An extreme weather phenomenon strikes remote, inaccessible Katavi National Park in Southern Tanzania. The powerful local tribes of hippo, lion and crocodile struggle for survival while defending their turf from intruders. Only the oldest crocodile matriarch remembers 90 years ago when a similar event occurred… 

This allegorical tale offers a fascinating insight into how an animal society can be affected by a changing climate, and how this situation requires new strategies and changed behaviors from everyone to battle despair and to create hope for the future of their lineage…

This new documentary feature from the makers of THE LIONS RULE and THE BASTARD KING takes us into the unusual, secluded world of Katavi National Park in Southern Tanzania, capturing a once-in-a-lifetime event: during a very special year, a severe drought and flood due to a 90 year cyclic change in climate makes life increasingly difficult over the course of the seasons.

About the series:
Katavi flourishes in the normal rainy season. Babies are born and life is bountiful. But, the dry season develops into an extreme drought, until the last water holes dwindle into dark mud pools in which the residential hippos, lions and crocodiles are forced together, fighting for the last drop.

In stark contrast, the rainy season that follows the extended drought brings flooding to the region, creating havoc, cutting off members of the lion pride from each other, leaving them vulnerable.

The filmmakers lead the audience into an intimate drama that unfolds between these powerful clans over the most extreme year of our characters’ lives.

The main protagonists:

  • Lions: clad in a patchwork of mud, the notorious hippo hunters take on amphibious behaviour traits, entering the watery realm of crocodiles and hippos in order to survive.
  • Hippos: ferocious giants that amass in their hundreds, fighting for dominance with everyone over the smallest puddles.
  • Crocodiles: prehistoric hunters forced together in a hellish mass of claws and teeth, but who reveal a surprising sensitivity in their behaviour toward the other tribes.

This triad of power is disrupted when migratory species of birds and mammals – such as wild dogs, buffalo, and pelicans – suddenly invade from land and sky. How the different tribes deal with them will make the difference between life and death.
Breathlessly, we follow their increasingly entwined struggles to keep their families alive and together, and to hold out until the blessing of the eventual rainfall.

Finally, the rains bring respite but the continuous torrential downpours bring flooding to the region, creating havoc – cutting off members of the resident pride from each other and leaving them stranded and vulnerable. Will the triangular relationship return to normal as the waters subside or will the three tribes’ lives be entwined forever?

The filmmakers have captured a rare moment in time, creating a compelling and entertaining allegory for our modern world. Our colourful, wild characters are instantly captivating and immediately relatable to our audience – yet exhibiting behaviours never seen before. 

The narrative unfolds in an epic struggle, yet one with motives familiar to us all. Our characters’ plight to overcome lean and dark times is governed by the wisdom of generations. It ultimately weaves a message of tolerance, flexibility, and hope. A deeply resonant lesson we can all learn from, and one that has governed Katavi since time immemorial…