After weeks of digging through old files, clips, interviews, and oh so much B-roll of great apes, we have just released our new pre-trailer for the Before They’re Gone film. And before I type another word – huge thanks to my co-creator Tracy MacDonald and editor Matt Zadrow for their endless hours – great work!
We’re only a couple weeks out from starting work in Borneo and already I feel like I have been filming there for months, a couple years actually. I have been reviewing everything created on my last trips — like cramming for a final exam — I want every image in my head before starting to film once again. My last trip to Ketapang and Karmele’s orangutan sanctuary was in late 2015, fires were ravaging the region, and orphans pouring in. The work then became the inspiration for wanting to tell Karmele Llaño Sanchez’s story. Like a handful of women across the great ape world, everyday I watched her deal with the crisis at her doorstep, the more I was in awe of this slight Spanish transplant. The more I watched, the more she reflected those other extraordinary women I had briefly come to know: Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey.
The pre-trailer (Watch it here) begins to hint at the story we are trying to tell, and why it needs to be told now. But since little about it was filmed with Before They’re Gone initially in mind, there is so much more work to be created. For that Tracy and I are off to Borneo, to begin, before both the apes and these remarkable women are gone.
— Gerry Ellis