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Letters from Claudine 4: Bonobos on Film!

From the Archives, March 2008: Claudine shares the exciting development of Lola ya Bonobo being the center of film Bonobos: Back to the Wild. Produced by Alain Tixier via French Production company "Films du Rêve." The movie is now available on Amazon Prime.

The first quarter of 2008 started with filming. We started to shoot a fictionalized documentary with the Paris-based production company “Films du Rêve.” The feature film is to be produced by Alain Tixier with whom we worked two years ago on Planet of the Apes, “Ushuaïa TV nature programmes presented by Nicolas Hulot.


The staff at Lola ya Bonobo were looking forward with some anxiety to working on the film. They knew what awaited them! In 15 years, many films have been shot at Lola but none, as yet, had been intended for the big screen. Having read the synopsis and the script, I sensed that this time round things would be more difficult than for a documentary. This film will feature the apes themselves as the main characters with us, humans, playing only supporting roles!


Great! However, the bonobos are not actors but rather mischievous animals, who are not always obedient and do as they please most of the time! Those of you who have visited Lola will, I think, know what I mean, imagining 12-year-old Beni, sadly stroking my face to say goodbye for a fictional film sequence in which bonobos are being ‘released’ into the equatorial forest... And hearing filmmaker Alain Tixier’s voice commenting: “Fine, let’s just do another take just to be sure!" Indeed, what do you say to that, Beni?


Why not? All dreams are possible with the bonobos...


And – you know what, they all performed superbly! They were “perfect,” as Alain said, when he toasted the bonobos, their good grace and their patience, when leaving after three months of shooting.


“Phew! It’s Over!”

Shooting the film took up all my time for those three months, leaving me somewhat orphaned of my precious time at Lola ya Bonobo, where things carried on as normal thanks to the efforts of those who had continued their work during that time as if nothing was going on. Let’s hope that on its release the film will live up to our expectations and will be understood by all, throughout the world, as a message for the preservation of bonobos in the Congo.

Bonobos: Back to the Wild was originally released in 2011 in French, under the name "Bonobos," and was translated into English and re-released in 2015. Watch the trailer on YouTube or the entire film on Amazon Prime (subscription required.)

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