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WA Museum secures deal with Japanese

THE WA Museum has secured a documentary deal with Japan’s largest broadcaster, NHK.

The agreement involves filming three one-hour documentaries at the caves where museum researchers found the skeletons of the marsupial lion thylacoleo, a giant wombat and a giant small-faced kangaroo.

WA Museum documentary unit producer Clay Bryce said the documentaries were worth more than $1 million, with additional funding coming in from the Rio Tinto Future WA fund.

An expedition to the cave is being mounted this month to continue the research and also to shoot the three documentaries.

Production of the three documentaries and delivery to NHK is expected to be completed by June.

Another partner in the documentary is Storyteller Productions, which counts a documentary on the bomb sniffing dogs of Afghanistan and the show Animal X, which has become popular in Europe, among its successes.

Storyteller’s Mike Searle said this was the most significant deal with an overseas producer for WA.

He said it was also the first time a natural history or science show would be shot on high-definition television in the State.

Storyteller will supply the film crew. NHK is sending a director and a producer and Mr Bryce will also play a producer’s role.

Mr Bryce said that on this journey the researchers were not sure what they would find.

“The last time we went there we knew the thylacoleo skeleton was there,” he said.

Understandably the museum is being coy about where the filming will take place, saying only that it is on the WA side of the Nullarbor Plain.

The cave where researchers found the thylacoleo skeleton has been there for millions of years and acted as a pit trap for the animals.

Because of the cave’s depth, the animals that had tumbled into it could not get out and eventually died there, leaving their skeletons behind for scientist to find many years later.

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