Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The response to the last one of these was enough to warrant a sequel...
There are plenty of good movies out there that were made by others or even sometimes were turned down by the Mouse. I'm sure I won't get through all of them, but I figured we'd have another round of...
"This coulda' been a Disney film."
The last day of March we did "Part One" of this series so it's kind of appropriate that the last day of April we post "Part Two", don't you think? Without further ado...
I know, I know... It's way too sweet, but it has an endearing quality to it and focuses on family values. The Littles are a family that plans to adopt a new family member. They wind up adopting an idealic, sweet young mouse named Stuart. A film about love and surviving the trials you face in a family disguised as a children's film. I've tended to shy away from all these CG films where they make realistic animals talk, but I must admit this one warmed me up to it. Now as for "South Of The Border"... I'll wait and see.
The Neverending Story
The story of a young man, Bastian, who retreats from the problems of our world into a book called “The Neverending Story”. The tale is an allegory involving the land of Fantasia whose existence threatened by an enigmatic force known as “The Nothing”. Great fun, beautiful scenes and a charming tale for families the world over.
Field of Dreams
This one could fall in the same line of films as "The Rookie", although it's far superior to that one. This "Capraesk" look at a small town farmer played with subtlety and charm by Kevin Costner, who hears a voice in his head that causes him to build a baseball field in the middle of his corn field is a great look at what makes a life have meaning. The heartwarming tale is filled with imagery and scenes that make you feel what is right about America and right about Disney.
I actually was forced to watch this... and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it's a blatant rip-off of Mary Poppins even if it comes from original source material. But never-the-less, it's a truly touching family picture that's good for families and a great film to show your daughter or niece and not have to worry about being bored. Emma Thompson wrote the script as well as starred in this story of a magical nanny and if the result was an example of her writing skills, I think she has a future in this business.
Essentially, "The Little Rascals" for the 80's or picture "Stand By Me" as envisioned by Steven Spielberg. A fun, flawed story about friends growing up in a small Oregon town that find lost pirate gold along with a family of bumbling crooks. I'm smiling just thinking about it. Stories like this would be great for Walt Disney Pictures to explore if they find the right material... hint, it's out there.
Granted, this could easily be a live-action Warner Bros. cartoon as well. But this weird and stylized tale of a mouse that ruins the lives of the brothers who inherit the house it lives in is a fun, zany romp. Gore Verbinski("The Ring" and the "Pirates" trilogy) had a stylish turn in this, his second film. While not deep in terms of character it has one thing going for it that no other film has... Christopher Walken as an insane pest inspector. Totally funny. Now that's a character I want to see roaming around the parks.
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the WereRabbit
Ok, truthfully... ANYTHING that Nick Park does should be under the Disney label. The guy's a genius(he's the claymation Brad Bird) and his greatest creation of the eccentric inventor and his introspective dog are perfect characters for the Mouse. This story of Wallace falling for a woman, while a savage beast resembling a giant rabbit roams the land has all the trademarks of W & G's earlier shorts... and it's charming.
I know not everyone is a Burton fan, but I think that this story, with a few minor alterations would be great for Walt Disney Pictures. Ewan McGregor as the young version of Albert Finney's character; a father that has told so many tales his son can't determine which are true and which are make-believe. Billy Crudup is the skeptical son in this compelling story of love, pain and the need for belief... no matter what its price. There's no reason we can't have a Disney film with a little melancholy in it and Burton's films are doused in it.
Back to the Future
Now, you could include all three of these films and say it was the trilogy that should have been a part of the Mouse, but even though the sequels are fun and entertaining, they just don't have the magic that the original does. This film was pure fun. Plain and simple. The story of a young, everyboy teen who works odd jobs for an odd inventor that designs a time machine in a modern day version of the Edsel? With all its plot twists and clever banter between the way things were in the 50's and how they were in the 80's is great. Now, if Zemeckis would just fall in love with live-action film making again, sigh...
As I happen to love serials and my favorite film is "Raiders of the Lost Ark", I think it's apparent that this movie would come along sometime in this series were it to continue. This Stephen Sommers film doesn't take itself as serious as the Indy films and it does carry a lot of cheese, but it's a refreshing action yarn that is the perfect thing I expect when I sit down in the dark with my soda, popcorn and milkduds. Too bad no Disney logo was before this one... Oh, well.
