Ondi Timoner calls it “The most challenging project I’ve ever worked on.” This from a woman who began her documentary feature career by spending months filming Brian Jonestown Massacre front man Anton Newcombe, and living to tell the tale in her debut feature documentary, the instant classic Dig!. A woman who’s made a living documenting mad geniuses, and won Sundance twice along the way. That’s how big a deal Timoner’s new series Jungletown is. It premieres March 28th at 10pm.
The series follows the adventures (and misadventures) of a group of people, led by entrepreneur Jimmy Stice, who have come together in an obscure, remote corner of the jungle in Panama - part of the path there is literally called Suicide Hill - to attempt possibly the world’s most dramatic experiment ever in sustainable living. ““People were tired of the wired world,” explains Timoner. “They were tired of consumerism. Especially, they were overwhelmed by climate change.” And so they created Kalu Yala, “the world’s most sustainable town.”
The 10 part series is culled from well over 1500 hours of footage that Timoner and her team shot over four months on location there. “All the elements of story - man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. nature - they’re all present,” says Timoner. “People think they can kind of shed their problems by going there, but actually their problems are amplified. So it’s a perfect place to shoot a television series, obviously, but it’s also an authentic documentary. We shot over 1500 hours of footage between early September and Thanksgiving.”
Listen to our exclusive interview with Timoner at the link above, and be sure to tune in on Tuesday March 28th at 10pm to Viceland for the world premiere of Jungletown.