Totem's World:

Totem Media operates on three continents:

EUROPE: London
CHINA: Shanghai
AFRICA: Johannesburg

Totem Productions Limited was established in London in 1987 by Francis Gerard as an independent producer of film and television programming.

Francis Gerard was initially a documentary film producer who has over the years developed Totem into an exhibitions and events company with work based largely on Cultural Heritage. For more than 30 years Totem has successfully developed, produced and directed a range of primetime television documentary series and dramas all over the world. Totem has made films on subjects ranging from adoption to nuclear war. For many years Totem has been best known for films on people and world affairs, where they have won awards at the New York Film Festival and the Royal Television Society, London.

For the past five years (2001 to 2006) Francis Gerard and Totem have been creating, designing and developing THE ORIGINS CENTRE. This included raising the US$6 million capital. Prior to this Totem developed, produced and directed a project entitled: CHINA: THE DRAGON'S ASCENT. An 8-hour TV documentary series with accompanying book and CD-ROM about China and Chinese civilisation. The project revealed how China changed the world - and the world never knew. Francis Gerard and Totem devised the project, negotiated its making with the Chinese leadership, co-raised the US$7 million budget from donors worldwide to a charitable trust they established for the purpose.

Totem has close working relationships with some of the finest design, multimedia and audio-visual teams in South Africa, Europe and Asia and is constantly refining exhibition state-of-the-art.

Projects in Progress:



Totem are presently involved in the preliminary scoping of what will see a brand new science centre specifically built using the latest "green techniques" open in the centre of Durban.

The NRF (National Research Foundation) Natural Science Collections Audit:

Totem have been commissioned by the NRF to carry out what will become the largest and most through audit of natural science collections housed in the country. After numerous meetings with over 200 scientists across South Africa housed in museums, universities and institutes a detailed 60 page questionnaire will form the basis of the audit of the collections themselves. The results of the survey will help national government assess the collections, the institutions they are housed in and the personnel involved. The survey is being conducted in conjunctions with SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute)

BAKGATLA BA KGAFELA CULTURAL CENTRES, Pilanesberg, South Africa and Mochudi, Botwana :

Scoping is under way presently in two existing centres Mphebatho and Phuthadikobo to re-imagine, refresh and retell Bakgatla history and culture.

PLATINUM CENTRE, Pilanesberg, South Africa:

Presently in development - a major educational and historical centre that focuses on the impact of mining and its effect on the social and economic history of South Africa. Mining is the DNA of southern Africa. Go to for more information.

BAFOKENG PEOPLE'S CENTRE, Phokeng, South Africa:

Presently in development - research to establish the core narratives themes for both an exhibition to accompany the Royal Bafokeng's hosting of several major soccer games during the 2010 World Cup and an ultimate Centre is presently under way.

OLD OBSERVATORY, Johannesburg, South Africa:

SAASTA commissioned Totem to report on the development of a new science centre that would bring the sciences of astronomy, time and related issues to life on the site.

THE INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN EVOLUTION, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa:

Presently in development - Francis Gerard and Totem are directing the project that consists of the establishment of a new multidisciplinary Institute, the provision of new offices, laboratories and lecture rooms plus the design and development of a new exhibition - THE STORY OF LIFE to be incorporated within the present ORIGINS CENTRE.

MUSEUM consultation, Peoples Republic of China:

Exhibition narrative design and development at several of Shanghai's museums.

ROBBEN ISLAND MUSEUM, Cape Town, South Africa:

Visitation and exhibition consultation and development. Project halted.

Recently Completed:

THE ART OF GOD, Johannesburg, South Africa:

A three hour television series exploring the development of Art and Culture as seen from the point of view of humankind's First People - the San Bushmen. Released in South Africa on SABC 3 during September 2008. Worldwide release in 2008.

art of god

Totem home | Services | Cultural History and Exhibitions | Totem Films | China - The Dragons Ascent | Origins Centre | Reviews and Downloads | Totem Film Timeline | Contact us