papua, on the Indonesian side of the island once known as Irian Jaya. They have come to meet little-known tribes, such as the Tause, whom Kelly has already stumbled upon.
This is the opportunity for an extraordinary encounter, the confrontation of a western family with a different culture where community, solidarity, and respect for nature are paramount.
This experience will be an awakening for these European visitors.
MEMORIES OF OCEANIA [2x52’]
The last aboriginal tribes
Betty and Jacques Villeminot are two of the most prestigious pioneers of ethnographic cinema. They have spent all their lives in the traditional societies of Oceania.
This series centers on their voyages to explore the aboriginal way of life of Papuan and Australian tribes in New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.
MYTHICAL ROADS [16x52’]
Itineraries that made history
Deserted or touristy, recent or ancient, famous or forgotten, some roads are paved with legends.
This series explores itineraries that have made history across five continents, routes that fire the imagination of millions of people in search of adventure and freedom.
Along the way, we meet the people who work on these roads to share personal adventures, enjoy exceptional visits, make unforgettable encounters and experience twists and turns.
NATIVE VISIONS [2x52’]
From the insiders' point of view
This collection seeks to help those peoples that are threatened with cultural extinction by recording their history and creating an account of their oral literature, cultural knowledge and ancestral traditions.
The producers took an unusual approach by inviting the native peoples to use modern audiovisual tools themselves. Their active involvement, overview of the scripts and production process result in films with an unequal and unique insider' access.
NECESSITY, MOTHER OF INVENTION [52’]
Making ends meet in Vietnam
In the heart of Vietnam, Mr. Quang has developed treasures of imagination to overcome his lack of financial means and make a decent living for his family.
He found ingenious solutions to make the best out of the natural resources around him: he produces biogas from his pigs manure, feeds his chicken with termits and barters his bootleg sake with neighbors.
He hopes his creativity and hard work ethic will add up to a brighter future for his children.
NOMADS, THE GENERATION AFTER [52’]
The Himalayas today
In the Indian region of Ladakh, in the heart of the Himalayas, a few thousands nomadic sheppperds still live with their herds at an altitude of 4,500 meters.
Through the daily life of a Tibetan family, we try to understand the deep changes these people are confronting. Their 14 year old daughter is studying in a Tibetan school and lives in a self-administered children village. In a nomadic settlement the routine is grueling, especially during winter when temperatures, even in the shelter of a tent, can fall below minus 30°C. This is an existence closer to survival than normal life.
Will this new generation, the one getting an education, be keen to perpetuate such a punishing traditional lifestyle?
The beauty of the world
This series is about the history, people and culture of dream destinations.
From mystic Burma to legendary Santorin, from vibrant Havana to sophisticated Tuscany, each episode is a picturesque portrait of a city or a region many of us would love to visit.
PANORAMAS take you on a fulfilling journey made of informative stories and mesmerizing images.
POLYNESIA FROM ABOVE [2x52’]
A world fantasized by novelists, sailors, painters, and adventurers
On the one hand, Tahiti, the largest and best known of the islands of French Polynesia, the gateway to a dream world, fantasized by novelists, sailors, painters, and adventurers.
On the other, the Austral archipelago considered the breadbasket of Polynesia.
The landscape is quite different with few beaches and lagoons and a cooler climate. Even though these islands may seem less attractive at first, they conceal countless secrets and wonders.
POLYNESIA GROWING [5x26’]
The benefits of local food
This series takes us to Polynesia, to meet those who promote the benefits of local food.
The world is faced with a food industry that is subject to increasing scandals and prevalent obesity. On top of that, the Polynesian problem is also due to expensive, nutritionally, and ecologically questionable imports.
The last of the traditional peoples
In many places on our planet, the last of the traditional peoples are confronted to the forces of globalisation.
This collection offers a glimpse into these ancestral societies and their struggle to exist and maintain their differences and precious customs.
Where basketball meets Tibet
The Tibetan Plateau is one of the world's highest and largest and home to the Ritomas, who struggle to keep their nomadic culture alive while embracing the modern world, notably in the form of their newfound passion: basketball.
Helped by an American coach, the villagers want to build the best team around and decide to organize a tournament.
