National Geographic Docuseries “Queens” Explores Females in the Animal Kingdom

Females are strong, and that’s especially true in the wild. National Geographic has announced a new venture that will take audiences into the natural world to explore the lives of females in the animal kingdom. The docuseries, titled Queens, is lead by an all-woman team and focuses completely on these amazing female creatures.

Photo via Variety

Photo via Variety

What’s happening:

  • Never before has a women-led production team set out to capture the wondrous beauty of the natural world, and never before has natural history storytelling focused solely on matriarchal societies… until now.
  • National Geographic announces Queens, an epic, six-part natural history docuseries that follows six powerful sisterhoods within the animal kingdom where females rule.
  • The all-women visionaries behind the series draw on their female intuitions to shine a fresh light on the natural world, revealing unique feminine behaviors in six distinct animal communities:
    • Hyenas
    • Elephants
    • Ring-tailed lemurs
    • Insects
    • Primates
    • Orcas
  • Queens, which began production this spring will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages, is a mammoth undertaking; crews are estimated to spend at least 300 days filming each of the six episodes in order to paint intimate portraits of each queen and the sisterhood she leads.

What they’re saying:

  • Vanessa Berlowitz, series executive producer, Wildstar Films: “Queens is a wild departure from anything you’ve ever experienced with natural history storytelling. We’re accustomed to a narrative where the male animal voice often outshines that of the misperceived ‘gentler’ sex. In Queens, females drive the story: the most accomplished women in the industry get behind the camera to turn things on their heads, revealing surprising insights into how females rise to power, often relying on cooperation and wisdom over brute strength to get ahead.”
  • Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president of development and production, National Geographic: “With Queens, National Geographic challenges a historical bias in wildlife storytelling that favors masculine societies. The assembly of first-ever women-led production team will bring a new perspective to telling these intimate narratives. Scientifically, women score higher for emotional and social intelligence, so it will be fascinating to see how the team will read relationships to underscore the nuances of how female-bonded societies operate.”
  • Queens Cinematographer, Sophie Darlington: “This series is full of possibilities and will offer a contemporary perspective on nature with the ambition to build industry legacy through diversity, collaboration and inclusiveness. It’s so exciting to create a project with such a talented team; we share a strong commitment to the environment and believe that engaging women is key to saving the planet.”

About the series:

  • Each episode devotes itself to discovering just why the title of queen is so coveted and tenuous.
  • While getting to the top signifies power, holding rank is far from easy.
  • Every day brings challenges – and challengers – to a queen’s rule. How she remains dominant depends on individual personality, loyalty, cooperation, politics, strength and fate.
  • Despite major behavioral differences among each society – for example, bees, wasps and ants are slaves to a single dictatorial queen, while elephants choose the oldest and wisest of their matriarch – there’s at least one thing that each queen has in common: family comes first.
  • In Queens, nothing outmatches the powerful bonds of sisterhood.

Creative team:

  • Queens is produced by Wildstar Films for National Geographic
  • Executive producer:
    • Vanessa Berlowitz  
  • Cinematographers:
    • Sophie Darlington (Our Planet, Dynasties, Disneynature’s Penguins)
    • Justine Evans (Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Life)