River, a new theatrical documentary project for worldwide release, is a new collaboration between Stranger Than Fiction Films and Arrow Pictures, the team behind the multi-award-winning feature documentary Sherpa. River and follows in the footsteps of Mountain, the highest-grossing Australian documentary in box office history, which completed an 11-week run in UK and US cinemas.
This major theatrical project, commissioned by ABC Arts and BBC Arts and co-produced with distributors Dogwoof and Madman Entertainment, with major production investment from Screen Australia and the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), explores the remarkable relationship between humans and rivers. A unique cinematic and musical collaboration between the ACO and BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom, River features specially-composed music by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Richard Tognetti and a narration script by Robert Macfarlane, the internationally award-winning author of bestselling books about landscape, nature and place. The score also features music from Jonny Greenwood and Radiohead. The film is directed by Jennifer Peedom, co-directed by Joseph Nizeti and produced by Jo-anne McGowan and Jennifer Peedom from Stranger than Fiction and John Smithson from Arrow Pictures.
River takes its audience on an astonishing journey through space and time. Spanning six continents, and drawing on extraordinary contemporary cinematography, including satellite filming, the film shows rivers on scales and from perspectives never seen before, and builds on the huge success of Peedom’s previous film, Mountain.
Jennifer Peedom, Producer, Director and Co-Founder, Stranger Than Fiction, says: “As Mountain drew its audience up to the highest world's most formidable summits, so River will draw its audiences in to explore the arteries of the planet.
“This is not a traditional theatrical documentary. The phenomenal global success of Mountain shows that audiences worldwide have a huge appetite for a different kind of experience. Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script will ensure that River is both dream-like and powerful.”
Jo-anne McGowan, Producer and Co-Founder, Stranger Than Fiction, adds: “Rivers have shaped all our landscapes and our journeys. We dam rivers for power, plunder them for wealth - and we turn to them for solace and sacredness. Our ability to shape planetary processes is now of such power and consequence that it will leave a legacy for millions of years to come. So, the story of River is at once ancient and urgent, as the human race continues to make its mark.”
River is a collaboration with leading UK factual producer Arrow Pictures. It sees John Smithson, its Creative Director, reunited with Peedom for the first time since multi-award-winning Sherpa. This 2015 film was critically acclaimed on the international festival circuit, including Telluride, Toronto and London Film festivals, winning multiple awards including the Grierson Award for Best Documentary at the BFI London Film Festival, the Australian Film Critics Circle Award, the Australian Directors Guild Award, several audience awards and a BAFTA nomination in 2016.
John Smithson, Producer and Creative Director, Arrow Pictures, adds: “This film is an exciting hybrid, with brilliant images, powerful music and elegant words which combine to say something profound about the human race’s impact on the planet. It’s a stimulating creative challenge and it’s great to be collaborating again with one of Australia’s top directors.”
River is produced by Stranger Than Fiction in association with Arrow Pictures. It has received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. Directed by Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizeti, it is produced by Jo-anne McGowan, Jennifer Peedom and John Smithson. River, a collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, is a co-production with the Australian broadcaster ABC, the BBC and distributors Dogwoof and Madman Entertainment. The project was commissioned by Miranda Culley for the ABC, Executive Producer for the ABC Arts is Kalita Corrigan. The Commissioning Editor at BBC Arts is Mark Bell. River is distributed internationally by Dogwoof and by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.