Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Walt Disney Follow's The "Green" and Launches Nature Documentary Division

--film + television + print--

Nothing convinces big corporate players to undertake mindful initiatives like simply, the dollar. Business is business and the bottom line can never ultimately be renegotiated. But where there is a demand there is a supply, and if the demand is for something socially redeemable, the forces that be will find a way to get it to you. A perfect example of this is Walt Disney Company's announcement this week that they are launching a new film division focusing on nature documentaries. These days Disney is less synonymous with Bambi than with High School Musical and Hannah Montana - so what gives? The Burbank based giant simply "followed the green" (in every sense of the word).

The company seems to want to capitalize on growing public fondness for all things green since the 2006 success of Al Gore's global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." And the hire of Jean-Francois Camilleri,who co-produced the Oscar winning worldwide sensation "March of the Penguins," points to the studio's method to bring the guy with the Midas touch into the mix.

"Our goal is to bring event films, as only nature can tell, to audiences around the world and for generations to come," Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, said in unveiling the production banner on the Disney lot in Burbank.

The first project from the new venture appropriately name Disneynature is slated for release on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, and is titled "Earth," adapted from the popular BBC television series "Planet Earth." Other films in the Disneynature development slate include "Chimpanzee" and "Big Cats," both set in Africa and co-directed by Fothergill; a look at flamingos titled "The Crimson Wing"; the undersea exploration "Oceans," from French co-directors Jacques Perrin ("The Winged Migration") and Jacques Cluzaud; and a time-lapse spectacle of flowering plants, "Naked Beauty: A Love that Feeds the Earth."

This is of course great news for not only nature loves, documentary enthusiasts, environmentalists and parents, but ultimately kids who will be able to experience the drama, splendor and humor of the natural world that can rival the entire Disney channel adolescent line up. But beyond the good news is a powerful lesson.

We often complain of the lack of products and services that adhere to a more conscious way of living. But in order to convince companies that what we want is valuable we must prove to them by simply generating sales. Its up to us as conscious consumers to seek out products that we believe in and buy them and recommend them to others. Nothing speaks like profits. Had Disney not seen a financial upside in nature documentaries no good sentiment would have moved the business forward. Beyond wanting quality products in the market, we must realize that we are, weather we realize it or not, consumer activists making our voices heard with our every dollar spent. What are your purchasing decisions saying ?

Good for Disney on making the move - now it will be up to us, to prove them right.

For more information on Disneynature, go to their SITE

Here is the trailer for Disneynature's first release next year, "Earth" from award-winning British producer/director Alastair Fothergill, whose credits include the Emmy and Peabody award-winning "Planet Earth" series (BBC and The Discovery Channel) and "The Blue Planet."

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