Imax, Beach House and China Review Team on ‘The Elephant Odyssey’

Alice Gu’s documentary to open theatrically in 2024

'The Elephant Odyssey'
'The Elephant Odyssey'

Imax is teaming up with Beach House Pictures (a Blue Ant Media company) and China Review Studio of China International Communications Group (CICG) for the new documentary “The Elephant Odyssey.” Directed by Alice Gu (“The Donut King”) and shot by Clair Popkin, the film recounts the saga of the wandering Asian elephants in 2020 and 2021, while exploring the rarely-seen world of Yunnan, China.

The 90-minute film, shot with Imax cameras and slated for release across the Imax network in 2024, is currently in production in China.  

“The 18-month journey of the Yunnan elephants at the height of the pandemic was a hopeful antidote to the lockdowns many of us were enduring,” said Imax Head of Documentaries John Turner, Head of Documentaries for Imax. “We wanted to know more about these animals and why it happened. Together with Beach House Pictures, China Review Studio and director Alice Gu, this will be an immersive wildlife documentary like no other.” 

The film is co-produced by Imax, Beach House Pictures, and China Review Studio, associated with the Foreign Languages Press and Lucent Pictures. Imax’s John Turner and Daniel Manwaring, Beach House’s Donovan Chan and Jocelyn Little, and China Review Studio’s Chen Fang will executive produce. 

'The Elephant Odyssey,' opening in 2023 in Imax theaters
‘The Elephant Odyssey’

“This is a prime example of the premium Asia-to-the-World collaborations that Beach House Pictures excel at, and we are proud to be making our first Imax film with China Review Studio,” said Beach House Pictures Creative Director Donovan Chan. “I have no doubt that the incredible elephants and people we will meet and the stunning places we will uncover will surprise and delight audiences and inspire us to do more to repair and protect our fragile relationship with Mother Nature.” 

The documentary will offer a new story concerning humanity’s relationship with the elephant along with a new perspective on the journey across Yunnan. Beginning in March 2020, 16 wild Asian elephants left the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve and trekked over 1,000 kilometers over an 18-month period.

The odyssey included impromptu village feasts, riotous raids on grain stores, messy mud fights, and even giving birth on the road. As the event unfolded, millions of viewers watched the story via a 24-hour live stream shot with drone footage. 

“Telling great stories has always been a core part of Imax’s DNA, and we’re thrilled to bring this fascinating story from China to the world,” said Imax China CEO Daniel Manwaring. “Thanks to our partners from China Review Studio, Beach House Pictures and an incredible team.” 

“The documentary film ‘The Elephant Odyssey’ is a deep exploration that goes beyond the fascinating journey of the Asian elephants that moved north and south, uncovering previously unknown, touching stories. We very much look forward to telling a distinctive Chinese story to audiences worldwide, together with IMAX and Beach House Pictures.” said China Review Studios Director Chen Fang.