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‘Tepui – Into the House of Gods,’ Exploring the Mountains of Venezuela, to Be Launched at MipTV by ZDF Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

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ZDF Studios is set to launch sales on documentary “Tepui – Into the House of Gods” at MipTV. The 50-minute film will “take viewers on a journey to a forgotten world isolated for millions of years – the tabletop mountains in southern Venezuela,” the distributor said.

The one-parter is produced by Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion for German broadcaster ZDF’s Terra X slot, in association with Arte and ZDF Studios. It is directed by Lars Abromeit and Jochen Schmoll, who also serves as cinematographer.

The word Tepui means “House of Gods,” and the mountains are revered by the indigenous people in southern Venezuela. Scientists see them as “islands of time,” and an international and interdisciplinary research team, including a geologist, microbiologist, bioacoustician and a biologist, set out on a dangerous expedition to investigate life on one of the most remote and largest mountains.

The team explores whether the primeval microbes that built elaborate rock formations in an extensive cave system could be used for medical purposes. Can the bacteria produce substances that would assist in developing new types of antibiotics and thereby saving millions of lives?

“Tepui – Into the House of Gods”
Courtesy of Robbie Shone

The explorers discover a carnivorous aquatic cicada believed to be a mutation of a similar species that inhabits the surface of the Tepuis but only feed on plants. Another important find is proof that the peculiar guácharo birds, which nest in caves in large parts of South America, have developed completely new behaviors on the Tepuis: they build their nests on the ground instead of on higher cave ledges. The diversity of plants and animals are also documented as the researchers consider how the country could promote nature conservation.

Nikolas Huelbusch, director of unscripted at ZDF Studios, said: “Our affiliate Gruppe 5 has done an exceptional job in capturing the uniqueness of the Tepuis. Not only do we get a rare opportunity to see the beauty of these mountains, but the documentary also makes new discoveries including one that may hold the key to tackling a global problem.”

“Tepui – Into the House of Gods”
Courtesy of Robbie Shone