The Macaw Kingdom

After years of preparation, zoologist George Olah finally got what he wanted. A special permission from the government of Peru. The 50+ page document gave him access to the Holy Grail of parrot researchers: the Candamo Basin, in the Peruvian Amazon. A place where wildlife exists without any human disturbance since the beginning of times. Surrounded by the foothills of the Andes, the Candamo Basin hosts one of the very few uninhabited tropical rainforest of the world. Not even native tribes had settled here and decades had passed since the last camera team dared to sail the hostile rapids of the Candamo river.

In February, 2016 the nine members of an international scientific expedition finally got onboard of an Amazonian motorized canoe. It took 4 days for them to reach the location. After setting up their base camp in the rainforest, researchers climbed giant trees, investigated nest hollows, captured and tagged young macaws and collected blood samples and feathers for genetic analysis. But doing serious scientific work in the Amazon is not an easy feat. Jaguars visit the camp, wasps attack the climbers and parasites hunt and bite every free piece of skin. Despite all the challenges the team returns to the lab with the invaluable samples that can help us understand the status of an isolated parrot population.

Filmjungle Society crew had been working with George Olah for years. Co-director and camerawoman Cintia Garai spent months on location and collected valuable footage and field knowledge. The Candamo expedition was funded by the Innovate Peru grant and the film production crew was sent to location with the support of the Media Council of Hungary.

  • Attila David Molnar
    Director
    Budapest Wild, The Invisible Wildlife Photographer, Wildcrime, Sharks in My Viewfinder
  • Cintia Garai
    Director
    The Macaw Project, Wildcrime: Illegal Parrot Trade, Lapalala: An Example to Follow
  • Attila David Molnar
    Writer
    Budapest Wild, The Invisible Wildlife Photographer, Wildcrime, Sharks in My Viewfinder
  • Attila David Molnar
    Producer
    Budapest Wild, The Invisible Wildlife Photographer, Wildcrime, Sharks in My Viewfinder
  • George Olah
    Producer
    The Macaw Project
  • Zsolt Marcell Toth
    Producer
    Budapest Wild, The Invisible Wildlife Photographer, TimeHopper, Sharks in My Viewfinder
  • Balazs Tisza
    Filmed by
    Insequence, This Tree is Big, ​Invisible Wildlife Photographer
  • Cintia Garai
    Filmed by
    The Macaw Project, Wildcrime: Illegal Parrot Trade, Lapalala: An Example to Follow
  • Wildlife Messengers
    Production Company
    The Macaw Project
  • Filmjungle.eu Society
    Production Company
    Budapest Wild
  • Film Type:
    Documentary
  • Genres:
    Conservation, Scientific research
  • Runtime:
    52 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2018
  • Country of Origin:
    Hungary
  • Country of Filming:
    Peru
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Distributor Information
  • Windrose (https://www.windrose.fr)
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Attila David Molnar, Cintia Garai

Attila Dávid Molnár is a natural history filmmaker. At the age of 11 he makes an animation film on S8mm film entitled as Evolution. His career in filmmaking started with amateur underwater films like Birth of the Seahorse (1993) and Sea Stories (1994). He was in high-school when MTV (Hungarian Public Television) broadcasts his first professional short documentary series Empire of Jadran (1994). In 1996 he founded ECOFilm Society, and from 1998 (onwards) he is assigned as translator-scientific editor of the factual channel Spektrum Television. In 1999 he joins Hungary's most prestigious popular science magazine, the DELTA Scientific News. In 2003 he worked on Antarctica as an underwater cameraman of the 1st Hungarian Scientific and Filming Expedition. In 2003 and in 2005 he was the assigned journalist of National Geographic Hungary and wrote 2 feature articles on the underwater world of Papua New Guinea for the magazine. In 2005 his first one-hour feature documentary Wolfwatching received awards on national and international film festivals. In 2007 he founded Filmjungle Society with fellow producer-cameraman-director Zsolt Marcell Tóth. In 2010 he is elected as Emerging Producer by the Bursary Programme of World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. In 2010 his original programme proposal The Invisible Wildlife Photographer was commissioned by Spektrum Television and 2012 saw the television premiere of the series in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The series earned multiple awards at international festivals like JWFF, IWFF, Naturvision, Matsalu and Envirofilm. In 2013 with fellow filmmakers he launches the environmental initiative the Plastic Pirates. By 2014 Filmjungle became Hungary's biggest and most productive documentary production company releasing about 7 to 10 hours of original natural history, wildlife and scientific documentary each year. In 2015 he launches Popular Science Video Workshop, from 2016 starts to teach at the Centre for Science Communication and UNESCO Chair for Multimedia in Education ELTE University, Faculty of Science. In 2017 he starts his doctoral studies at University of Theatre and Film Arts.

Cintia Garai is a wildlife biologist with main interests in great apes and Africa. She got her Master of Science degree in Zoology in 2006 in Hungary. Then she started to work in the Congo with bonobos. Later she worked for a Hungarian wildlife filmmaking group, Filmjungle.eu Productions, and decided that she wants to make films for conservation purposes, especially in remote areas. That is how she got to Tambopata, Peru, where she filmed The Macaw Project. In 2015, she gained a PhD degree in Primatology, at the Kyoto University in Japan. Currently she is working in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a conservationist, and in the meantime she continues filming and exploring the possibilities of using films in different ways for nature conservation.

Add Director’s Biography
Director Statement

Attila Dávid Molnár:
"The story of how I got to Peru, is similar to the story of how I got into science, filming and training. Painstaking work and the strong belief in the power of video. First, I helped zoologist Dr George Olah to make a short video for his crowdsourcing campaign called the ‘Macaw Project’. Thousands of people had watched our little film and so the documentary got its funds. Then I was invited to come and join an international expedition into one of the last untouched tropical wilderness of this world: the Tambopata river and the Candamo basin. Again, to make a film. Along the way I met some incredible scientists. I watched Dr Mark Bowler climbing trees and putting camera traps everywhere to capture canopy animals. I laughed with joy when screening the short field videos made by Dr Varun Swamy. Everywhere I saw people generating amazing images and the immense potential they could raise. We included all the hard work of these motivated researchers into the movie Macaw Kingdom."

Cintia Garai:
“My first filming experience in tropical rainforest took place in the Congo, and after that I was very happy to have the chance to film in a Peruvian rainforest as well. I thought, the challenges would be the same, but I met some new difficulties. For example, I was surprised to have had my camera broken by a domestic cat jumping on it in a lodge in the middle of the rainforest! :) Another new thing was to film 40 meters high, while hanging on a rope, trying to keep my balance. This part though was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, seeing the forest from the monkeys’ and birds’ point of view. Some things were already familiar from the Congo, like the humidity that destroys the equipment, or the insects, sometimes so many that you cannot even close the camera lens! But no matter what, it is always amazing, exciting and a whole new world. What makes Tambopata so special to me is that many animal species are not afraid of people, they just accept us being guests in their home.”