Follow the Rain: Australian fungi doc goes global

World famous fungi hunters Stephen Axford and Catherine Marciniak team up with Escapade Media.

The global rights to Australian nature documentary Follow the Rain – ‘a magical dive into the mysterious realm of fungi’ – have been acquired by distributor Escapade Media, and will be shopped at Mipcom 24, the global market for entertainment content, in Cannes in October.

Follow the Rain is the new feature-length documentary by Stephen Axford and Catherine Marciniak, who are partners in work and life and run the pioneering boutique natural history production company, Planet Fungi.

In Follow the Rain, Axford and Marciniak take audiences into ‘Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes’ during one of the wettest years Australia has ever seen. Acting as guides, the world famous fungi hunters ‘unveil the eerie allure of zombie fungi and the ethereal charm of the Australian ghost fungus’.

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As per the production statement: ‘Prepare to be initiated into groundbreaking fungal science that stretches the boundaries of our imagination. [Axford and Marciniak] also grant us exclusive access to their fungarium, sharing their discoveries as they capture the dance of mushrooms and mycelium in captivating time-lapses. Their quest? To find out how fungi fit into the world of living things and how they are protecting us humans against the impact of climate change.’

Stephen Axford is internationally renowned for his fungi photography and time-lapse videography and has had his work featured in blue-chip nature documentaries including Planet Earth 2, Fantastic Fungi, The Kingdom – How Fungi Made the World, and the IMAX documentary FUNGI: Web of Life.

Catherine Marciniak is an award-winning documentary cinematographer and director, and two-time finalist in the Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism. Prior to her obsession with fungi, she worked as a Senior Features Reporter for the ABC, among other many other ABC roles. Her credits include A Himalayan Vision, Steel City, Who Do You Think You Are?, The Life Series, Steel City, Grey Voyagers, Hospital-an unhealthy business, Dino Stampede, Babe in the Reeds and Beyond the Royal Veil.

>Stephen Axford and Catherine Marciniak. Photo: Peter Derrett.

On partnering with Escapade Media to launch Follow the Rain worldwide, Marciniak said: ‘We are thrilled to collaborate with Natalie Lawley and Escapade Media in launching our documentary globally. A decade in the making, it’s a labour of love that finds a perfect advocate in Escapade, renowned for championing authentic narratives about our natural world.’

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Natalie Lawley, Escapade Media’s Managing Director, said: ‘Catherine and Stephen’s film is exquisite and includes some of the most incredible natural history footage, I have ever seen. The interest in Fungi is worldwide and growing every day. We are looking forward to launching this very special documentary at Mipcom 24.’

Partly funded by non-profit organisation Documentary Australia, and by crowdfunding, the film cost close to $1 million to produce. It has had three sold-out theatrical screenings at the Bangalow Film Festival and the Dorrigo Old Gazette Theatre in March, and Pearce’s Creek Theatre in April. The film is set for further limited runs in Australia through June.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk