(September 13, 2016 – Toronto, ON) Writing in the Globe and Mail, Ivan Semeniuk called The Great Human Odyssey “The scientific equivalent of a creation story for humankind.” One of the first documentaries in Canada to be filmed in 4K resolution, using digital cinema cameras on aerial drones and underwater, and filming in extreme heat and cold on expeditions, The Great Human Odyssey is a three-part series that has already aired on CBC’s The Nature of Things and will premiere in the USA this year on the PBS series NOVA.
Now, leading up to the Canadian Screen Awards nominations, which will be announced on January 19th, momentum is growing for this epic human-origins documentary series. It has won six Alberta Film Awards shortly after its world premiere last winter including “Best Documentary Series”, “Best Cinematography” and “Best Direction”, and in fact picked up twice as many AFA’s as any other Alberta production in 2015. And now, The Great
Human Odysseyhas won the Edmonton Film Prize, which comes with a cash prize of $8,000 for series Producer and Director Niobe Thompson of Clearwater Films.
The prize was announced at a reception yesterday, Tuesday, January 12 th at MacEwan University. The Edmonton Film Prize is an annual cash prize to recognize Edmonton-based filmmakers who demonstrate artistic and technical excellence as a filmmaker. The award was launched in 2012 by the Edmonton Arts Council and celebrates the best in Edmonton’s screen-based industries. Sponsored by the City of Edmonton, entries are judged by an independent jury of filmmakers, presenters, broadcasters and members of the film community.
The Great Human Odyssey explores the emergence of our ancestors in Africa and the journeys our distant ancestors took to settle the planet. Thompson led a Canadian film crew on an 18-month journey across five continents, filming with Bajdao free-diving nomads in the Philippines, San Bushmen in the Namibian Kalahari, Chukchi reindeer nomads in Arctic Russia, and Crocodile People in the most remote part of Papua New Guinea. The spectacular final sequence of the series, in which Russian Inuit nest-raiders travel by skin umiak across an ice-choked sea to gather the eggs of the thick-billed murre on 600-foot cliffs, took two summer seasons to complete.
Interest in the series and our earliest beginnings seems universal. The Great Human Odyssey is currently airing on major public broadcasters in the UK, France, Germany Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Russia. It is also being broadcast on Discovery by satellite in Asia/Pacific (13 countries including China) and Africa.
Producer, Director and Host Niobe Thompson has won multiple Gemini Awards for his intelligent and visually dramatic science and nature documentaries, establishing Clearwater as one of Canada’s leading documentary production companies. This is his second Edmonton Film Prize, after winning in 2012 for his exploration of endurance running in human evolution, The Perfect Runner.