Another Tim Burton film. Also my favorite Tim Burton film(just ahead of "Ed Wood"). This modern day version of "Pinocchio", I don't know if you caught that, but it is... this story about a sweet, shy man with scissors for hands that falls for a beautiful teen in an "Idealic" Burtonesk suburb is his most heartfelt project. I think what "E.T." is to Spielberg, this is to Burton. A marvelous film that would/could easily fit into the Disney canon of films.
The tale of an endearing little girl, who's to be a genius, and her inspiring teacher as she deals with horrible parents and a school principal that is her worst nightmare. Sweet, if uneven tale, based on the book by Roald Dahl and adapted to the screen under Danny DeVito's direction. A treat, although not a perfect one... but worthy of entry into the "should of been" category for Disney.
Big Trouble in Little China
John Carpenter's classic, cheesy play on B-movies is a wonderful film and a textbook example of what a "movie night" at a friends house should be. The story of an American truck driver that gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in China Town after going to help a friend is both funny and action packed. Filled from the bottom to the brim, it never lets up and never lets us take it too seriously. Good stuff.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Ok, is there someone out there that doesn't think this deserves to be a "Disney" film? Heck, even when Spielberg finished his cut of the movie he had "When you wish upon a star" as temp music for it. This tale of ordinary people all across the earth and their experience with strange lights in the sky is mesmerizing, beautiful and poetic in its portrayal of an alien invasion that really isn't. If there is one person other than Lucas that is the heir to the Disney throne, it's Spielberg and it's also a reason why so many of his films would wind up on a list like this.
This Jim Henson directed film about a young girl named Sarah left home alone to babysit her little brother. While trying to get him to sleep, she tells him a fantasy story that inadvertently brings a Goblin King from a far off land to steals the child and whisk him away to a castle in the middle of a vast labyrinth. She is told to rescue him before midnight or the brother will became a goblin forever... Cinderella it ain't, but an entertaining fantasy it is... most worth, I say.
This one has a lot of great names attached to it. Spielberg produced it. Joe Dante directed it. Chris Columbus wrote it. It was actually his first movie... well before we would know him as a director for such things as "Harry Potter" and "Mrs. Doubtfire", a time when he was known by a word I first became aware of... "wonderkund". It even has a cameo by the great animation director Chuck Jones. This film about a young man, given a present from his father of a little creature that doesn't mix well with water and the hi-jinx that follows once rules are violated is a great example of an 80's high concept movie. Spielberg at his producing best and well worth of the label of the Mouse.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Unlike some of those bootleg YouTube videos we've been seeing of "The Dark Knight" and others, it appears that Paramount Pictures is releasing the television spots for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" as a steady drip, drip, drip for Indy fans until the trailer hits this Friday. Check 'em out, they're cool and helping to keep up my addiction to the Man in the Hat. Thanks goes out to my drug dealer, Mr. George Lucas, you may have screwed up on the prequels, but I'm glad you've been trying to get out another Indy film... now if this one's any good I hope you don't waste too much time making another one. I don't want to see Indiana Jones using his whip from a wheelchair!
News for the 70's Disney Geeks/Fans...
The original Hannah Montana, Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann from the classic "Escape to Witch Mountain" will have cameos in the new "Race to Witch Mountain" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Carla Gugino currently lensing...
Eisenmann will play a sheriff, while Richards will portray a waitress at a roadhouse called "Ray's" in a small town named Stony Creek. They wind up helping Las Vegas cabbie(Johnson) and his two tween powered aliens to escape an evil group out to capture them and exploit their powers.
Interested in seeing what they do with this. I hope it captures the magic of the original and expands on it rather than creating something that waste such a good idea.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Since you had to wait so long for the last update, I thought I'd surprise you with this...
A mini-update as a bonus.
Please, please... don't all thank me at once. But I figure I'd give you a little more detail into what's going on in and around the Pier area.
Later this year when all the buzz has settled down from TSMM, the rest of the "Makeover" of Paradise Pier goes into high gear. You already know that the Sun Wheel is becoming Mickey's Fun Wheel and the work on the other areas of the PP(such as the Beer Garden and surrounding areas) start between fall and early next year, but what about that water show?
