Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page


About The Production
There has never before been a comprehensive feature-length film depicting the extraordinary struggles and triumphs of the emperor penguin. Our task was a mammoth one, requiring a full film crew to set up camp in the Antarctic during the winter and remain for thirteen months with no possibility of sea or air transportation. Thus stranded, our constant presence allowed us to capture the full and remarkable variety of penguin behavior, as well as many bizarre and unique encounters.

Of the 40 or so extant emperor colonies worldwide, only four are studied on anything like a regular basis. Only one is accessible without mounting an independent expedition: the Geological Headland Archipelago colony in Adelie, a few hundred meters from the French scientific center of Dumont d'Urville. The center provided the perfect base for our shoot, and our close relationship with the Institute for Polar Research guaranteed us effective, active cooperation. We are also deeply indebted to the support we received from the French Institute Paul-Emile Victor. Filmed in super 16mm to convey the full visual impact of this magnificent environment, "March of the Penguins" includes underwater footage of the penguins' winter activities, shot by experienced divers using specialized cameras and never previously captured in such breathtakingly beautiful detail.


How does one become the director of a film like "March of the Penguins”?

Obviously, totally by chance. It all began with a classified ad which basically said something like "looking for fearless biologist, ready to spend fourteen months at the end of the world”… Of course, I had studied biology, in particular animal behavior, and I wanted to become a scientist. But I was as attracted to nature and adventure as I was to roughing it in extreme conditions, so this kind of premise was very appealing to me. At the time, the assignment was to film images of emperor penguins… The only problem was that I had never held a camera in my life. So I started with a ten-day training period to learn how to film with a 35mm camera. Then I left for my first stay at the Dumont d'Urville French Antarctic station with two assignments: to band the birds, and to film a very precise list of shots. At the time, I was 24.

Weren't you put off by the fact that you were starting in such extreme conditions?

No, not at all. I was born in Eastern France, in the Jura mountains, and started skiing when I was three years old. So I already had experienced the cold.  In the end, I was not that interested in the academic side of research, which required devoting much more effort to interpretation, instead of working in the field, which I preferred. And it was a friend who came back from shooting a documentary on orcas in Crozet Island, in the French Antarctic Territories, who gave me the idea for my first film "Sea Leopard, Lord of the Ice.” Everything took off after this, and there were many trips to the Antarctic. Twelve years later, I am still roaming around the 66th parallel.

How did "March of the Penguins” evolve?

I started this project four years ago, and slowly, over months, it began taking shape. The producers (Bonne Pioche) came onto the production in August and we had to work fast to meet our goal of starting production in January. As the story began to evolve, we all agreed with enormous enthusiasm – which was an incredible driving force – that what was originally intended to be a television film needed to become a feature-length theatrical film. With challenges at every level of the production, this became a rare adventure. There was a huge desire to make this work, along with a determination and an energy that, at times, made the whole thing feel like a military operation. But it was all pleasure in the end. I had this pure and sim

Next Production Note Section


Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.

2018 6,  All Rights Reserved.


Find:  HELP!