The Lost City of the Monkey God
Proceeds to benefit The Lost City Fund supporting the Kaha Kamasa Foundation in Honduras
A film chronicling the thrilling modern day expedition which inspired Douglas Preston’s New York Times bestselling book The Lost City of the Monkey God.
In the early 1990s, adventurer Steve Elkins became captivated by the legend of La Ciudad Blanca, or the White City, a great ruin rumored to exist in the interior mountains of the Mosquitia region of Honduras. He spent the following 20 years trying to find it.
In May of 2012, Elkins and filmmaker Bill Benenson engaged a team of scientists from the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping at the University of Houston to fly over three areas identified by Elkins in the Mosquitia mountains, to look for La Ciudad Blanca. These targeted areas were among the last scientifically unexplored places on Earth. The plane was equipped with a million-dollar LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) machine, capable of mapping the terrain under a dense, triple-canopy rainforest.
In an unnamed valley known as “Target One” (T1), the team discovered a ruined city of about five square kilometers. The images showed what appeared to be a large pyramid, a ball court, ceremonial buildings, house mounds, terracing, irrigation canals, and other features.
On February 16th, 2015 after three years of planning, the team’s small A-Star helicopter with British special forces soldiers flew into the valley of T1. They were followed by a team of archeologists, anthropologists, scientists and journalists. Three days into the expedition, the crew discovered a cache of 52 carved stone artifacts peeking out from beneath the ground - perhaps a ceremonial offering - which would be guarded around the clock by Honduran military personnel until months later, when an archaeological team commissioned by the government and National Geographic excavated 509 artifacts from the area.
The project continues to have the support of the Honduran government, and the goal of preserving the archaeological sites and the surrounding jungle has become a high priority for Honduras. A new research center and museum has been built just outside of Catacamas, and President Juan Orlando Hernández issued a directive to halt deforestation and continue archaeological and conservation efforts. The land has also been renamed in honor of the indigenous people who live in the surrounding area.
Run time: 102 minutes • Language: English with Spanish subtitles • Unrated
A Benenson Productions and UTL Productions film
In heart-pounding detail, Steve Elkins recounts his experience as expedition leader and discoverer of a mysterious, ancient city in a remote Honduran jungle rainforest. His brushes with death and dangerous exploits are featured, most notably, in the best-selling non-fiction book, The Lost City of the Monkey God, by acclaimed author, Doug Preston. Elkins explains how he found his way his way around road blocks or just ploughed right through them to pursue his wildest of wild dreams to find the lost ruins of a once-thriving metropolis that dates back several centuries. Audiences will be enthralled by Elkins’s thrilling tale of derring-do by his crack team of jungle warfare soldiers, archaeologists, and anthropologists and inspired by his ability to reinvent himself and to tap into his passion to explore new worlds.
Joining Steve Elkins is chocolatier Denise Castronovo of the Castronovo Chocolate Factory with her The Lost City, Honduras chocolate bar. This Silver Winner of the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2019 & 2017 (London) Dark Bean to Bar under 80% Category is a tribute to the Lost City of a vanished ancient civilization, discovered within Honduras' virgin tropical rainforest. The indigenous people living nearby in the Gracias a Dios region protect the forest and make a sustainable living as harvesters of wild cacao. The cacao is processed in their village and put on hollowed-out tree log canoes, called pipantes, for a two-day voyage upstream to the nearest road. Castronovo is first American craft chocolate maker to make a single-origin chocolate from these remote beans and it is their homage to the timelessness of the Gracias a Dios.