“Rise of the Warrior Apes,” by award-winning director James Reed, has won Best Animal Behavior Film in the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. John C. Mitani, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and featured researcher in the film, began studying a troop of chimpanzees in Ngogo, Uganda in 1995. Up against tough competition, including two Planet Earth 2 films, Rise of the Warrior Apes came out on top to secure the Best Animal Behavior category award. 

“Rise of the Warrior Apes” tells the story of four chimpanzees and their experiences in the Ngogo troop through the research and experience of several anthropologists including Mitani. While the Ngogo Chimps have been filmed several times, Mitani felt this experience was different. 

“There’s always a tension between filmmakers and scientists when the former tries to make films about the latter. Interests collide. Filmmakers want to make films that sell and appeal to the masses. Scientists want to tell their stories and adhere to the science, which may not always be thrilling to your average person,” said Mitani. “James [Reed] worked hard on this film. He read everything that we had published about the Ngogo chimps. This isn’t always done. He knew the chimps. And he had the best interests of the chimps at heart, first and foremost. At the end of the
day, he wanted to tell an accurate scientific story as much as possible. To make that happen he shared everything with us as he put things together. He listened to us and made changes where he could.  This doesn’t always happen when doing these things.”


View all the awards here.

View the film trailer here.