Blood Island

Deep in the heart of Liberia’s jungles, hundreds of chimpanzees were taken from the wild. Captured, bred, and infected with hepatitis, our closest animal relatives were to unlock the mysteries of human diseases.

But what started in the 1970s as an ambitious medical experiment took deeper and darker turns through the decades.

Gripping to the core, Blood Island tells the powerful story of the chimpanzees, their captors and the people still fighting to save them.

  • Lindsey Parietti
    Produced, filmed & edited
  • Benjamin Yap
    Original Score
  • Kasey Kirby
    Aerial Photography/2nd Camera
  • Peter Venn
    Executive Producer
  • Robert Prynne
    Sound Supervisor
  • Clair MacDougall
    Location Fixer
  • Jenny Desmond
    Archive footage
  • Joel Clark
    Archive footage
  • Rob Batchelor
    Dubbing Mixer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student, Web / New Media, Other
  • Genres:
    Wildlife, natural history, animal rights, environmental
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 18, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:

  • United States
Director Biography

Lindsey Parietti is an American journalist and filmmaker who moved to Bristol, UK in 2016 to pursue an MA in Wildlife Filmmaking. She came to the course following nearly a decade of covering Egypt and Africa. She tries to highlight under-covered issues in challenging environments and continued that work traveling to Liberia for her master’s film on abandoned lab chimpanzees.

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Director Statement

When I found out what Samantha and hundreds of other lab chimpanzees in the New York Blood Center's research endured I was immediately drawn to their story. I thought I knew what I would find when I traveled to Liberia to make this film, but what I found out was so much worse.

If being kept in small cages for 30 years and subject to invasive procedures during the research wasn't traumatic enough, these chimps also lived through the loss of their babies, wars, abandonment and starvation. That any survived is incredible. That they have a relationship with some of their former captors seems almost impossible. And that they are still completely dependent on the species who have failed them so badly in the past is heartbreaking.

But there is hope and redemption to be found in Blood Island and I look forward to sharing it with you.

-Lindsey Parietti