Born in China with Fun Facts From Producer Roy Conli

Born in China with Fun Facts From Producer Roy Conli

By Erin

Disneynature’s latest gem Born in China, features epic beauty, hidden majesty and endless wonder. It centers around the families of three native species; snow leopards, pandas, and golden snub-nosed monkeys. Already having great acclaim and box-office success in China, it is now open today for U.S. audiences to join in on all the wonder and amazement this film has to offer. We had the amazing opportunity to chat with the movie’s producer Roy Conli to learn how the production crew got the film’s majestic nature footage, and why this was such an important project to him. He shared many fun and interesting facts with us about the film. Take a look below to see some of my favorite things that I learned about Born in China & Roy Conli.

Producer Roy Conli attends the New York Premeire Of Disneynature’s “Born In China” at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on April 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images or Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

 Roy Conli: joined Disney in 1993 and co-produced “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and went over to Paris to run the Paris studio in 1995, where he completed portions of “Hunchback.” He also worked on “Hercules” and “Tarzan” over there, and then came back in 1998 to work on “Treasure Planet,”“Tangled”, and then “Big Hero 6,” which came out in 2014 which was a lot of fun for him, as he won a big award.

“Born in China” is the seventh theatrical release for Disneynature, the first new Disney-branded film label from The Walt Disney Studios in more than 60 years. Born in China is narrated by John Krasinski.

 Shane Moore, the cinematographer for the snow leopards, spent 253 hours shooting over four trips, over six seasons. He was living in a little, uninsulated shack next to a monastery in the Quinghai Plateau. He and his very small team would leave before dawn and get back after dark, and shoot straight for the length of their Visas.

 Since they were coming in on journalistic Visas, they would have to leave after three months. The first shot of the snow leopard was at 90 days into his first stay. He had to leave the day after he got his first shot. But it’s a testament to the perseverance and professionalism these guys have. They track these animals and get to understand their movement and start to understand the thought process, their habits and customs as well.

 Pandas are incredibly isolated and they don’t like a lot of companionships around them, and they’re also 800-pound animals. So a mother panda with her cub can be somewhat intimidating and dangerous. What the cinematographers and the crew did was wear panda suits and they would put panda scent on them. As you build a relationship with these animals, and those animals see that you are not a danger, then they start getting closer and closer.

Description: Cinematographer Justin Maguire filming golden snub-nosed monkeys.

 The monkeys were the easiest to film. They just wanted to play with the cameras.

 Roy Conli told us about the importance of letting nature take its course while filming and “The Pinocchio Factor”–Amazing and frightening experiences that show life as it is and how children can handle more than we give them credit for.

One Last thing Roy Conli wanted everyone to know was to make sure to see the film this first week, when it first comes out. “Disney does something, and they’ve done it on every Disneynature release that I can remember: a portion of the proceeds from that first week is going to the World Wildlife Fund, and specifically targeted toward panda and snow leopards, in terms of the protection of those populations. We always say that Disneynature is a title that is there to educate, that is there to inspire, and then that is there to entertain. And in this particular case, it’s also there to serve. The work that Disneynature has done over the last ten years has helped protect 130,000 acres of chimpanzee reserve, create 65,000 acres of plain land for cats in Kenya, 400,000 acres protected in the U.S. National Park system, a 40,000 acre marine reserve in the Bahamas, protection of endangered monkeys in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, three million trees planted in the Amazon, in Brazil. This work is really, really important and it’s one of the greatest things that Disneynature provides. The World Wildlife Fund, in this particular instance, is going to be the beneficiary of that. And it’s going to help protect those populations for generations.”

Help protect snow leopards and pandas with Disneynature’s Born in China!

China is home to many iconic species and the WWF works to protect them, including giant pandas and snow leopards like the ones we see in the film. Premiering today, Born in China brings them to the big screen—and for every ticket sold in participating markets through April 27, Disneynature will make a donation to support WWF’s work in China. How awesome is that?? Happy Earth Day! 🙂

Character: Red-Crowned Cranes

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BORN IN CHINA is rated G and is in theatres everywhere NOW!

Celebrate Earth Day with Born in China!

Celebrate Earth Day with Born in China!

