With Toronto International Film Festival underway, we’re starting to see studios scoop up potential awards players. Not every studio is necessarily pushing for Oscars, but when quality and marketability meet, bids go up quickly. That is what made the TIFF documentary, “The Elephant Queen” an interesting play for the festival. The film was originally selected for the TIFF Documentary section, but also was selected to screen in the TIFF Kids programme. This gave the film an extra edge that has become rare in the genre. TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers compared it favorably to “The March of the Penguins,” the Oscar-winning documentary from 2005. Now, Apple has chosen to scoop up the feature.
According to Deadline, the trillion-dollar tech giant chose to pick up the film. While Apple may be new to the content acquisition market, this should not surprise the industry. Whispers continue to circulate about the future content provider, who could serve as a real check to Netflix and Disney. With the sheer size of Apple and the commonplace nature of their tech, it may be able to quickly break through. Picking up a film like “The Elephant Queen” will draw eyes to any platform quickly.
“The Elephant Queen” comes from Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble, directors of the Emmy-winning documentary “Haunt of the Hippo” in 2000. Stone and Deeble followed a family of elephants for four years in the badlands of Africa. A drought forces the matriarch of the group, Athena, to make a choice to move the herd or risk starvation. However, the young elephants in the group may not be strong enough to make the journey. The documentary is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and could quickly shake up the Oscar race. Now we will see if Apple wants to jump into the Oscars or wait until 2019.