This film is a rich and moving human story of former nomads and monks playing basketball on a high altitude windswept outdoor ground. These colorful characters uncover another Tibetan reality at the crossroads of tradition and modernity.
SECRETS FROM THE END OF THE WORLD [52’]
A place frozen in time
6.000 years ago, men colonized the remote Southern part of Patagonia, the last virgin part of the planet global warming had just freed from the embrace of the ice.
For a long time, nothing disturbed the development of the 2 tribes that inhabited it, the Selknam and the Yamanas. Until the arrival of the first Europeans in the 19th century, they kept alive traditions that go back to the mists of time and that are the delight of archaeologists.
Ushuaia, the capital, has kept an essential characteristic of that time: isolation.
SECRETS OF MATSU [52’]
A military outpost becomes an artistic center
In 1997, British photographer Chris Stowers spent time on an island in the Mazu Archipelago, located at the southeastern tip of Fujian Province, China.
The islands, with their picturesque villages and quaint customs, were already undergoing dramatic changes at the time, from a military outpost to an artistic center.
How has life changed today for a community that has lived under martial law for years? What does the future hold for these islands in a new world full of uncertainties?
SMILE, YOU'RE ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR [52’]
A magnet for tourists
The Hmongs live in North Vietnam.
Rejected by the locals and long persecuted by the government, they perpetuate ancestral traditions while becoming, in recent years, a magnet for tourists seeking exotic memories captured with their cameras.
Easy income does improve their daily lives but will this trade herald their inexorable disappearance?
SO BRITISH! ECCENTRIC UK [6x26’]
Quirky ways to have fun
Is it that famous sense of humour or the weather? Or is it because they live on an island? Whatever the reason, our British friends have developed all kinds of weird hobbies over the centuries, and they're still at it today, as the UK has become the international headquarters of eccentric activities.
This series provides an exhaustive offbeat tour of the nation's most bizarre spectacles and competitions. From Cheese Rolling to Bog Snorkeling, from the World Worm Charming Championships to Canine Freestyle, ECCENTRIC UK delivers the cream of the action and provides all the insight you'll need when you find yourself asking: why?
STORY OF A GIANT [26’]
This is the story of a dream come true for Michel Deville thanks to the Suku Konjo, a tribe from Sulawesi Island renowned for its excellence in the construction of wooden sailing ships.
The "Waow" is the biggest such ship ever built with traditional methods in Indonesia.
STRANGER THAN YOU [10x26’]
Asia through teens' eyes
This series targeted at young viewers uncovers amazing and unusual customs, rites, rituals, traditions, jobs and even hobbies of teens in Asia.
Get an insight into curious worlds and experience the contrast of growing up in neighbouring countries.
THE 2 WORLDS OF THE PYGMIES [52’]
The forest experts
In North Congo lives one of the last Pygmy communities of Africa.
Evicted from the deep forests which sheltered them, they must coexist with the Bantus who are quite suspicious of these little men.
Yet, the Pygmies’ knowledge of the forest is unparallel and a factor of integration. They are indeed increasingly esteemed for the benefits they can bring to their new neighbors.
THE BACKWATERS OF KERALA [52’]
The labyrinth of the Gods
In southwest India, the State of Kerala shelters the Backwaters, a dense network of canals digged in the 19th century by the British to irrigate ricefields.
Along the 1,800 kms of river banks, hindus, muslims and catholics live side by side in perfect harmony, brought together by work in the fields.
Today, the Backwaters constitute a landscape unique in the world with its own traditions and activities.
THE END OF THE WORLD JOURNEY [52’]
The rare land masses in the southern Indian Ocean
This film proposes to discover the archipelagos of Kerguelen, Crozet and Amsterdam.
The mission of the ship Marion Dufresne is to supply the stations scattered on these islands and to relieve the staff of the FSAL, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
These rare land masses in the southern Indian Ocean have remained sanctuaries of biodiversity, thanks to their remoteness from human activity.
THE FORGOTTEN VOICES [8x52’]
Endangered primary peoples
This collection presents the cultures, traditions and disappearing ways of life of the last hunter-gatherers or nomadic tribes of the world.
