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WildFilmHistory » Home » Films » They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Mzima: Portrait of a Spring

They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Mzima: Portrait of a Spring  (1999)

First encounter with crocodiles

In front of an audience at the Royal Geographical Society, David Attenborough engages in a frank and highly entertaining discussion with the legendary filmmaker Alan Root. World-renowned for both his innovative filming techniques and incredible risk taking, Alan explains what led him to enter crocodile infested waters to film hippos, one of the most potentially dangerous mammals in Africa.

The opening episode of a series celebrating pioneering natural history documentaries, They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Mzima: Portrait of a Spring explores the making of this epic production.

Including revelatory underwater footage of hippos, Mzima: Portrait of a Spring was Alan's first film in his own right and, on its release, received international acclaim. Capturing a wealth of bird, mammal and reptile life, it is an intriguing portrayal of a varied ecosystem, with stunning cinematography from Alan and his wife Joan revealing the incredible interdependence of creatures at this important oasis.

After an amusing account of his numerous close-calls, Alan's award-winning production is screened again in entirety. Offering an intriguing view into the work of one of the world's foremost wildlife filmmakers, They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Mzima: Portrait of a Spring provides a lively start to this seven part, behind-the-scenes series.

Copyright holder

Copyright Holder: Alan Root
Address: P.O. Box 43747
Nairobi 00100
Kenya
Telephone: +254 20 606 222
Email: silverback@swiftkenya.com
Copyright Holder: BBC - Natural History Unit
Address: c/o BBC Motion Gallery
Room E251
Woodlands
80 Wood Lane
London
W12 0TT
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8433 2861 / 2
Email: motiongallery.uk@bbc.co.uk
Website: http://www.bbcmotiongallery.com

Film credits

Commentary: Anthony Smith
Editor: Fiona Pitcher
Film Editor: Robin Hellier
Interviewee: Alan Root
Photography: Alan Root
Presenter: David Attenborough
Presenter: Suzanne Gibbs
Producer: Martyn Suker
Sound Mixer: Ann Goodliffe

Related links

Mzima: Portrait of a Spring  (1969)
They Said It Couldn't Be Done: In-Flight Movie (1999)
They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Kingdom of the Ice Bear: The Frozen Ocean (1999)
They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Too Close For Comfort  (1999)
David Attenborough
Alan Root
Joan Root
Clips
Swimming with the most dangerous animals in Africa
Swimming with the most dangerous animals...
Hippo attack
Hippo attack
A legendary wildlife filmmaker
A legendary wildlife filmmaker
First encounter with crocodiles
First encounter with crocodiles