"Disney's World of Color".
We all know that it's going to be a big show. A cross between Fantasmic! and the water show in front of the Bellagio. We all know that there will be hundreds and hundreds of jet nozzles shooting water far into the sky with projected images surrounding this spectacle, but...
Did you know how much of the Pier will actually be used for these fountains? Most have said that it will just be in front of Mickey's Fun Wheel. No, no...
Try the entire water area of the Pier. That big. Really. When the PP goes down next year to be drained so that construction can begin on the new extended area and the placement of the water and lighting system is put in it will be extensive. This will have some form of fountain display all across the whole of the area. It's no wonder that the area around Ariel's Grotto is talked about being enclosed. Guest will get drenched sitting out under those exposed canopies. The WOC show will be very intimate for audiences. As well as that, when the displays and water jets are shooting up into the air, expect to see a very familiar Disney character floating in the Pier as he'll be part of the festivities. Mickey Mouse? Nope. Donald Duck? Nooooo. Ariel? No, but technically she'll be there(more on that in a minute).
A giant Variation of the demon from "Night On Bald Mountain" will inhabit the PP show if everything goes as planed. He'll be one of the main displays on hand during the show. But he won't be the only one...
Now as over to the other side of the Pier where "The Little Mermaid" ride is going in, things are going swimmingly. Sorry, I couldn't help it. But work continues on this attraction and each day more and more details are being added. The structure and final building design have been approved and it's going to be more refined and glamorous than any of those crude pictures you've seen in the presentation last October. There's a reason why this ride's budget is up over a hundred million dollars. John Lasseter, Bob Weis and their crew are working to make sure this area is filled with tons of bells and whistles. There will be several show rooms in the ride displaying multiple scenes from the classic Disney film, but the main one, for the main song will be in the center of the building and will occupy the most space. Possibly over half of the building. It's going to be a room that is round/oval in shape and feature some of the most complex lighting and animatronics detail of any Imagineer project. The surrounding areas will feature lush foliage and trees sorely lacking in the initial creation of this park. Another glaring example of how much we need to take Paul Pressler and Michael Eisner out to the woodshed and give them a much deserved whuppin'.
Now that's not exactly a full BSA, but I thought I'd give you another kernel of what is going down instead of waiting a few weeks/a month or so before you see another update. Hope that helps to make up for the lull between Alerts.
Now a little business...
Many of you have asked for a WDW BSA and have wondered why there hasn't been one lately. I've mentioned it before, but perhaps it's worth repeating again and elaborating. Most of my connections are around the Anaheim projects. My few Bothan connections that work on WDW have dwindled as most are no longer working on projects for the Florida parks or have left the company. So I haven't really had enough info to put into a full blown BSA. Now, should I get in touch with more WDW Bothans we'll start to have more updates, but I don't intend on putting out an update that I don't have enough information about. I'd just as soon post nothing than try and fill an entire post with a few bits about Florida. Sorry if that disappoints you, but that's the way things go.
But as more info comes in I will try and work it into the other updates or commentaries... as for the next Anaheim Alert, it won't come before mid May at the earliest. Just want to give you a heads-up on that one fellas. As for other updates(Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong)? Time and content will determine when any and all are done. Right now, that means probably later in the summer for those.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Many of the resorts, hotels and building structures the Mouse has done over the years have had a decidely Art Deco influence. Mainly because it is a style that was a popular design movement when Walt Disney was running his studio at the height of its pre-live-action days. Anyone that has seen pictures of Walt's office or the Burbank studios in the late 30's/early 40's will recognize the style. If you like they stylings of the Maestro's headquarters you actually can decorate your home to reflect that. The Mouse recently authorized a line of furniture called the Walt Disney Signature Collection based on a latter part of the Art Deco movement known as Art Moderne.
Here are some lovely examples of what Imagineers do best when trying to capture the past...
Saturday, April 26, 2008
"You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain" - Harvey Dent(Two-Face) to Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight"
Michael Eisner got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Yesterday.
I don't think anything else needs to be said... but I'll say it anyway. He does deserve it for taking the Mouse from where it was to where he left it in 1995 or so... of course, he then deserves to have it taken away for what he did the remaining ten years.
