National Geographic Television Launches “National Geographic Beyond the Movie: the Lord of the Rings” – Press Release

by Dec 6, 2001Other News

National Geographic Television (NGT) today announced the launch of the second project in its innovative multimedia initiative, “National Geographic Beyond the Movie,” designed to help audiences explore the fascinating real-life questions about history, science, nature, culture and adventure provoked by Hollywood feature films.

This time, National Geographic’s focus is on the first release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, to be released by New Line Cinema this December.

“National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings” will offer audiences greater insight into the history, folklore and cultural forces that inspired New Line’s epic motion picture adaptation of the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The cornerstone of the programming initiative is a one-hour documentary, to premiere on National Geographic EXPLORER exclusively on MSNBC, Sunday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. New Line Cinema opens The Fellowship of the Ring, the eagerly anticipated first installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in theaters worldwide on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

“National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings” will also be available on DVD and home video domestically in February 2002 and through its distribution partners worldwide.

“National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings” will also be featured in original and exclusive online programming at The announcement was made by Catherine Hagney, senior vice president at NGT and one of the creators of the “National Geographic Beyond the Movie” initiative.

“National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings” is the second innovative multimedia programming initiative created by NGT to complement today’s feature films and explore the most compelling real-life questions that movies inspire.

The first, “National Geographic Beyond The Movie: Peal Harbor,” was a success both as a world premiere on CNBC, the National Geographic Channel and on home video.

Exploring the fascinating parallels between real-life myths, legends and languages and those created by Tolkien and cinematically realized by director Peter Jackson, “National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings” will feature exclusive footage from The Fellowship of the Ring and special interviews with the cast and filmmakers.

Said the film’s executive producer and president of Fine Line Features, Mark Ordesky: “Our decision to work with National Geographic on this outstanding program stems from our deep commitment to providing our audiences with a set of resources and tools that allow them to come away from The Lord of the Rings with an unmatched depth of understanding and excitement.

“We are thrilled that the show will help audiences explore this story on many levels and to better understand the global cultural forces that forged both the literature and our epic adaptations.”

This exciting program will explore:

  • Who was J.R.R. Tolkien, and how did he create the amazing world of Middle-earth?
    Is the struggle between good and evil in The Lord of the Rings a reflection of the early 20th century?
  • How do the places, heroes and villains of Middle-earth reflect our own real places, myths and legends?
  • Are the languages spoken in Middle-earth based on real languages?
  • How does Frodo compare with great explorers from the past, and is a hero’s journey such as his still possible in our real world today?

Also featured is anthropologist Wade Davis, National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence, who travels to a remote corner of Finland to examine the local language and storytelling traditions that influenced Tolkien’s trilogy and inspired his creation of the language of elves.

A Ph.D. in ethnobotany whose work in Haiti led to his book The Serpent and the Rainbow (which became a hit film directed by Wes Craven), Davis has hosted and co-wrote “Earthguide,” a 13-part television series on the environment. He has written such television documentaries as “Spirit of the Mask,” “Cry of the Forgotten People” and “Forests Forever.”

“National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings” will be rounded out with interviews with Tolkien scholars, who discuss the worldwide influences at the time that Tolkien lived.

“When I created ‘National Geographic Beyond the Movie,’ I envisioned it as a way to link the world’s greatest storytellers to explore the most provocative real-life questions movies raise, whether or not the story is set in real life,” said Hagney in making the announcement.

“With its 100 years of experience helping people understand other cultures, National Geographic is uniquely suited to explore how the imaginary world depicted in the film reflects our own, how the stories came to be, and what they have meant and will mean to generations of people.”

National Geographic Television will continue to work with the Hollywood studios on “National Geographic Beyond The Movie” programs, focusing on those feature films in which the great resources of the National Geographic Society can further illuminate compelling stories based on historical, cultural or natural events.

“National Geographic Beyond the Movie” will also explore the real-life issues that inspire movies made by Los Angeles-based National Geographic Feature Films, beginning with the Cold War submarine thriller K-19: The Widowmaker.

K-19: The Widowmaker tells the action-filled true story of the maiden voyage of Russia’s first nuclear ballistic submarine, which suffered a nuclear reactor malfunction and almost brought the superpowers to the brink of war.

Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson star as rival officers on board the submarine. Kathryn Bigelow directs from a screenplay by Christopher Kyle, Louis Nowra and William Broyles, Jr. A Paramount Pictures and Intermedia Films presentation, the film is produced by Joni Sighvatsson, Christine Whitaker, Kathryn Bigelow and Edward S. Feldman. Harrison Ford, Guy East, Nigel Sinclair and Moritz Borman serve as executive producers. A National Geographic Feature Films, Palomar Pictures and First Light Productions production, K-19: The Widowmaker will be released by Paramount Pictures in the spring of 2002.

Building on its reputation for remarkable visual and compelling stories, National Geographic Television augments its award-winning documentary production (winner of 116 Emmys and more than 800 other industry awards) with feature films, large-format and long-form television drama programming, as well as international broadcast and video distribution.

At present, NGT’s programming can be seen in the United States on the National Geographic Channel, MSNBC and PBS as well as on home video and DVD, and internationally through video distribution and broadcast syndication in more than 100 different outlets in some 90 territories.

The National Geographic Channel in the United States is a business enterprise of National Geographic Television (NGT) and Fox Cable Networks Group. Abroad, those partners are joined by NBC, and the Channel reaches 133 countries and more than 100 million households in 21 languages.

Thanks to “Steerpike” for sending this in!


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