New Jane Goodall Film to Reveal Never-Before-Seen Footage

A biopic about the famed primatologist will feature archived film of her early work in the 1960s. 

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Jane Goodall interacts with chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park in a file picture.


A new biopic about Jane Goodall will reveal never-before-seen footage of the famed primatologist's early work, the National Geographic Channel announced Thursday.

The film will feature recently rediscovered archived film from Goodall's research in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park in the 1960s. At the age of 26, Goodall traveled from England to what is today Tanzania equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars.

Her decades of living and observing chimpanzees opened an unprecedented window into the lives of our close relatives, and she continues to be a figurehead in chimpanzee biology. (See "Why Chimps Are Disappearing and How to Save Them.")

Director Brett Morgen will direct, produce, and write the untitled film, which will be released in theatres followed by a global television premiere on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 44 languages.

“What was captured on film had never happened before and can never happen again," Morgen says in a statement.

"While Jane’s story has been told before, our hope is that this film will invite viewers to experience the joy, exhilaration, and thrill that Jane herself experienced in Gombe. This promises to be a truly immersive cinematic experience.”

Since the 1980s, Goodall, a National Geographic explorer, has spent most of her time on the road, lecturing, speaking with schoolchildren, testifying in public, using her gentle but forceful suasion on government officials, world leaders, other scientists, and anyone else she might meet.

She works to protect endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encourage people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment. (Read "Q&A: On Her 80th Birthday, Jane Goodall Discusses Her Legacy—and What's Next.")

Jane Goodall: A Retrospective Jane Goodall has taught the world more about chimpanzees than anyone else in the world. Her dream to study our closest relatives began in 1960 in Gombe Park, Tanzania, and she continues her work to save them today.

The Jane Goodall Institute's mission is to protect the famous chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, but recognizes this can’t be accomplished without a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of local people who are critical to chimpanzee survival.

Their community-centered conservation programs in Africa include sustainable development projects that engage local people as true partners. (See "First Impressions: Working With Jane Goodall.")

These programs began around Gombe in 1994, but have since been replicated in other parts of the continent. Likewise, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, which Goodall started with a group of Tanzania students in 1991, is today the Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program for young people from preschool through university with nearly 150,000 members in more than 120 countries.

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