Friday, April 25, 2008
If you happen to be in the Bay Area(no, I don't mean in DCA) tomorrow, you might want to attend the San Francisco Film Festival...
For Disney Geeks/Fans there's a special treat.
“Walt & El Grupo” is premiering at the Festival. It will be screened at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at 6 p.m. Monday, April 28 (with an extended Q&A) and at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. Additional film festival screenings are planned in the weeks and months ahead in Seattle and other cities both stateside and abroad.
The documentary, directed by Ted Thomas(yes, son of Frank Thomas and director of the wonderful "Frank and Ollie" documentary) follows Walt Disney and Lillian Disney along with sixteen colleagues for 10 weeks in 1941 as they visited several Latin American nations to gather story material for a series of short films with South American themes.
Many of these experiences would be woven into the classic Disney films “Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros.”
So if you love history, love film and love Disney then see about attending one of these showings...
Ok, so here is one more reason to see "Iron Man" next Friday. As if we needed it...
The new trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" will be attached to it. I have three very short sentences for that...
Or maybe it should be...
Hat Tip to Hollywood Elsewhere.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
There's a slightly interesting article in the OC Register today about an event that Ed Grier spoke at in the Orange County Forum. I say slightly because most of what it mentions are things that have been heard here and other sites in the blogosphere many times and months before it. The only news that's really new is the talk of a "Tinkerbell" attraction later this year. From what I've been told it's going to be a nice little tie-in but hardly anything close to an "E-Ticket", more of a meet and greet really. That being said, it'll be a nice thing for young girls and tweens... neither of which I am.
Ed is a nice enough fella, but he's a bit lacking in the charisma department and his people skills with the Cast Members aren't anywhere near what Matt Ouimet's were. They sometimes feel like he's detached and several just look at him as Jay's puppet. Don't know him well enough to confirm that but he will hopefully do a lot of bonding with Lasseter over the next few years. I can guarantee that John Lasseter will be there in four years, I can't say the same about Jay Rasulo...
and that's a good thing.
Those of you that have never read a copy of Tales from the Laughing Place should really take a look at the latest issue. It's filled with some really nice stuff a Disney Geek/Fan will just go giddy over:
- A timely interview with Joe Rohde, Imagineering Czar of DAK about the development of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- An interview with DCE's Steven Davison about the 25th anniversary parade of Tokyo Disneyland: "Jubilation!" with artwork found nowhere else.
- Hong Kong Disneyland’s "It’s A Small World" and its creation with Imagineers Tom Morris, Jody McLoughlin and Katie Olsen.
And much, much more. Go over and have a looksie... if you're a Mouse Lover like myself, it's an issue you'll really gotta have...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The MySpace website "Trailerpark" has a new trailer up for "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and it portrays the new film in the series as much more of an epic adventure showing what the Studio believes fanboys tend to need to see to get their butts in the seats.
Go over and have a looksie.
Hat Tip to Ain't It Cool News.
There's an interesting article in Variety's Asia edition that focuses on the Mouse in the Far East. It talks mainly about Bill Ernest being promoted to "President and Managing Director, Asia", the small nugget that will perk up Disney Geeks/Fans is the quote from Toshio Kagami, chairman of the Oriental Land Company where he mentioned the OLC wanting to operate a park outside Japan. And stating that South East Asia was a top priority for the company. When pressed, a OLC spokesman said:
"We're celebrating our 25th anniversary and Mr. Kagami was speaking about new challenges for our next 25 years. A park outside Japan is one possible challenge, though nothing has been decided yet."
This in interesting because it wasn't stated that the park outside Japan would be a "Disney" park. If this were to be a "franchised park" of the Mouse then the Oriental Land Company would have to renegotiate its contract with the Walt Disney Company. OLC is prohibited from even promoting the Tokyo Disney Resort outside of Japan so it is in all likely hood they're talking about a non-Disney themed park.
Time will tell...
Don't fear for Japan though, there will be another resort in Japan, just not in Tokyo. Word I'm hearing is that it could be somewhere in northern Japan. This will be a new kind of Disney park for the OLC, not necessarily the same as Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySEA. The new resort will take the Disney brand in Japan and try something new. Something different. This is that Urban Entertainment Center(UEC) concept we've talked a little about before. Expect to hear something about it by then end of 2008/early 2009. It's going to be interesting to see the final concept that they choose. Notice that this project is scheduled to be done around 2011...
