BBC Studios Natural History Unit teams up with James Reed

Known as the Director of "My Octopus Teacher," Reed will help develop the studio's existing slate of natural history feature documentaries.

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BBC Studios Natural History Unit recently signed a one-year development partnership with Underdog Films, and its founder, James Reed - director of the Oscar-winning documentary "My Octopus Teacher." “We are very excited to get into this with the NHU," James Reed, Managing Director, Underdog Films, said. "They’ve been at the forefront of natural history film-making for decades and their further growth in the feature doc market will be a fantastic development for the industry as a whole.”

The collaboration will further develop BBC Studios’ slate of natural history feature documentaries and further enhance the Natural History Unit’s creative process, with Reed joined by his creative partner at Underdog Films, Matt Houghton“I’m delighted to be embarking on a collaborative development partnership with James Reed and Matt Houghton, the outstanding creative talents of Underdog Films,"Jonny Keeling, Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, said.

Reed’s credits as a director include the multi-award-winning features "Jago - A Life Under Water" and "Rise of the Warrior Apes." “Character and emotional storytelling are at the heart of filmmaking both at the NHU and Underdog Films, so we look forward to developing a number of original, ambitious and compelling natural history features for audiences across the globe," Reed said. "I’m hugely excited to welcome James and Matt’s input and perspectives to the NHU’s creative development process and can’t wait to start working with them."

In 2021, Reed received further accolade as the director of "My Octopus Teacher," the story of a South African filmmaker who forges an unexpected friendship with an octopus, which became a huge critical and audience success on Netflix and went on to win the Best Documentary Feature Award at the 93rd Academy Awards.” "Collaboration and successful partnerships are a key part of Underdog Films’ approach to filmmaking and we’re delighted to be working with the talented storytellers of the NHU. The team has exciting, ambitious plans and we’re looking forward to contributing to stories that will be entertaining, enlightening and thought-provoking," Matt Houghton, Underdog Films, said.

We are very excited to get into this with the NHU. They’ve been at the forefront of natural history film-making for decades and their further growth in the feature doc market will be a fantastic development for the industry as a whole.” James Reed Managing Director, Underdog Films