ZDF Studios to launch Gruppe 5's "Tepui - Into The House Of Gods" documentary

It´s a new documentary taking viewers on a journey to a forgotten world isolated for millions of years - the tabletop mountains in southern Venezuela. Its sales will start at the upcoming MIPTV.

3 APR 2024

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The German company ZDF Studios announced the launch of the Gruppe 5 documentary "Tepui - Into the house of gods'". Its completion and sales will start at the upcoming MIPTV. After several years of preparation, exciting scientific findings will be revealed in this production. The documentary (1 x 50’) is taking viewers on a journey to a forgotten world isolated for millions of years - the tabletop mountains in southern Venezuela.The one-parter is produced by Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion, a ZDF Studios subsidiary, for ZDF’s renowned Terra X-slot in association with the French network ARTE and ZDF Studios who will also handle global sales.

The ‘Tepuis’, which means ‘House of Gods’, are revered by the indigenous people in southern Venezuela. Scientists see them as ‘islands of time’, and an international and interdisciplinary research team, including a geologist, microbiologist, bioacoustician, and a biologist, set out on a dangerous expedition to investigate life on one of the most remote and largest mountains. The team explores whether the primaeval microbes that built elaborate rock foundations in an extensive cave system could be used for medical purposes. Can the bacteria produce substances that would assist in developing new types of antibiotics and thereby saving millions of lives? 

They discover a carnivorous aquatic cicada believed to be a new mutation of a similar species that inhabit the surface of the Tepuis but only feed on plants. Another important find is proof that the peculiar guácharo birds, which nest in caves in large parts of South America, have developed completely new behaviours on the Tepui: they build their nests on the ground instead of on higher cave ledges. The diversity of plants and animals are also documented as the researchers consider how the country could promote nature conservation.

Nikolas Huelbusch, Director Unscripted, ZDF Studios praised the scientific work: ”Our affiliate, Gruppe 5, has done an exceptional job in capturing the uniqueness of the Tepuis. Not only do we get a rare opportunity to see the beauty of these mountains, but the documentary also makes new discoveries including one that may hold the key to tackling a global problem," highlighted.