There's that year again.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
On this day...
Ten years ago, the largest Disney theme park in the world(over 500 acres) opened up in Walt Disney World. Disney's Animal Kingdom's gates swung out to welcome guests on this day a decade ago. It was a little lacking in rides, but hey... what theme park under Eisner wasn't after Euro Disneyland? Granted, one its two major lands(Asia) wouldn't open for another year, but the Mouse trudged forward with this new park.
And to be frank, out of all WDW's parks, the most beautiful and filled with the theming one expects from a Disney park... DAK is it. It is still lacking in any nighttime entertainment(River of Dreams is on hold), and several areas aren't what was or should have been built(Hello: Camp Minnie-Mickey!) and one area is surprisingly garish and carnie in nature(Dinoland U.S.A.), but this theme park is well worth the experience. Anyone that has seen its lush scenery, animals and Expedition Everest realize how wonderful and different this is from the normal Disney experience... and yet, it's still Disney.
Now the great news is this park is still young... and it has nowhere near the problems that DCA has. This is mainly due to the leadership of one Imagineer Czar that has watched over it since he pitched the idea to Eisner in the first place: Joe Rohde. Now, we can't blame Joe for the mess that is Dinoland or the out of place Camp Minnie-Mickey... he's a man that knows when and where to fight his battles. He got to build a good percentage of what he wanted and realized that the rest could come with time. That time may soon arrive over the next four to six years. By then it will hopefully reflect the original intention of the park: to have examples of animals that are real, extinct and myth... with Asian and Africa they have the living part, and Dinoland U.S.A. they have the extinct part, but the third land that was to represent the animals of myth never really materialized. Now some think that having the Yeti from Expedition Everest fills this category, but let's face it; Yeti's are real. I've seen them many a time when I was night skiing up in Big Bear and Parking City. The fact that alcohol was involved is purely coincidental.
Disney's Hollywood Studios will be getting the majority of the TLC over the next few years, but DAK will get some loving. One of the best bits of news for Disney Geeks/Fans in years is that "Beastly Kingdom" is not dead. It's not only dead, but the concept is apparently moving forward although slower than we'd like and is going to be different than what was originally conceived. Put that together with Steven Davison's(Vice President, Disney Creative Entertainment) plans to come up with a nighttime alternative to River of Lights and things could be downright rosy...
Come 2011(there's that year again!) or 2012 if plans shift and construction dates slip, Disney's Animal Kingdom will be the crown jewel of all five parks. Errr... oops, I meant four parks. Didn't I?
Anyways, happy birthday DAK. You don't look a day over nine...
As well as celebrating a decade of Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Walt Disney Company is changing the name of it's wildlife concervation fund from "Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund" to "Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund". So out goes "Wildlife" and in comes "Worldwide"... I know, it's a subtle name change, but the logo is still snazzy so I thought I'd post it.
Hat Tip to The Disney Blog.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Walt Disney Studios today announced a new label dedicated to making films/documentaries about nature and our planet:
This is an extension or modern reinterpretation of the old "True-Life Adventures" series that Walt Disney started back in 1948 with "Seal Island". I personally love this idea and think it'll be a great addition to the Disney line of films. Not to mention it will a great synergy for Disney's Animal Kingdom. Hehe... I know, I know. Had to get all corporate on you there, but it's true and this could a very entertaining, educational and financially rewarding endeavor for the Mouse and us Disney Geeks/Fans. Clink on the link to the actual website for a pretty flashy and interactive introduction to Disneynature(a spiffy example of how Web 2.0 technology should work, btw).
Here's the official Press Release:
Burbank, California – April 21, 2008 -- The Walt Disney Studios is launching Disneynature, a prestigious new production banner that will literally go to the ends of the earth to produce major big screen nature documentaries, Studios Chairman Dick Cook announced.
In the great tradition established by Walt Disney himself, Disneynature will offer spectacular entertainment about the world in which we live. The significance of the new banner goes beyond the studio, with The Walt Disney Company embracing this new initiative around the world through a number of its businesses, including publications, licensing, parks and educational outreach. Disney veteran Jean-Francois Camilleri, who has served as senior vice president and general manager for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France will head the new unit. Disneynature will be based in France, where Camilleri and his team will oversee the initiation, development and acquisition of high quality feature projects.
