Disney Studios has launched a new film label called Disneynature, a production banner that will produce big screen nature documentaries.
The announcement was made by studio chairman Dick Cook. The significance of the new banner goes beyond the studio, with the Walt Disney Co. 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 scheduled for a domestic release under the new label is Earth from award winning British producer/ director Alastair Fothergill. To his credit are works such as the Planet Earth series for the BBC, 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 the viewer on a tour of the home planet. 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.
Robert A Iger, president and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Co., says, "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. 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."
Cook adds, "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." Several more Disneynature projects are currently under way.