ST. KITTS AND NEVIS — From the award-winning Ohio filmmaker Jonathan Perry comes “Sentinelese,” an unparalleled exploration into the isolated people of North Sentinel Island. The narrative film features the suspenseful scenario of a Thai Poaching vessel that runs aground on the deadly island, home to the Sentinelese tribe. Years in the making, “Sentinelese” is backed by collaborative research from world experts including government officials, poacher informants and lead anthropologists from India and Thailand.
“Sentinelese” is the first live action film about North Sentinel Island, a restricted island located within India’s Bay of Bengal. A film synopsis by Muybridge states, “Offshore India’s infamous North Sentinel Island, a Sentinelese boy has been pulled out to sea and is helplessly out of reach from his tribal band. The primitive child is rescued by a Burmese fishing slave and taken aboard a Thai-contracted vessel that has run aground while poaching the restricted surrounding waters. Defenseless against the hostile tribe with the Indian coast guard closing in, the trapped poachers are running out of time and options to escape into international waters.”
“Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island is the only tribe on planet earth that has maintained absolute isolation from the rest of the world,” said Shivappa A. Awaradi, former director of tribal welfare in the government of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, during which he lead the first-ever friendly contact expeditions with the Sentinelese tribe. Perry collaborated with Awaradi for roughly two years, utilizing the expert’s first-hand encounters with the hostile tribe as important research for “Sentinelese.”
“The goal of this film is to give the audience an opportunity to get up close to the tribe, based on anthropological research, down to their genetic attributes” Perry said. “I hope that the island stays protected and isolated from outsiders, this film provides us a window into their world in the safest manner possible.”
“Sentinelese” was filmed over the course of thirty days in late summer of 2022 on the dual island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. Filming provided economic benefits to the island through businesses like Kiroula Trading and Consulting Services, positively giving support to local infrastructure. The international production ultimately trained over seventy cast and crew members from multiple Caribbean nations. Perry shattered his kneecap just a few weeks before scheduled filming, an injury that limited his movement and added to the many challenges he faced during production for “Sentinelese.”
To accurately recreate the North Sentinel Island and the Sentinelese people, the production crew leveled a beach landscape and constructed functional outrigger canoes, weapons, and garments, based on archival resources from the actual tribe. A 102-foot-long sea rescue vessel was converted into a Thai poaching ship, loaded with multiple cargo trucks of fishing equipment from around the island. The production is one of the largest operations in film the island of St. Kitts has ever seen.
“It is immensely important for the history of human society to make films like this because it is modern civilization’s moral and ethical responsibility to help preserve this tiny ancient civilization of Sentinelese. Spreading such awareness among the earthlings is the first step in that direction and this film will serve that great purpose in its own way,” said Awaradi.
The upcoming live-action short film follows Perry’s critically acclaimed film “Crookery,” available exclusively on YouTube through his production company Muybridge, and his award-winning film “Subnivean,” acquired by Amazon Prime – making him the youngest director on any streaming service at the age of 17. Perry currently is a junior at The Ohio State University and works out of Santa Monica, California with Simple Films and Activision Blizzard as a lead writer and director of the hit game, Call of Duty. Perry also recently wrapped up an upcoming Hulu TV show, filmed throughout the city of Columbus. With the growth of his company, Perry is in the development for a large-scale feature film to be likely filmed in Ohio after the distribution of “Sentinelese.”
Perry’s newest film “Crookery” has just been released to stream free on the Muybridge YouTube channel. Future screening dates, sneak previews and exclusive behind-the-scenes content for “Sentinelese” can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @sentinelesefilm as it continues its post-production phase.