Each film strives for sincerity, without staging or altering the reality faced by these people.
The aim here is to preserve, for future generations, these tribal memories and to show how their cultures change, even sometimes disappear, as globalisation progresses inexorably.
THE GAUCHA PRINCESS [52’]
European aristocracy in Latin America
Princess Laetitia d’Arenberg arrived in Uruguay at age 7 when her parents emigrated from Europe fearing a third World War. She immediately fell in love with the open spaces and dreamed of one day running her own ranch where she would raise cattle and horses.
Nowadays, Las Rosas is one of the most prestigious estancias with thousands of cattle and one of the largest stud farm in the world.
However successful she has been, the Princessa Gaucha still maintains a certain taste for the European aristocracy traditions of her youth.
THE HMONG HORSEMAN [52’]
The Vietnamese mountain people
The magnificent mountains of North Vietnam have always sheltered the Hmong ethnic minorities. This is where they subdued the forest and mastered the art of terrace cropping, shaping extraordinary landscapes with their ricefields.
In this rugged terrain nothing can be done without the precious help of robust and courageous small horses. Toa is head of a family clan and once a year, together with his cherished equine companion, he enters a racing event he would never miss.
Through Toa, we discover a very singular people still tradition bound and faraway from the Vietnam usually seen.
THE IMMORTAL SHADOWS [52’]
Entertainment becomes art
Animation is one of today’s most popular forms of entertainment which makes great use of ever evolving technologies.
However its origin goes way back, in a long forgotten traditional art that a Japanese shadow master wants to bring to a new audience.
His quest takes him to a remote village deep into Malaysia’s tropical forest in the midst of the monsoon, in search of a master puppeteer who knows the secrets of the shadows immortality.
THE LAST REINDEERS HUNTER [52’]
A vanished society
An extraordinary archaeological site around Paris has been uncovered. It reveals the existence of reindeer hunting communities at the end of the Ice Age, 14,000 years ago.
This vanished society reveals its secrets and takes us to the Arctic frontier, on a high plateau in the Røros region of Norway, where live the last representatives of these people now on the verge of extinction.
THE LAST SALT CARAVAN [52’]
The Southern Silk Roa
Yunnan Province, in southwest China, is the starting point of the ancient Tea Trade Road going to Tibet. It was also known as the southern Silk Road and carries a 2,000 years history.
Today, caravans keep travelling this route to trade tea and, most importantly, salt which has been a major currency throughout time.
These caravans and the region they pass through are still barely known.
THE MANY FACES OF PARIS [12x52’]
The secrets of the City of Light
Known as the city of love throughout the world, Paris is, above all, a blend of cultures, lifestyles, and mysteries.
In this series, the City of Light reveals some of its secrets.
THE MESSENGERS OF ZANSKAR, A MARRIAGE IN THE HIMALAYAS [52’]
The union of yesterday and tomorrow
Likden is a trekking guide living in Skaagam located 3,700 meters high in the Himalayan valley of Zanskar. After four long years of negotiation with his bride’s family, they are now ready to get married.
The preparation for the ritual lasts 4 days and the spiritual guides of the community are responsible for the observance of the ancestral traditions. Even if the lifestyle in Skagam seems stuck in the past, the emergence of cell phones and the internet is raising new hopes. Indeed, Likden dreams of opening a computer school. His brother and friends are studying in Northern India, but all want to come back to build a better future.
Through this Himalayan wedding ceremony, this film is a colorful illustration of the eternal confrontation between tradition and modernity.
THE PATH OF MEN [14x52’]
The many routes of civilizations
This series crosses geographical, historical, cultural and sociological discoveries with mythical roads cleared by adventurers or mapped over time by civilizations, explorers, conquering states, itinerant merchants.
It puts into perspective the development of civilizations over several hundred years and reflects on the evolution of nature and humanity throughout the world.
We follow the great trajectories forged by man driven by geology, raw material or green wealth.
THE PEOPLES OF NORTH VIETNAM [52’]
A mosaic of cultures
Rehahn is a photographer. A few years ago, during his first visit to Vietnam, he was captivated by the country.
