Life Among Monkeys, A
1 x 60'
For the first time, this film tells the extraordinary story of Dr Wolfgang Dittus, a young Smithsonian scientist who in 1968 went to study Toque macaques in Sri Lanka for 18 months. Little did he know, he had embarked upon a journey that would last a lifetime – the character, charm and audacity of these monkeys captivated him. Over 50 years he’s charted the lives of over 5,000 individual monkeys – mapping their births, deaths, their relationships, changes in rank and shifting allegiances. It's the longest continuous monkey study in the world.
The parallel narratives of his personal journey and his remarkable journey with the macaques interweave throughout the film as a compelling story of exploration, scientific revelation and real life drama.
The study site is the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa, a picture-perfect cinematic setting. The World Heritage status means that it is has become an island of forest surrounded by urbanisation – a recent change Wolfgang has had to contend with.
But he’s also inspired and trained generations of Sri Lankan wildlife scientists who will spread the message of conservation throughout this remarkably rich and diverse country. And he’s helped the world fall in love with these scrappy, cheeky macaques.
A co-production of Terra Mater Factual Studios and Smithsonian Networks produced by Keo West Ltd.