Unless you’ve been living under a rock (instead of living on one), you’ve no doubt heard of the latest venture from the newly formed Disneynature label, EARTH, to be released this Earth Day, April 22. But EARTH, as it turns out, is not actually the first film from Disneynature, but actually just the first film to be released in North America. The actual title of first film belongs to a documentary called The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos.
Shot over a period of year, co-directors Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward camped out near the shores of Lake Natron in Tanzania where millions of flamingos are born, fall in love and die in sights in a spectacular view few have ever seen. Estimates suggest that 75% of all of the world’s lesser flamingos are born right at the lake which has several unique attributes that lend itself to be the perfect home for the flamingos.
Making use of technology, the filmmakers were also able to step foot on an island in the middle of the lake, the first humans known to do so, giving them exclusive access to the life of the lake’s inhabitants. Also captured on film was the eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai, the first in forty years.
The lake is at the heart of a controversy involving plans to build a nearby soda ash factory which activists claim will bring an end to this nature spectacle. You can read more about it here.
More information and a trailer for the film after the jump:
The film boasts a soundtrack by jazz and electric music artists The Cinematic Orchestra. Criticized for having an exceptionally light and fantasy-oriented narration, the film is also cited for being an artists’ masterpiece.
The film’s creators were inspired to approach Disney about funding the project after the commercial success of March of the Penguins which few realize was actually co-produced by Disney. Distribution of the film was handled by Warner Brothers in the United States, however, not Disney (who handled distribution in the film’s origin of France).
Here’s a look at the trailer for the film:
Crimson Wing has been released already in France and some parts of Europe, but it will of course be eclipsed by the debut of EARTH.
Disneynature plans on releasing at least one film a year. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the projects already lined up (with some already in production):
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.