Smithsonian Channel Unveils New Wildlife Initiative & Docs


Smithsonian Channel has expanded its commitment to wildlife programming and initiatives, with the network set to sponsor the first annual Santiago Wild film festival and release new nature documentaries.

Santiago Wild will take place in Chile from December 3 through 6. Additionally, Smithsonian Channel has greenlit two new blue-chip documentaries, Yukon’s Wild Grizzlies and Pride of Pumas.

The inaugural Santiago Wild film festival will coincide with United Nations climate change conference COP25, hosted this year in Santiago and attended by notable world leaders. Santiago Wild will utilize the platform of film to bring the issues debated at COP25 to life in a timely and relevant way, demonstrating the high stakes at hand. The festival will include nature and wildlife documentary screenings, as well as speaking engagements and other events.

The one-hour wildlife documentary Yukon’s Wild Grizzlies is from Omnifilm Entertainment in co-production with the Canadian broadcaster Knowledge Network. It tells the story of Sophie, a young female grizzly on the cusp of adulthood. As she forages on the vast Yukon tundra, mates on a rugged mountain ridge, charges into an Arctic river in early winter to gorge on salmon and nurtures her first litter of cubs in an unforgiving landscape, viewers will witness her captivating struggle for survival. Filmed in 4K over a seasonal arc spanning two years, the documentary will showcase some of the most remote locations in North America, including the Arctic Circle and Bear Cave Mountain.

Pride of Pumas, meanwhile, zeroes in on Chilean Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park, where wildlife filmmaker René Araneda and his team have intimately followed the native pumas for years, identifying and cataloging distinct physical characteristics, personalities and lineages. Pumas are known to be one of the most solitary and elusive predators on Earth, as wildlife expert and tracker Casey Anderson has found in his observations of a puma mother and her cubs near Yellowstone.