Channel 4 and Renegade Pictures reveal the lives of one of the most extraordinary societies on earth, in a new three-part series. EXTREME TRIBE: THE LAST PYGMIES [3 x 60’] follows first-time presenter, Livia Simoka – a former anthropological film-maker - as she spends five months living with a Pygmy community living deep in the jungle in the Republic of the Congo.
The Pygmy tribe – called the Mbendjele – are almost entirely cut off from the outside world. Most of them lead their entire lives in the forest, born amongst the trees without access to hospitals, schools or any basic amenities, and finding the food they need from the plants and animals around them. After an extreme journey by plane, boat and finally a long trek through the rainforest, Livia arrives in a small clearing which is home to a village called Bonguinda, with around 250 Pygmy inhabitants. She is welcomed by a large, boisterous and friendly family, who treat her as an adopted daughter during her stay, and put her up on the floor of their mudhut. Over the months, they share their personal family dramas, show Livia their tribal traditions like female tooth sharpening, and teach her their unique ways of surviving in such a harsh environment. Livia also discovers threats to their village – both from hostile neighbours, and a planned new road right through it.
Livia Simoka said: “It was a life-changing experience to be welcomed into the Mbendjele’s tight-knit community, and I’m very honoured to be able to share their stories and dramas.”
EXTREME TRIBE: THE LAST PGYMIES was commissioned by Alf Lawrie, Head of Factual Entertainment at Channel 4. The Executive Producer for Renegade Pictures is Harry Lansdown, and the Producer / Directors are Tom Cross, Jonathan Stiasny, and Roeland Doust.
Alf Lawrie, Head of Factual Entertainment at Channel 4, said: “Livia is an exciting new voice in a traditionally male-dominated realm, and this series is by turns dramatic, moving and constantly surprising.”
Harry Lansdown, Executive Producer for Renegade Pictures: “Livia has been fascinated by the Mbendjele Pygmies for a number of years, and I’m delighted she is now revealing their unique lives to a wider audience.”