Nat Geo Documentary Films debuted Wild Life earlier this year at SXSW, followed by appearances at Telluride Film Festival and Copenhagen International Documentary Festival. But the in-home premiere was cause for another celebration, with a big Hollywood premiere ahead of the National Geographic broadcast on May 25th at 9/8c and streaming on Disney+ and Hulu beginning May 26th. We were lucky enough to have a spot on the Nat Geo Yellow Carpet for the premiere, where we got to talk with the filmmakers and documentary subject, Kris Tompkins.
As the former CEO of Patagonia, Inc., Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has always cared about nature. That’s why it was so fitting when she met the other love of her life, The North Face founder Douglas Tompkins. They spent their life and fortune fighting to protect 14.8 million acres of land in Chile and Argentina and after Doug’s passing in 2015, Kris was left with an unfulfilled dream to carry forward without her partner. Wild Life chronicles that journey and Kris shared her reaction to the first screening at SXSW.
Wild Life comes from another loving couple, Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi, the Academy Award-winning directors of Free Solo. Like that film, this one was a deeply personal journey for Jimmy, who grew up idolizing Douglas Tompkins and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. In the film, Jimmy helps Kris reach a peak in one of the parks she and Doug helped protect, and a poignant one at that. Doug named it after his wife, and the film chronicles her first time to the top in addition to the journey to gift this protected land to the government.
Editor and producer Bob Eisenhardt shared the challenge of blending archival footage to tell Doug and Kris’ story, on top of balancing two converging narratives: Kris’ climb and the legal tape work to make fulfill the dream she shared with her late husband.
With such an inspiring message in the film, viewers will be left wishing there was more they could do to help reverse the environment’s rapid decline. Jimmy Chin’s recommendation was to visit patagonia.com/actionworks, an online resource that connects motivated individuals with local efforts to help save the planet.
Don’t miss Wild Life airing Thursday, May 25th at 9/8c on Nat Geo. The film will be available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu beginning Friday, May 26th.