The Bonobo Connection
(32 min) Congo/USA
[watch trailer]
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Sunday 10/20, 4:15 PM (Session 12)

Director/Producer: Irene Magafan


Most people have never heard of a bonobo and don't know they exist. Aside from chimpanzees, they are the closest blood relatives to humans, and in the wild they can only be found in one country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Central Africa. Bonobos were the last of the great apes to be discovered but could be the first to go extinct due to the dangers they are facing in the wild: deforestation, predation for bush meat, and their position in the middle of a war zone caused by country's political instability. These amazing apes have a unique gift of peace and cooperation. Understanding this powerful yet peace-loving species is to reflect on our own origin and gain insight into how we communicate with one another. If we begin to grasp the bonobo culture, humans can learn how to live more peaceful lives. Bonobos have a story that needs to be told. We must protect these incredible yet vulnerable apes before it is too late. Our hope is that this film inspires the world's involvement a call to action to save one of our closest relatives. The film is narrated by Ashly Judd.


Irene A. Magafan is a graduate film student at American University in the School of Communication receiving her MFA in film and electronic Media with a concentration in wildlife and environmental documentary filmmaking. Throughout her graduate education, Irene worked on several documentaries: Hands on the Future, Ocean Iron Fertilization, Eco Views: The Chesapeake Bay. Irene currently works as a Series Producer for RHED Pixel, a visual communications company in Falls Church, Virginia. She has interned at National Geographic Television and volunteers for the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Irene is a member of TIVA-DC (Television, Internet & Video Association of DC), Women in Film & Video DC chapter, The Producer's Handy Dandy Voice Over CD, VO Professionals, an online voiceover database, American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, and SAG. Irene has worked on various films such as Hannibal, Traffic, Salt, The Wedding Crashers, Evan Almighty, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, HBO's The Sopranos and The Wire, and most recently an HBO pilot produced by Sarah Jessica Parker called Washingtonienne. Magafan is a freelance artist both in producing social and nature documentaries, an actor and voice over artist.

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