You have no items in your shopping cart.
If you think actors locking themselves in a trailer is bad, imagine having to film them on the run. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield had to chase their camera-shy stars through West African forests.
Their film, Disneynature’s “Chimpanzee,” shot over four years, follows a baby chimp named Oscar and his family as they live, hunt and defend their lands in Ivory Coast’s Taï National Park. It is slated to open on about 1,500 screens nationwide Friday, in time for Earth Day on Sunday. Disneynature, a unit of Walt Disney Co., will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute for each moviegoer who sees the film during opening week.
Messrs. Fothergill and Linfield first pitched “Chimpanzee” to the studio as a 70-page “infinitely engaging animal comedy drama,” said Mr. Linfield. Chimpanzees share 98% of their genetic makeup with humans, their closest living relatives. Mr. Linfield believes that closeness will help engage families, Disneynature’s core audience. “Every mother is going to relate to having a baby; every kid is going to relate to being playful and adventurous,” he said.
Before making the picture, the pair created a wish list of shots and collaborated with the Franco-Swiss evolutionary biologist Christophe Boesch, who has been studying Oscar’s family for 36 years, to ensure direct and continuous access to the chimps.
“Chimpanzee,” narrated by Tim Allen, is the fourth film released under the Disneynature label. The first three releases, “Earth,” which Messrs. Fothergill and Linfield co-directed, “Oceans,” and “African Cats” are among the top 10 highest-grossing documentary films, earning $32 million, $19 million and $15 million, respectively.
“The word documentary has baggage with it, people don’t feel like paying money to get preached to,” said Don Hahn, an executive producer on all four Disneynature titles, adding, “This is entertainment.”
Messrs. Fothergill and Linfield, who are also executive producers of the new movie, consider “Chimpanzee” a nature film, avoiding the documentary label. “Cinema is now artifice with computers and [computer-generated imagery],” said Mr. Fothergill. “Our film is real—it’s about the natural world, pure and precious.”
In part to limit the number of scientific facts and figures cited in the film, the executive producers chose to do a coffee-table book about the making of “Chimpanzee,” as well as five other books targeted at kids of all ages. The books were printed by Disney Press and Disney Editions. There also is a free downloadable educator’s guide, in which teachers can find supplemental materials.
“The movie exists beyond the screen, and we wanted to make sure people could take something home,” said Mr. Hahn.
New York-based jewelry designer Alex Woo has designed two pendants inspired by “Chimpanzee,” both available in 14-carat gold or sterling silver, and ranging from $158 to $1,098, a part of which will be donated to charity.
“I appeal to a different audience than the traditional Disney audience,” said Ms. Woo, who is currently designing the Carrie Bradshaw necklace for the coming television series “The Carrie Diaries,” a prequel to “Sex and the City.”
Ms. Woo collaborated with Disneynature in 2011 to design similar-style pendants for “African Cats.” She said she has raised more than $5,000 for charity from that line.
Ms. Woo’s designs for “Chimpanzee” have been posted on the movie’s Facebook page and film website.
A version of this article appeared April 16, 2012, on page B6 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A Chimp Family Just Being Itself Stars in Nature Film From Disney.
In celebration of the release of Disneynature’s African Cats DVD, Africa Geographic Magazine has come up with some great holiday gift ideas. Alex Woo’s African Cat Pendant was one of the 3 gifts chosen. This fierce pendant not only looks fabulous on the ladies photographed but it also gives back to our furry friends. Twenty percent of the proceeds from the pendant sales will benefit AWF’s efforts to protect the African savanna. This roaring piece has become one of Africa Geographic’s favorite and we can see why!
NEW YORK, PRNewswire — In celebration of Disneynature’s new film “African Cats” and the 50th anniversary of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), New York jeweler Alex Woo designed a special pendant that captures the true love and beauty of the majestic kings of the savanna. The designer is donating 20% of the proceeds from the pendant to the AWF. Inspired by a story set against the backdrop of one of the wildest places on earth, the design spotlights the enduring relationships between a mother and her young.
“As a new mother myself, I was really touched by the story of the mother and the cubs in the film,” Woo said. “All mothers share a common bond of wanting to protect and nurture their child as best they can. So that was the story I wanted to tell through my design.”
The exceptional pendant, featuring a baby cub and its mother, depicts both the theme of wildlife in the movie and the protective bond all mothers have for their children. This premise is one that is particularly close to Woo’s heart and she volunteered the design to continue her support for conservation in Africa.
Designed in Sterling Silver and 14kt Yellow Gold, the different styles are available at www.alexwoo.com and other fine specialty stores.
About Alex Woo
Alex Woo is a jewelry designer based in New York City, whose work delicately balances the trendy “must have” with classic style. With a workshop located in the heart of Rockefeller Center and an eponymous collection of jewelry, Alex has since become one of the most recognized jewelers amongst a new generation of designers.
About Disneynature’s True-Life Adventure: “African Cats”
Directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill, “African Cats” captures the real-life love, humor and determination of the majestic kings of the savanna. Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson, this awe-inspiring adventure blends family bonds with the power and cunning of the wild, “African Cats” leaps into theatres on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.
About the African Wildlife Foundation
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is the leading international conservation organization focused solely on Africa, and works together with the people of Africa, to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever.