EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic has boarded French doc series Rise and Fall of the Mayas.
The Disney-owned factual network is among three new pre-buyers attached to the series, which was originally ordered by France’s RMC Decouverte and pre-bought in the country by Histoire TV.
Nat Geo takes worldwide rights to the Pernel Media four-parteroutside the U.S., German- and French-speaking Europe and French-speaking Canada. ZDFinfo takes German-speaking Europe and TV5 Quebec takes French-speaking Canada. In France, it launches on RMC Decouverte on free TV before Histoire gets a second window for pay-TV.
ZDF Studios has distribution rights in German-speaking Europe and Pernel sells it elsewhere.
Rise and Fall of the Mayas (Les Mayas, Des Origines à la Chute) tells the entire story of the great Mayan civilization, which inhabited areas that are now regions of Central America.
Notably, the doc access to a groundbreaking expedition at Aguada Fenix, the oldest and largest Mayan site found to date. Archaeologists discovered the ruins, near the Mexico-Guatemala border, in 2020 through LIDAR technology. It is believed to be about 1,500 years older than other famous sites such as Tikal and Chichen Itza and suggests the first Mayan people could have lived 3,000 years ago. The civilization collapsed around 1500AD though around 8 million people of Mayan descent live in Central America.
Executive producers on the doc series are Pernel’s Céline Payot Lehmann and Samuel Kissous.
“Telling the story of a great civilization from beginning to end is a rare privilege that we managed by securing exclusives on ground breaking archaeological findings. That is what convinced our partners to come on board,” said Payot Lehmann.
On Friday, Arte France commissioned Pernel to make doc looking at Jewish ghettos in World War II.
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