EXCLUSIVE: Apple has taken the worldwide rights to Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s documentary The Elephant Queen about Athena, a giant matriarch tusker who when faced with a drought must decide whether to lead her pachyderm family away from the water hole they call home or into the badlands in search of food and water. The risk? The smallest elephants may not be strong enough to complete the trip.
Deeble and Stone immersed themselves with the elephants during the course of four years, living up close and personal with Athena and her herd for over four years, highlighting the striking similarities between elephants and people. The film is narrated by Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Doctor Strange, the upcoming Lion King), and screened today at the Toronto International Film Festival. Stone and Deeble are Emmy and Peabody Award-winning wildlife documentarians, their News & Doc Emmy award-winning title being Haunt of the Hippo for National Geographic which won in the category of music and sound.
Apple’s worldwide video division led by Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht acquired The Elephant Queen. Endeavor Content and Mister Smith Entertainment made the deal.
In addition, before TIFF, Apple snapped up the rights to two-time Oscar-nominee Tomm Moore’s animated film Wolfwalkers, from Cartoon Saloon and Melusine Productions. The film, which Moore co-directs with Ross Stewart (Song of the Sea), is written by Will Collins (Song of the Sea) and produced by Nora Twomey, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants.
In a time of superstition and magic, when wolves are seen as demonic and nature an evil to be tamed, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn, comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack. But when Robyn saves a wild native girl, Mebh, their friendship leads her to discover the world of the Wolfwalkers and transform her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.