Among the Great Apes

with Michelle Yeoh
a.k.a. Orangutan Rescue

Premiere Date:  December 9, 2009
Language:  English
Production Companies:  Novista Sdn Bhd for FINAS and National Geographic Channel
Producers:  Lina Teoh, Lara Ariffin, Sabrina Chen-Louie
Directors:  Harun Rahman, Lara Ariffin
Writer:  Kathryn Pasternak
Photography:  Brad Dillon, Cede Prudente
Editor:  Daniel Sheire
Sound Recording:  Jonathan Tan
Original Score:  Farul Farid
Production Manager:  Effa Desa
Category:  Documentary
Countries/Regions:  Malaysia
Filming Location:  Sepilok, Sabah, Malaysia
Running Time:  50 minutes
Featuring:  Michelle Yeoh

Best Natural History or Wildlife Programme or Docu-drama, Asian Television Awards 2010
Best Environmental/Tourism Documentary, Malaysian Documentary Awards 2010

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Watch the Documentary: (in English)
part 1   (12:24)
part 2   (11:37)
part 3   (13:19)
part 4   (13:17)

Join renowned Malaysian superstar Michelle Yeoh on a very personal journey back home to Malaysia and into the world of the orangutan. Orang-utans - whose name means 'persons of the forest' are among the planet's most endangered primates, and they are the only great ape found in Asia.

Once ranging from China to Java, orangutans now survive only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They could be extinct in less than 50 years if nothing is done to protect them and the forest they depend on. Due to poaching and illegal logging, orangutans have lost their natural habitat and forced into smaller areas, making it difficult for them to sustain long-term population and biodiversity.

Filmed in high definition, the program takes Michelle to Sabah on the island of Borneo where she finds out what's being done to protect orangutans and meets many people - from local Malaysians to international conservationists who, devote their lives to the battle to save orangutans from extinction.   -- from Men's Health Malaysia

About the Documentary: 
Filmed in high-definition, the documentary Among the Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh was made by National Geographic in partnership with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) under the Malaysia To The World 2 initiative. It tells a moving story about the first encounter of Michelle and her adopted baby orangutan, Sen, at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, in its long-standing efforts of rehabilitating orangutan orphans back into the wild.

In June 2009, Michelle joined the film crew and workers at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre for three weeks. She was doing everything from feeding and caring for orangutans, to rescuing an orphaned orangutan, to trekking through the forests to collect seeds.

"During filming, we saw two orangutans making their journey back into the wild. As the apes went up the trees I can see the emotions in their faces. It was touching, and at the same time you felt a sense of pride." Michelle is hopeful that the documentary will allow viewers to see the beauty of orangutans in the wild. "We need to protect these wonders. If we don't, orangutans will go extinct."

Among the Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh premiered on the National Geographic Channel (Astro Channel 553) in Malaysia, December 9th, 2009.

Official sites: 
NGC Asia: Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh
NGC UK: Orangutan Rescue
NGC France: En compagnie des grands singes avec Michelle Yeoh
NGC Japan: Among The Great Apes With Michelle Yeoh
NGC Hong Kong: Among The Great Apes With Michelle Yeoh


last photo: press screening of the documentary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dec. 7, 2009

last photo: Michelle with the film crew and Kopel - MESCOT at the tree climbing site
(click on photos with borders to enlarge)

Articles & Links: 
Sun: Yeoh's jungle man friends
The Star: Datuk Michelle Yeoh does her bit to help protect the endangered orang utan
Sun: Yeoh's jungle man friends
NST: Michelle's wild about orangutans
Voize: Datuk Michelle Yeoh takes on apes
( page created: 01/11/10,   last modified: 09/06/12 )