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Denver’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which is celebrating its 75th season, is best known as an epic outdoor concert space, boasting classic performances from everyone from The Beatles to U2 over the years. However, it’s also home to opening night of SeriesFest, an international television festival that brings together industry luminaries, emerging content creators and pop musicians like Sia. This year’s SeriesFest saw the North American premiere of BBC AMERICA’s The Hunt, a new natural history series narrated by U.K. legend David Attenborough.

In The Hunt, filmmakers follow the world’s most feared predators—including leopards, polar bears, and killer whales—as they pursue their prey. The Hunt’s Emmy-winning executive producer Alastair Fothergill and producer Huw Cordey were at Red Rocks on Wednesday (June 22) to witness the screening before an enthusiastic packed house.

“It was amazing actually,” said Fothergill. “The quality of the image and the size of the screen were wonderful. The venue is the most spectacular amphitheater.”

It’s appropriate that The Hunt saw its U.S. debut on a big screen against a natural backdrop: the series is as lush and cinematic as previous BBC programs Planet Earth and Frozen Planet. And there’s as much suspense in the program as any blockbuster film.

“We sort of see it as drama meets natural history,” says Cordey. “And we really wanted to approach the audience in much of the way as a Hollywood feature film. So we used the latest gyro-stabilized technology on a range of different vehicles so we could move with the predators as they hunted. So we’re following African hunting dogs, hunting at 40 miles per hour. We’re moving with killer whales. We’re stalking with the leopard. It was a very, very interactive experience, probably more so than we’ve done in the past.”

“One of the most important things about the series is that every sequence is unpredictable,” adds Cordey. “I think when people are watching a predation sequence, they’re expecting the end to be the predator taking the prey. That’s what we would call the ‘money shot.’ But most predators fail most of the time. That’s what it’s like in nature, and we really wanted to reflect that. But this kind of unpredictability really played into the drama.”

The squeamish need not worry: there isn’t much bloodshed in The Hunt. Fothergill notes that many other similar programs have reveled in the gore, but with David Attenborough narrating, you know this will be a restrained yet gripping affair. “Having David there, and I think in the states and globally, you know it’s going to be done properly because David’s doing the narration,” says Fothergill. “He’s very, very trusted.”

Fothergill adds that Attenborough is “is actually an extraordinarily good actor. If you work with him and you see him in the recording booth, he’s unbelievably animated and really involved. He added immensely to [The Hunt]. He brought authority, but more than that, he brought fantastic storytelling in his voice.”

Viewers can see the U.S. TV premiere of The Hunt Sunday, July 3 at 9/8c on BBC AMERICA.

What’s your favorite David Attenborough natural history series?

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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.