Salt Lake City Family Needed for History Television Show

Would you like an opportunity to share your heritage on television?

Shows like Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC, and The Generations Project on BYU Television have become very popular.  Celebrities and every day folks alike are often surprised and elated to learn more about their family history.  (Listen to my interview with Lisa Kudrow, executive producer of Who Do You Think You Are? who shares her reactions to her own discovery which played out in season one of the series.)

A yearning to know more about family history, and history in general, is not just sweeping America, but also the world.  In fact, the United States is coming to the TV game rather late compared to Europe.

The French Are Coming!  The French Are Coming!

The latest televised exploration into history and it’s impact on modern day folks is coming from the French television network Canal Plus (the equivalent of HBO) which has a series called “Les Nouveaux Explorateurs,” or, “The New Explorers.”

According to Joan Rodriguez, production assistant on the series, the main focus of the series is for the viewer to rediscover the richness and diversity of the cultures of the world, from the fresh and original perspective of a curious traveler and his focus on a particular topic.  Each one-hour film relates the journey of one explorer across one country, where he or she travels and is guided by their passion to meet local people and share everyday life situations, learning about their traditions and cultures.

Currently broadcasted on a weekly basis, the program has a wide range of themes: from the traditional fishermen populations to the world sports and cooking, as well as nomad people and the environment.

This spring and summer they are going to shoot a film in the U.S., which follows the same principle of the series, but is a longer version. “Teen Explorers in the USA” is a 90-minute documentary film, which introduces four “typical” French teenagers as the conductors of the journey: through their eyes and commentaries, viewers will discover a certain extent of the American culture and community, with a focus on teen culture.

The French teens are between 16 and 17 years old, attend high school, and are passionate about discovering new cultures.  They are also, to some degree, familiar with the American culture and fashion, since most of what they eat, wear, watch, and listen to comes from the United States, but they are also aware that beyond that image there is a much more complex country.  Their journey will give viewers an original, fresh and spontaneous vision of the United States today, while allowing viewers to appreciate some subtleties of its culture, history and society.

Go West Young Man

The last segment of the film is going to take place in Arizona and Utah, home to some of our most widely recognized national parks.  This trademark landscape (which according to Rodriguez is “a worldwide synonym of adventure and freedom”) is very interesting for them, because it is not only a natural wonder and treasure, but also because of its historical and cultural relevance.

There are many historical events related to this region that the filmmakers would like to learn about in a simple, interactive and spontaneous way.  They will spend some time with local families and share some everyday life moments.

Bonne Pioche is the production company behind this project.  It was founded in 1993, and is an independent production company that develops and produces films for television and cinema release, including Academy Award winning The March of the Penguins.   All of their films strive to capture the viewer's attention with a novel and unexpected approach, complemented by moving, original storylines. Bonne Pioche currently produces 45 hours of programs a year. It has been collaborating with Canal Plus for over 4 years on "The New Explorers " series.

Here’s Where You Might Just Fit In

The filmmaker is most interested in finding a family in Salt Lake City who will invite them to discover their city, having the Pioneer’s Day celebration as a background.

Ideally, Valentin (a 17 year old teen from the south of France) will stay with a Mormon family in Salt Lake City and will participate in the preparations of any of the events related to the Pioneer’s Day celebration, as it represents an important cultural event that reunites the community of Salt Lake City.  The goal is to have the opportunity to learn about the history and cultural heritage of this region of America.

Shooting is scheduled to take place from July 20 through July 24, 2010.  The crew is composed of three people (the teenager, the director and the sound engineer).

If you live in the Salt Lake City area and would be interested in appearing on The New Explorers send me an email with your name, city, phone number and the number of people in your family and it will be forwarded to the producers.

To learn more about how to discover your own family history, tune in to The Genealogy Gems Podcast at my website or in iTunes.