ZDF Studios to distribute the award-winning biodiversity documentary Colonies in Conflict from filmmaker Rajani Mani

Mainz, April 17th, 2023

ZDF Studios has secured the global distribution rights (ex India) for Colonies in Conflict (1 x 74’), a feature length documentary that examines, for the first time, the state of wild bees in a fast-developing Indian landscape. Last year the film was a finalist at Jackson Wild Media Awards and won the Best Independent Production Award at Rotterdam’s Wildlife Film Festival, among others

Colonies in Conflict is directed and written by Rajani Mani (Miles to Go, In God’s Own Country, Food? Health? Hope?), an award-winning filmmaker and environmental change-maker who co-founded Elephant Corridor Films as a collective space for meaningful and fearless narratives on human activities and the natural world. Her documentaries have been screened and awarded at prestigious events such as CMS Vatavaran Environment and Wildlife International Films Festival, The One World International Film Festival and The Planet in Focus Film Festival and others. The study of Apis dorsata (Rockbees, giant Asian honeybees), their importance to our environment and their decline was born from observations in Mani’s own backyard. 

Honeybees, as prolific pollinators, are a keystone species that props up the ecological arc on which the survival of several species, including humans, depend. Human action is causing pollinator declines all over the world spelling disaster to nutritional security and the biodiversity of our ecosystems. Mani gives a first-person account of how expanding cities are wiping out native bee populations. She discovers that we have very little time to reverse the catastrophe we started, but every species stopped from extinction would help hedge our bets in an uncertain future.

Filmed over two years and featuring experts from the worlds of science, biology and taxonomy, Colonies in Conflict’s compelling message is one of hope. We can still save our pollinators by protecting and conserving their habitat, providing licences and training to beehive removers that operate in cities and, as individuals, by nurturing wild spaces and learning to live in harmony with nature. 

Rajani Mani, Producer, Elephant Corridor Films said: “This project took root during the pandemic. It was a rare opportunity to slow down and take in your surroundings and that’s when I became fascinated by this amazing species. My research, highlighting that the number of beehives in my own community had reduced to less than a quarter within seven years, made me realise that this is a local story with global consequences. We all have an obligation to do whatever we can to protect the environment and I sincerely hope the film makes people aware how fragile our ecosystem is and that everything we do to nature, good or bad, has an impact.”

Nikolas Huelbusch, Director Unscripted, ZDF Studios said: “Rajani and her team have produced a powerful, enlightening documentary, one that we are very proud to represent.

The story of the unique Rockbees, never captured on film before, and their fight for survival is one that audiences everywhere will find engaging and relatable.”


About Elephant Corridor Films LLP

Elephant Corridor Films LLP. is a video production company based in Bengaluru, India, founded in 2002 by Rajani Mani and Nina Subramani, both alumni of MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia.

The company specializes in producing documentaries that cover social and environmental issues, often dealing with topics, such as ecosystem conservation, sustainable food systems, indigenous knowledge, and climate change. They believe that their films serve as a tool for social action and can shift focus and reshape lives.

Elephant Corridor Films latest production COLONIES IN CONFLICT, a documentary about India's declining wild bee population, directed by Rajani Mani was a finalist at JACKSON WILD Media Awards 2022 and won the Best Independent Production Award at WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL ROTTERDAM 2022, SILVER ELEPHANT (Best Feature Documentary) RINFF 2023, BEST FILM (Jury) Nature in Focus 2022.

The company's focus on producing documentaries that tackle relevant issues for the planet has garnered them accolades and recognition not just in India, but also internationally. With a strong team of professionals and a passion for telling compelling stories, Elephant Corridor Films is committed to producing impactful documentaries that inspire change.


About ZDF Studios

ZDF Studios is a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest TV broadcasters in Europe. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the ZDF Studios Group operates more than 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spanning TV production, distribution and services. The parent company, ZDF Studios, is responsible for global programme distribution, realisation of international co-productions, acquisition of licences and merchandising of successful programme brands under its own name, for ZDF and third parties. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme inventory in the world and a constantly growing range of international productions, consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children's programmes.

The companies of the ZDF Studios Group cover the entire value chain from the development of scripted and unscripted TV content to production, marketing and monetizing, including TV and streaming licences as well as merchandising and online rights. The positioning of ZDF Studios as an integrated media company enables the development of innovative, outstanding and high-quality programmes and makes the Group an attractive workplace for German and international talent to flourish in a very inspiring and creative environment.

Contact ZDF Studios
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, 55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, Email: christine.denilauler@zdf-studios.comwww.zdf-studios.com