Among the first films to be released domestically under the new label will be Earth, from award-winning British producer/director Alastair Fothergill, whose credits include the landmark Planet Earth series for the BBC and The Discovery Channel and The Blue Planet. Earth, which is produced by BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media and co-directed by Mark Linfield, will take us on a tour of our home planet as we’ve never seen it before. It will be narrated by renowned actor James Earl Jones and will premiere theatrically on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. The film will also be released under the Disneynature banner in Latin America.
“We love balancing heritage and innovation and Disneynature is a perfect example of this. We are placing the legacy of Disney’s ‘True-Life Adventures’ in the hands of great modern filmmakers using dazzling technology,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “Disneynature is a concept we look forward to building across the company and across the globe for years to come. And, we hope these films will contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of the beauty and fragility of our natural world.”
Dick Cook added, “Our goal is for Disneynature to offer event films that will appeal to everyone who is captivated by the grandeur of nature and the wonder of great filmmaking. Thanks to today’s state-of-the-art creative tools, filmmakers have an unlimited ability to tell nature’s limitless stories. These stories are as engrossing as any works of fiction and are of a scale and scope that can only be fully appreciated on a big screen. At Disneynature, the sky is truly the limit.”
"Nature invents the most beautiful stories. Our role at Disneynature will be to tell these stories with passion and enthusiasm to the largest public possible around the world,” said Camilleri. “By working with the best wildlife directors, we will offer nature as never seen before, help the audience to discover the incredible beauty of our world but also understand the challenges for the future generations."
Alastair Fothergill added, “This is especially exciting because, thanks to the wide-ranging appeal of Disney, we can expect Earth, as well as Chimpanzee and Big Cats to be seen by the broadest possible audience. Disney has been an inspiration to wildlife documentarians for generations and it’s a genuine thrill to advance this extraordinary legacy under this new label.”
Among the other Disneynature projects currently in development or production are:
THE CRIMSON WING: Mystery of the Flamingos – Co-directed by Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward, and produced by Paul Webster (Kudos Pictures), this film will take viewers to the isolated shores of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania for a birds-eye view of the mysterious lives of flamingos. Worldwide roll-out begins December 2008
OCEANS -- Nearly three-quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans. French co-directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have set out to capture the full expanse of these waters that have played such a crucial and constant role in the history and sustenance of man. The deep and abundant oceans are places of great mysteries and dangers that this film will dare to explore. Domestic release 2010
ORANGUTANS: One Minute to Midnight – Directed by Charlie Hamilton James and produced by Frédéric Fougea, this film tells the true story of a six-year-old male orangutan and his little sister, who must take an incredible journey to find a home and a family. Worldwide release 2010
BIG CATS – Audiences will get to meet three mothers – a lioness, a leopard and a cheetah – as they explore their world on the great plains of Africa. Co-directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill and produced by Alix Tidmarsh, this film will show how these magnificent animals survive on their power and their cunning, while they protect and teach their cubs the ways of the wild. Worldwide release 2011
NAKED BEAUTY: A Love Story that Feeds the Earth – In this film, nature is ready for its close-up … a very close-up, as exacting macro photography takes us to the realm of flowers and their pollinators. Acclaimed filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg introduces us to a bat, a hummingbird, a butterfly and a bumblebee, demonstrating their intricate interdependence and how life on earth depends on the success of these determined, diminutive creatures. Naked Beauty is produced by Blacklight Films and Alix Tidmarsh. Worldwide release 2011
CHIMPANZEE -- Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield co-direct this intimate look at the world of chimpanzees, with Christophe Boesch, head of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, serving as principal consultant and Alix Tidmarsh as producer. To be shot over three years in the tropical jungles of the Ivory Coast and Uganda, Chimpanzee will help us better understand this exceptionally intelligent species. Worldwide release 2012
About Jean-François Camilleri:
After beginning his career working in France with Warner Bros. International, which at the time distributed Disney films overseas, Camilleri came to Los Angeles in 1990 to work for Disney’s Buena Vista International (BVI). When Disney took over its own overseas distribution, he returned to Paris to help develop BVI’s offices in Europe. He then became in 1997 Vice President and general Manager for Gaumont BVI France. In 2004, BVI opened an office dedicated solely to the French market, with Camilleri as senior vice president and general manager. In this position, he also developed local co-productions and acquisitions, including The March Of The Penguins, which became the most successful French film ever in the US and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. He will be serving as executive vice president and general manager of Disneynature.
