Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Take a trip to the Island of Lemurs

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Take a trip to the Island of Lemurs

Writer-producer Drew Fellman discusses the IMAX doc, which is narrated by Morgan Freeman

It’s a cute, furry, animals-acting-like-humans narrative that could have been lifted straight from a Disney storyboard: a group of primates, fearing extinction on the mainland, board a naturally made raft and set sail for distant shores. ‘It’s the sort of thing that feels like it’s made up,’ admits Drew Fellman, writer and producer of Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. Not that he wishes to cast doubt on the likelihood of the story: ‘That’s the leading theory of how they got there, and it’s the only theory out there that explains it.’

Madagascar, which sits about 230 miles off the east coast of Africa (one heck of a trip by raft), is the world’s only natural lemur habitat – over 100 species reside there, from the diminutive mouse lemur to its famously photogenic ring-tailed cousin. Island of Lemurs recounts the primates’ initial voyage before dedicating a series of chapters to a selection of the main lemur species. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it keeps everything family-friendly and easily digestible while dazzling audiences with spectacular, large-scale nature photography. It also zips by in around 40 minutes, meaning even your twitchiest of kiddiwinks should be enthralled for the course.

‘It’s one of the few animals that has such an amazing origin story,’ says Fellman. ‘There was something that was so cinematic about that to me.’ After spending some time with such lovable and – as one scene demonstrates – dancefloor-friendly creatures, your little monkeys are bound to be inspired too.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is screening at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Cineworld, Sun 22 Jun.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Nature Documentary HD

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • Canada / US / Madagascar
  • 39min
  • U
  • Directed by: David Douglas
  • Written by: Drew Fellman
  • Cast: Patricia Wright, Morgan Freeman, Hantanirina Rasamimanana
  • UK release: 5 September 2014

A documentary that follows Dr Patricia C Wright's mission to help lemurs, the highly evolved creatures who arrived on Madagascar millions of years ago as castaways but are now highly endangered.