the film

 Dr. Jane Goodall

jane goodall with chimpanzee Dr. Jane Goodall's legendary work with the chimpanzees of Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park will be the subject of a remarkable giant screen film co-produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota, Science North, and Discovery Place, Inc. Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees will take viewers on an extraordinary trip deep into Gombe and across four decades of research to experience the world of the chimpanzee as they've never seen it before.

Jane Goodall's quest to work with live animals in the wild began more than forty years ago. After hiring Jane as an assistant on a fossil-hunting dig at Olduvai Gorge in Africa, noted paleontologist and anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey arranged for Jane to travel to Gombe to study the behavior of the chimpanzees that make their home there. Her heart never left. Jane's relationship with Gombe's chimpanzees goes beyond a mere scientific interest - it has evolved into a genuine affection and commitment to their survival. Fascinated by the twenty-square-mile park and its charismatic inhabitants, Goodall established what has become the longest continuously running study of animals in the wild.

chimpanzee looking at foot Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees invites viewers to be among the few humans who have ventured into the realm of the wild chimpanzee to see them at close range. Research has proven that chimpanzees and humans share nearly 99% of the same DNA, making chimps the closest relative to humans. Dr. Goodall's discoveries in forty years of research at Gombe - including her groundbreaking observations of chimpanzees making and using tools - have not only revolutionized our understanding of chimps, but ultimately of human behavior itself.


Beginning in May 1999, a giant screen film production team accompanied Dr. Goodall on her walks through the forest in search of her now-famous chimpanzee subjects: her longtime friend Fifi, whom Jane met as an infant chimpanzee when she first arrived at Gombe; Fifi's son Frodo, the alpha male of the community whose aggression has placed him atop the ranks in his community; Gremlin, her offspring Gaia, and the rare twins Golden and Glitter; and Titan, a juvenile chimpanzee whose attention-getting behavior may one day make him Frodo's successor as the group's alpha male.

chimpanzee resting During their time in Gombe, the crew shot rare footage of chimpanzees interacting in their community group, playing with one another and with their baboon neighbors, grooming, hunting, communicating, and using tools to find food - giving viewers an opportunity to wonder at the rich culture and complex social dynamics of chimpanzees' incredible world. Combining this contemporary footage with archival footage of Dr. Goodall in her earlier years at Gombe, the film gives viewers a comprehensive look at her historical work.

 Elizabeth Lonsdorf

Viewers will also meet Elizabeth Lonsdorf, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota and one of a new generation of researchers at Gombe. With a special interest in the development of survival skills in young chimps, Lonsdorf uses technology (in the form of video analysis) and cutting-edge science (in the form of DNA testing) to expand upon the observations Dr. Goodall has made throughout the years with only a notepad and a pencil. Lonsdorf represents a new age of scientists who have come to Africa to follow in Goodall's footsteps.


family of chimpanzees Today, Dr. Goodall spends most of her time touring, speaking to groups of all ages about our responsibility to respect and preserve the planet's wild places. Normally hesitant to take a break from her touring schedule and research to work on film projects, Goodall agreed to work on Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees because it will be another tool with which to spread her message of conservation and humans' important role in making the world a better place to live.

Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees is the first and only giant screen film on Jane Goodall. Viewers will be touched by the history of her study and her passion for wildlife research and global conservation. The film will give them an amazing sense of closeness to the creatures who so nearly resemble humans, and it will leave them wondering who will carry Jane's research and advocacy into the twenty-first century.


Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees is a co-production of the Science Museum of Minnesota, Science North, and Discovery Place, in cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute. Presented by Bank of America, the film has also received major funding from the National Science Foundation. Executive producers are Mike Day, Science Museum of Minnesota; Jim Marchbank, Science North, Sudbury, Ontario; and Freda Nicholson, Discovery Place, Charlotte, North Carolina. The film is directed by Dave Lickley and written by Stephen Low. Director of photography is Reed Smoot, editor is James Lahti, and line producer is Kathryn Liptrott.

The film will have an initial exhibition in May 2002 at a number of Canadian giant screen theaters, followed by a world premiere in October 2002. Distribution of the film will be handled by the Science Museum of Minnesota, one of the world's leading producers of giant screen films, with more than 20 years of experience in the field. Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees is the eleventh project of the Science Museum's film production unit, headquartered in the museum's St. Paul facility at 120 West Kellogg Boulevard.

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