About the filmmakers (in order of films):
Alastair Fothergill joined the BBC’s esteemed Natural History Unit in 1983, where, among many projects, he produced films with Sir David Attenborough. He served as head of the Natural History Unit from 1992-1998, when he chose to step down to work full-time on the award-winning Blue Planet. From 2002-2006, Fothergill was series producer of the landmark Planet Earth. He has entered a multi-picture deal with Disneynature.
Mark Linfield has had a prolific career, producing and directing many award-winning films, including The Battles of Braveheart, Orangutans: The High Society, The Temple Troop and The Life of Mammals with Sir David Attenborough. His most recent work has been the multi-award award winning Capuchins: The Monkey Puzzle and two episodes of Planet Earth, including the opening show, Pole to Pole, which won several Emmys.
Matthew Aeberhard worked with famed naturalist and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick on the feature films The Leopard Son and Serengeti Symphony before helming his own films on such subjects as golden jackals and baboons for National Geographic.
Leander Ward first encountered flamingos while filming in Mexico. He was cameraman on the BBC documentary Cape Buffalo: The African Boss, where he met Matthew Aeberhard and the two began developing the film that will become The Crimson Wing.
Academy Award nominee, Jacques Perrin, is a prolific French actor, director and producer. In 1968, he produced at age 27, the landmark film, 'Z'. In 2003, he produced the acclaimed film LES CHORISTES: both films were nominated for Best Foreign Film Academy Award. He also produced two of the most important natural history films ever made: MICROCOSMOS in 1996 and THE WINGED MIGRATION in 2001 which he also directed. Both received numerous awards around the world. Since 2005, he has been producing and co-directing Oceans.
Jacques Cluzaud is one of the leading French filmmakers working with innovative new cinematic technologies. In addition to traditional productions, he has created films for such formats as IMAX, water screens and a giant wall consisting of 850 monitors. While co-directing Oceans, he is also developing new technologies for sea and underwater shooting.
Charlie Hamilton James began his career as a wildlife filmmaker at age 16, working on David Attenborough's Trails of Life. He went on to serve as a cameraman working on such prestigious BBC productions as Life of Mammals, Wildlife on One, Andes to Amazon, Big Cat Diary and Planet Earth. At 26, James produced his first film with his wife Philippa Forrester – My Halcyon River – which won numerous international awards and elicited more requests for repeats than any other film in the BBC's history.
Frédéric Fougea is a nature documentarian and producer who has received more than 100 awards, including an International Emmy Award, Best Film at the European Nature Film Festival and the Gold Medal at the New York Film Festival. Among his provocative films are The Rise of Man, A Species Odyssey, The Fabulous Adventure of Man and Animal and Yeti, The Call of the Snowman.
Keith Scholey was born in Tanzania and raised in East Africa until his teens. He has returned to Africa to make a wide range of films, including Leopard: A Darkness in the Grass, The Great Rift and Big Cat Diary. He succeeded Alastair Fothergill as head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit from 1998 until 2003, being responsible for a wide range of award-winning films, including two David Attenborough productions and The Blue Planet. He is currently the Controller of Factual Production, responsible for all the BBC’s factual productions.
Louie Schwartzberg, as a director and cinematographer, has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. His time-lapse, nature and aerial photography has brought audiences images never captured before. He has directed award-winning documentaries for National Geographic, The Hallmark Channel, The Discovery Channel and PBS, and his work has been featured in theatrical films ranging from War of the Worlds and Crash to American Beauty and E.T. In 2004, he produced and directed the award-winning Walt Disney Pictures release, America’s Heart & Soul.
For more updates on the newest production banner of The Walt Disney Studios, go to www.disney.com/nature (domestic) and www.disneynature.com (international).
More to follow...