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Principal Photography Underway on epic Colombian Nature and Wildlife Documentary entitled Colombia: Wild Magic

30 September 2014

First look at awe-inspiring feature length documentary celebrating Colombia’s undiscovered ecosystem, produced by OFF THE FENCE, GRUPO ÉXITO and ECOPLANET FOUNDATION and directed by MIKE SLEE (FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES 3D)

Colombian leader in retail corporation Grupo Éxito, together with ecological organization Ecoplanet Foundation and award-winning content production company Off The Fence, announced today that principal photography on the feature-length documentary with the working title COLOMBIA: WILD MAGIC is officially underway. Directed by multi award-winning writer and film director, Mike Slee (FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES 3D, BUGS! 3D, David Attenborough’s LIFE ON EARTH), the project will celebrate Colombia’s unique biodiversity by showing the country as it has never been seen before, and serve as a call to action to help preserve the country’s rich yet fragile ecosystems.

The documentary will shed light on the country’s rich ecology, capturing the natural diversity of a vast unexplored territory due mostly to its continuous long internal war that still affects the country, whilst carrying a strong environmental message. In an unprecedented move, the film will be shown at a very low price in theatres and then distributed for Colombians to see for free at a second phase, with the objective of encouraging public interest in preserving and protecting the country’s natural beauty.

“Our purpose is to share this gift with every Colombian - we want everybody to see the film. COLOMBIA: WILD MAGIC will not only show Colombians and audiences around the world how unique and fragile our country’s ecosystems are, but will generate a debate and raise awareness to make environmental conservation and sustainability a priority for the private and public sectors, ensuring we all take responsibility for its future,” commented Grupo Éxito’s CEO Carlos Mario Giraldo. “We understand that this perspective of our own country is mostly unknown by the vast majority of our population, so we decided to show it and do it the best way we could, because we believe we all need to know our country better in order to preserve our delicate ecosystem for future generations”, he stated.



Ecoplanet Foundation, ecological organization and partner to Grupo Éxito in the production, has more than 20 years of experience studying the landscape and revealing the richness and the damage caused to the dramatically beautiful territory.

Francisco Forero, Ecoplanet’s Director said, “Throughout this 90-minute documentary, the viewer will become mesmerized by beautiful and inspiring footage. Passing from the frozen summits of the Andes, the richness of the Caribbean, the vast savannahs of eastern Colombia and the western jungle of the Pacific and the Amazon rainforest, it will undoubtedly become obvious how important our role is in its conservation.”

State-of-the-art filming techniques
Shot using High Definition 6K Cineflex Ultra technology, COLOMBIA: WILD MAGIC will have an epic cinematic scope that captures some of the world’s most inaccessible locations, stunning details, rich wildlife and colourful cultures that exist throughout Colombia. Aerial footage will be captured using an unmanned Octocopter drone, Red Epic cameras will showcase terrestrial and submarine footage from an animal’s perspective, and a Phantom camera will reveal the up-close movement and fragile beauty of the Colombian landscape.

Discussing the artistic vision for the project, Off the Fence Managing Director Allison Bean said, “We have employed innovative camera techniques in order to bring to life all the unique experiences on offer in this extraordinary country. Intimate portraits of the country’s hidden habitats will provide an immersive experience for viewers, deepening their understanding of this undiscovered country.”

Alongside state-of-the-art filming techniques, the documentary will have the support of an experienced team of scientists, academics and researchers, who will shed light on the Colombia they know and love. The documentary will deliver a fact-based appeal to preserve the country’s delicate ecosystem for its future generations.

Filming and production
Filming began nearly one year ago with renowned underwater cameraman Bob Cranston (LIFE) spending one week diving off Malpelo, a small island 500km west of the Colombian mainland in the East Pacific Ocean. For the first time in documentary history, Cranston captured over 150 minutes of incredible footage of the hammerhead shark in its natural habitat.

Production continued with a nine week shoot deep in the Amazonian jungle, where Producer Allison Bean (WILDEST LATIN AMERICA), Director of Photography Richard Kirby (HUMAN PLANET) and Assistant Producer Andy Moorwood (WILDEST ISLANDS) captured the infinite variety of plants and animals that form a spectacular chain where nothing is wasted. Piranhas, crocodiles, anacondas, pirarucúes and pink dolphins were some of the animals sought out by the production crew in this unsuspecting world that only a select few have ever seen.

The grasslands of the Orinoco region, the Andes, the Caribbean and other magnificent places that hide some of the most amazing secrets and phenomenons of the world, are on the production schedule throughout July, August, October and November of 2014.

The production team will visit more than 20 locations, some of them extremely remote and never shown before, to portray the splendour of Colombia’s biodiversity and unique ecosystems. These include Malpelo Island, El Cocuy, the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, the Serrania de Chiribiquete - one of the most important mountain ranges of the Colombian Amazon and one of the purest and most authentic ecosystems in the world - among others.

COLOMBIA: WILD MAGIC is expected to premiere in Colombia in the first quarter of 2015, followed by an international premiere. Grupo Éxito will launch a strong advertising campaign, accompanied by a fully interactive website with information about Colombia´s biodiversity, the documentary, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and additional informational content about the country’s unrevealed natural secrets until now.

About Grupo Éxito
The main retailer in Colombia, Grupo Exito is a multi-brand, multi-format, multi-industry and multi-business with more than 36 thousand employees and 470 stores mainly located in Colombia and 54 of them in Uruguay. The Company, who’s majority shareholder is Casino Group in France, develops its main business through three umbrella brands: Éxito, Carulla and Surtimax, for different segments of the Colombian people. It offers different services that complement their business proposal: consumer credit (Tarjeta Exito), Éxito Travel, Éxito Insurance, textile and food industries, e-commerce, gas stations and a real estate business that develops shopping malls.

Grupo Éxito is firmly committed to incorporating sustainability as a primary and universal true north of our corporate strategy. With sustainability being a key component of the way in which the Grupo Éxito does business and interacts with the environment, citizens, communities and businesses, the Company has initiatives focused on three areas: Food, Work and Commercial Formalization, and the Environment. These areas of focus are a source of pride for Grupo Éxito and drive its employees toward a common goal: to build a better country for the present and the future.

At Grupo Éxito they understand that their commitment to the environment must be part of their daily lives, so they strive to make their operations more environmentally sustainable. According to this way of thinking, for the past years Éxito has been conducting a series of initiatives such as "My Planet" where they work on two major issues of the environmental dimension: measuring and mitigating the carbon footprint of their operations, and leading post-consumption programs in the retail sector, among other initiatives with suppliers and customers.

About Ecoplanet
With over 20 years-experience, the founders and members of Ecoplanet Foundation travel around the Colombian territory, thoroughly studying and documenting its ecosystems. This organization aims to disseminate the wealth and importance of this privileged land that is Colombia, and to research the damage we are causing to it. Ecoplanet believes that through understanding the impact of our actions, we can generate the passion to appreciate, care for, conserve and sustainably use our natural environment.

About Off the Fence
Off the Fence Productions is an award-winning producer of factual television and digital cinema content, which is broadcast worldwide. Their films aim to give a fresh perspective and high production values across a range of genres that include: science, history, adventure, human stories, and specializing in natural history. The creative team have been recognised by more than 80 awards, including Royal Television Society, Emmy, Golden Panda and Grand Teton.