Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Origin Stories Podcast Episode Wins Prix Marulić

The Leakey Foundation’s Origin Stories podcast has won the Prix Marulić International Audio Festival in the documentary category for “What They Left Behind” by producer Neil Sandell and editor Julia Barton.

“What They Left Behind” is an audio documentary about renowned French prehistorian Jean Clottes who has spent decades studying the famous painted caves of Ice Age Europe, and other prehistoric art around the world. Clottes’ work has challenged popular assumptions about prehistoric art and how it evolved.

Jean Clottes standing in the reconstructed replica of Chauvet Cave.

Sandell’s documentary explores the search for the meanings behind prehistoric art, and what it reveals about the people who made it.

Sandell said, “I set out to make a piece that conjured a sense of wonder. I wanted the piece to work on two levels: as explanatory journalism and as a personal portrait. Jean Clottes has led a fascinating life, and I wanted the listener to connect with him emotionally.”

Jean Clottes and Neil Sandell outside of the entrance to Niaux Cave.

“This documentary is an example of sincere and pure simplicity, giving an impression of humility towards the subject and the ancient cave art,” said Petar Vujačić, jury coordinator of the 22nd annual Prix Marulić, “Minute details within the flow of the narrative create a picture of a man and depict this out-of-time art with a force of conviction which has left us breathless.”

Sandell was honored at the award ceremony which took place in Hvar, Croatia on May 24. “The winning programs in radio documentary competitions tend to be about heavy subjects – violence and injustice, loss and struggle and human frailty.” said Sandell, “These programs are important to make and I’ve made a few myself. A quiet program like ‘What They Left Behind’ usually doesn’t get noticed. I am thrilled that the Prix Marulić jury rewarded a quiet story, a science story, a story whose secret sauce is a sense of wonder.”

In honor of the award, The Leakey Foundation has rereleased the episode. You can listen on the player below and subscribe to Origin Stories on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Stitcher, RadioPublic, or via your favorite podcast app.


About Neil Sandell:

Neil Sandell is an award-winning Canadian radio producer.

In 2014 he moved to Nice, France, following a long career at the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, including five years as senior producer of the first-person documentary program, Outfront. In 2011, he was named the Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy, Canada’s most prestigious journalism fellowship. He has taught workshops at the Third Coast Audio Festival, and the Hearsay International Audio Festival in Kilfinane, Ireland. In 2015 he was a jury president at Prix Italia.

About Julia Barton:

Julia Barton is the editor of  The Leakey Foundation’s Origin Stories podcast and of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, and Empire on Blood for Panoply Media. She was formerly a senior editor at PRI’s The World, heading up a project called “Across Women’s Lives.” Her reporting has appeared on Radiolab, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, and 99% Invisible, among other programs.

Barton was a Knight Fellow in International Journalism (2002–Russia and Ukraine) and recipient of an International Reporting Project Fellowship (2000–Ukraine).

About Origin Stories: Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation’s podcast about how we became human. This award-winning show combines science and narrative to explore our human story and explain why we are the way we are.

The third season is currently in production and will be released in August 2018.



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