07 April

Leading independent distributor Hat Trick International has brought leading global streamer HBO Max on board the powerful yet heart-warming documentary Lucy the Human Chimp (1 x 90) produced by KEO Films for Channel 4.

The deal was brokered by Jonathan South, Senior Sales Executive at HTI, which finalised funding on the big budget feature doc which is due for release this Spring.

Lucy the Human Chimp recounts the fascinating story of a chimpanzee raised as a human, and the woman who took on the near impossible task of helping to give her freedom by living with her in the wild. Their powerful emotional bond is a fascinating study of what unites and also divides humans from apes.

In 1960s America, Lucy was raised as a human in a radical experiment. From two days old she lived in the family home of a psychology professor from the University of Oklahoma. By age 11 Lucys physical strength made it impossible for her to be kept by her human family, so they made a plan for a young student, Janis Carter, to take her to Africa to teach her to be a wild chimp.

Janis was only to stay for a couple of weeks, but with Lucy struggling to adapt, and the bond between them growing ever stronger, Janis stayed with Lucy in the wild for more than 6 years. This is the story of their unbreakable cross-species friendship and survival against all odds.

Taking us back to a very different time in terms of our attitudes to animals, Lucy the Human Chimp has a powerful message for today.

Directed by Alex Parkinson the film uses previously unseen archive film and photographs as well as dramatic reconstruction. Computer generated virtual sets were used to bring to life locations in The Gambia and USA. This technological solution allowed filming to continue despite travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

Sarah Tong, Director of Sales at Hat Trick International, comments, This is a fascinating and emotional insight into a shocking social experiment. Janis has waited 40 years to tell her story and we are delighted to have secured the involvement of HBO Max, which will ensure this unique event can finally be shared throughout the world.