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Film Synopsis

Narrated masterfully by Jeremy Irons, the documentary is a saga of survival in a pitiless environment. After rival members of her tribe kill her mate, a resilient lioness named Ma di Tau escapes with her three cubs from hostile territory in Botswana’s Okavango wetlands. Facing death and danger every step of the way, Ma di Tau finds refuge on a marshy island separated from the mainland by river systems. The island is also sanctuary for a herd of massive wild buffalo — a species which is a potential food source for Ma di Tau and her cubs, but also notoriously aggressive.

Director’s Biography


Botswana director Dereck Joubert and his wife Beverly have dedicated over 25 years of their lives to the research, exploration and filming of African wildlife. Their award-winning films and personal lives share one cause: the preservation and understanding of large predators and other wildlife species in this continent.


For the past four years, they have been members of National Geographic’s Explorers-in-Residence Program. They have produced over 20 films, 10 books, six papers, and many articles for National Geographic. This work, always featuring large predators, has won them an outstanding five Emmys, the World Ecology Award and a Peabody award. They have also recently been added to the list of American Academy of Achievement members.


Their films have allowed them to spread the urgent message of the need for preservation efforts in Africa. And their message has been heard by many. It is calculated that 1 billion viewers have seen “Eternal Enemies”.


The main focus of their attention at present continues to be large cats. They are once again working with National Geographic on a venture called Big Cats Initiative. This project seeks to raise funds that will allow the adoption of urgent measures aimed at preserving lions, one of the species with the most alarming reduction rates in the past decades.

“We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats. They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.” says Dereck.


Aside from her achievements in film, Beverly also has a passion for photography, and her work in this area has also been featured in National Geographic magazine. In addition to this work in film and photography, the Jouberts founded an ecotourism company, Great Plains. This venture too has been acclaimed for its efforts in promoting responsible tourism in London and South Africa.


This year, the land their work has favorably impacted grew to approximately 1.5 million acres, thanks to their expansion into Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. Their goal goes beyond rehabilitation of existing damage. Ultimately, the aim is to return recovered land back to nature. However, their decades of experience in environmental conservation has led them to understand that preservation is not a universal concept. While some isolated areas in nature can be preserved solely by remaining isolated from the influence of man, others will depend on the gentle influence of man to survive.




Director: Dereck Joubert
Screenwriter: Dereck Joubert
Editor: Susan Scott