The wild, mountainous peaks of Tibet – a frigid, gorgeous, otherworldly landscape – are inhabited by antelope, soaring falcons, herds of yak, lumbering bears, and the diminutive but forbidding Pallas’ cat. But for world-renowned French wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and his intrepid companion, novelist/geographer Sylvain Tesson, the Holy Grail is the majestic, elusive snow leopard. Their adventurous sleuthing (making themselves as inconspicuous as possible) is punctuated by intimate conversations about the existential nature of their quest, and beautifully filmed against awe-inspiring views of the Himalayan mountains, with remarkable images of the wild animals they spy from a distance. Winner of the César Award for Best Documentary in 2022.
Franco-Swiss director Marie Amiguet trained as a biologist before obtaining a Master’s Degree in wildlife filmmaking. She was the cinematographer on Jean-Michel Bertrand’s The Valley of the Wolves(2016), and previously collaborated with Munier on Silence of the Beasts(2018), his film against lynx poaching. The Velvet Queen is her feature film directorial debut. Vincent Munier is one of the world's leading fine art wildlife photographers in the world today. With many beautiful art books to his name, and with limited edition prints that sell in the leading art galleries worldwide, Vincent is a true outdoorsman who is never happier than when he is out in nature, with the animals he loves so much.
This screening is part of Being in the World: People and the Planet in French and Francophone Cinema, a film festival curated and presented by Columbia Maison Française, with additional support provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Columbia Climate School, Knapp Family Foundation, Paul LeClerc Centennial Fund, Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Alliance Program, and European Institute.
This film is also presented as part of Films on the Green 2022. Films on the Green is a free outdoor French film festival produced annually in New York City parks by Villa Albertine, the French Embassy, FACE Foundation, and NYC Parks.