Amazon Adventure traces the extraordinary journey of 19th-century naturalist and explorer Henry Walter Bates—the most influential scientist you’ve never heard of—who provided “the beautiful proof” to Charles Darwin for his revolutionary theory of evolution by natural selection, the scientific explanation for the development of life on Earth. As a young man, Bates risked his life for science during his 11-year expedition into the Amazon rainforest. The film is a compelling detective story of peril, perseverance, and, ultimately, success, drawing audiences into his fascinating study of animal mimicry, the phenomenon in which one animal adopts the look of another.
Filmed on location, Amazon Adventure plunges audiences into a wild world of breathtaking beauty and captivating animals, including an array of nature’s masters of mimicry. Painstakingly researched for three years, the film enlisted the expertise of more than 100 scientists and historical advisers. The team’s commitment to authenticity not only resulted in this rigorous re-creation, even using actual instruments and tools from the 1850s, but the writing team also incorporated many of Bates’ own words, as he was a gifted storyteller.
Produced by SK Films (Flight of the Butterflies 3D), the film is directed by Mike Slee and is executive produced by Jonathan Barker and Sean B. Carroll, starring Calum Finlay as Henry Bates, written by Wendy MacKeigan and Carl Knutson and shot by cinematographers Gerry Vasbenter and Richard Kirby, with an original score by Brazilian composer Antonio Pinto. The makers of the film, a co-production between Canada, the U.K., and Brazil, were granted unprecedented access by the Natural History Museum of London to film Bates’ own scientific field notebooks and botanical drawings, and to film the butterflies he personally collected over 160 years ago—butterflies that had never left the museum.
Screening through September 13, 2018, Amazon Adventure will be shown daily in the Museum’s Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater, in 2D at 11:30 am and 4:30 pm, and in 3D at 10:30 am and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 pm. Times are subject to change. To purchase tickets in advance, the public should call 212-769-5200 or visit amnh.org. A service charge may apply.
Developed in close collaboration with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, Amazon Adventure also received major funding from the National Science Foundation through the film’s educational outreach partner, Pacific Science Center. Other key partners include the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and Foxconn Brazil and Vale.