Colorado River Delta. (Photo: Peter McBride)

Director Jennifer Peedom is set to re-team with her Mountain collaborators, the Australia Chamber Orchestra’s (ACO) Richard Tognetti and writer Robert Macfarlane, on new a theatrical documentary, River.

Co-commissioned by the ABC and BBC Arts, the project is a partnership between Stranger Than Fiction Films and the UK’s Arrow Pictures, which will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and explore the relationship between humans and rivers.

Set to span six continents and boast “extraordinary contemporary cinematography”, including satellite filming, the film promises to show rivers on scales and from perspectives never seen before.

“As Mountain drew its audience up to the highest world’s most formidable summits, so River will draw its audiences in to explore the arteries of the planet,” Peedom said.

“This is not a traditional theatrical documentary. The phenomenal global success of Mountain shows that audiences worldwide have a huge appetite for a different kind of experience. Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script will ensure that River is both dream-like and powerful.”

Joining Peedom as co-director is Joseph Nizeti. Arrow Pictures creative director John Smithson, who was behind Peedom’s BAFTA-nominated Sherpa, will produce, along with Peedom and Jo-anne McGowan for Stranger Than Fiction Films.

Tognetti will compose music specifically for the film, and Macfarlene will pen the narration script. Music from Jonny Greenwood and Radiohead will also feature.

The project was commissioned by Miranda Culley for the ABC, with BBC Arts commissioning editor Mark Bell. The ABC EP is Kalita Corrigan.

River will be co-produced with distributor partners Dogwoof and Madman Entertainment, with Screen Australia and the ACO providing major production investment. Dogwoof will represent international sales, and will begin shopping the film at the European Film Market (EFM) next week. Madman will handle ANZ.

Mountain, narrated by Willem Dafoe, is the highest-grossing Australian documentary in box office history (excluding IMAX), and screened theatrically in the US and UK.

Also distributed by Madman, Mountain‘s box office was bolstered by an innovative release model that saw the film screen in both cinemas and alongside live performances around Australia by the ACO.

Among Peedom’s other upcoming projects is Netflix’s Tenzing, her first narrative feature, to be produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground.

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