Today, he has settled in Hoi An, a quaint small town on the coast, and has opened a gallery where all his work is collected. He has made the diversity of traditional costumes his favorite subject.
In this film, Rehahn takes us on a journey to discover the remote ethnic groups of northern Vietnam.
THE PLACE WE LIVE IN [13x24’]
The power of hope
This series depicts the difficult circumstances in which some people in the world live. But, paradoxically, their condition doesn’t prevent them from contemplating life in a positive way.
How has this attitude shaped their cultures and beliefs while teaching them to survive in a sometimes harsh environment?
THE SALT WOMEN [52’]
A life-changing innovation
In West Africa, along the coastline of Guinea, people have been harvesting salt for centuries using fire for the evaporation process. However, this vital activity has been endangered by the lack of wood due to the overexploited and shrinking mangroves.
To counter this disastrous trend, an NGO introduced a revolutionary method of creating small salt swamps with plastic sheets which makes the seawater evaporates under the heat of the sun and eases the collection of the precious crystal.
The women don’t need to use fire anymore, a huge improvement for their health and the environment, not to mention a better living standard for their families and a brighter future.
THE TRACKS TO TIMBUKTU [52’]
The doorsteps to the desert
Mali may make the news for civil and religious strife but this film offers a peek into a world still lingering on the beauty of its traditions.
The country is home to the stunning Bandiagara cliffs, the banks of the Niger river and to the mysterious Dogon people. There is the fabulous Djenné, a city made of earth, at the crossroads of a nomadic and sedentary lifestyle. And then Timbuktu, the legendary city and gateway to the desert, a symbol of the far end of the world.
This is a journey through an uniquely enigmatic and fascinating land.
THE USA AT HEART [4x52’]
The original American dream
This series takes us to an America of wide-open spaces, lush forests, arid deserts, craggy peaks, and endless plains.
A wild country populated by characters with a taste for solitude and conquest. They are adventurers who have decided to live surrounded by spectacular nature, one not damaged by man.
Four destinations allow us to experience the original American dream: Wyoming, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oregon.
TRIBES OF THE HIMALAYAS [6x52’]
The Himalayas are more than a playground for trekkers or the landmark for the most memorable climbing achievements. Hard to reach valleys, such as Ladakh or Paldar, are hidden amongst these gigantic mountains and shelter various tribes who have managed to live in the most inhospitable conditions.
Although they cling to their culture, the latest technologies, such as the internet or mobile phones, are quietly rearing their heads and disrupting secular lifestyles.
These films explore the nomadic life in the Himalayas, travel trading routes between the high valleys and present colorful rites and traditions. This "over the top" collection is a beautiful and authentic voyage into the heart of a harsh and majestic universe.
Man and his environment
This collection looks at human societies the world over under six themes: families, women, becoming an adult, water, Man and Nature, Man and Animal.
This extremely novel approach is an unique mix of discovery, anthropology and sociology. Each episode focuses on one part of the world and addresses the interaction between man and its environment.
UNTOLD STORIES : 7 CANOES [52’]
The accounts of the elders
New Zealand’s original Polynesian inhabitants are descended from voyagers who left their traditional homeland, Hawaiki, around 800 years ago and traveled on seven canoes.
During these centuries, there have been many battles and upheavals, and many tales have been lost. Fortunately, some elders are still around and can recall and retell before they are gone.
For memory’s sake, this film captures these special ancient stories, songs, and chants.
WHERE PEOPLE READ [6x45’]
In various countries in Asia, trucks provide books for those who do not have libraries readily accessible or reading material at their fingertips.
Imagine what it would be like if you had to wait for a bookmobile to come around once a week just so you could spend a few hours pouring through.
To some, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
WOMEN OF ZANZIBAR [52’]
The business of seaweed
On the island of Zanzibar, in the village of Jambiani, seaweed is grown to be used in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries.
This business started 10 years ago to revive the archipelago's economic activity. The men proved too restless to get involved in a long-term project, so the women decided to give it a try. The former clung to their fishing and trading activities, while the latter obtained money and recognition.
Today, women are reaping the benefits of their efforts and do not intend to stop there. They are learning new techniques, overcoming their fear of water and negotiating to become even more independent.