By Erin

Disneynature movies are so magical. I learn so much about the animals on our planet by watching them as they take us to places we would otherwise never be able to get to on our own. Disneynature proudly presents, Born in China, opening in theaters everywhere this Friday, April 21st. A breathtakingly gorgeous film that will have you in complete awe; Born in China follows the heartfelt, hilarious, and all too real adventures of three animal families: a panda bear and her cub, a snow leopard and her two cubs and a golden monkey and his family.

Born in Nature is brilliantly narrated by John Krasinski (“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” NBC’s “The Office,” “Amazon’s “Jack Ryan”), Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure film “Born in China” takes audiences on an epic and exciting journey into the wilds of China where few people have ever ventured.  Following the stories of three animal families, the film transports moviegoers to some of the world’s most extreme environments to witness wildly intimate moments in the lives of these animals, whose day-to-day endeavors are both captivating and comical. A proud panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A  curious 2-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey, who feels displaced by his new baby sister, joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard—an elusive animal rarely seen by human eyes—faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on Earth. This is the perfect film to go out and see on Earth Day! Or any other day of the year really, if you are as much of an animal lover as I am.

Character: Dawa and her cub – Snow Leopard

 The first family we will meet here, is the snow leopard. China’s Qinghai Plateau, the highest mountain plateau on Earth, is home to the stunning and elusive snow leopard. Experts estimate that there as few as 4,000 snow leopards left in Central Asia’s high mountains. We watch the story of Dawa unfold, she is a mother snow leopard who has to fight to provide for her cubs and the environment where she lives in is harsh and unforgiving. At more than 15,000 feet above sea level, Dawa’s world is decidedly inhospitable making food scarce and surviving with two cubs is a difficult task. Having to protect her territory from other snow leopards, makes it even more of a challenge. Winter temps are bitterly cold, precipitation comes largely in the form of hailstorms and limited vegetation provides little relief from winds that can exceed 40 miles per hour. This mother snow leopard is truly a creature of majesty. And it’s instantly evident just how important this mother’s cubs are to her. Your heart will go out to this brave and courageous family as you watch the hardships they endure.

Character: Dawa’s cub – Snow Leopard

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

By Erin

The day that’s been long-awaited is finally here. The classic tale of “Beauty and the Beast” – and its empowering message that true beauty comes from within – dates back to 18th century France and the first published version of the fairy tale, “La Belle et la Bête,” by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Today the story continues to enthrall storytellers, resulting in countless interpretations across all forms of media. One of Disney’s most treasured titles, this new live-action adaptation version is just as spellbindingly romantic as it is comedic and tells the unforgettable tale of love and friendship that transports readers to a magical fairy tale world where good triumphs over evil.

Enchanting audiences once again, and Emma Watson says it nicely, “Any time I hear music from ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ it connects me with that childlike feeling that everything is going to be okay and that there’s hope in the world, and it just gives me this sense that everything’s fine.”

By now I think most of us have seen the animated version of the film, so you already know what to expect and what will ultimately happen so I want to leave you with some fun facts about this new version and what new things to look out for.

*New songs!* The live-action version of Beauty and the Beast will still have the songs you know and love, but  there are a few new tunes as well. Composer Alan Menken, who worked on the original Beauty and the Beast with the late Howard Ashman, penned three new songs for the movie with composer Tim Rice. So look for these new numbers, “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” “For Evermore,” and “Days in the Sun.” Some of the original lyrics written by Howard Ashman for the songs “Gaston” and “Beauty and the Beast” that were not used in the animated film have been added to the live-action adaptation.

*So many Red Roses!* Approximately 1,500 red roses were grown or purchased during production for use as research or set decoration.

*Horse Doubles?*  Philippe, Belle (Emma Watson) and Maurice’s (Kevin Kline) horse, is played by three different horses, two of which had to be painted on a daily basis.

*The Enchanted Forest* Surrounds the Beast’s castle and features real trees, hedges, a frozen lake and 20,000 icicles, took 15 weeks to complete.

*The Ballroom Floor* Beast’s castle has a ballroom floor made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble and its design is based on a pattern found on the ceiling of the Benedictine Abbey in Braunau, Germany. The 10 glass chandeliers in the ballroom – each measuring 14 feet by 7 feet – are based on actual chandeliers from Versailles which were then frosted, covered in fabric and candlelit.

*Over 8,700 candles (or 104,400 inches of wax) were used as set decoration during production.

*Belle’s Dress*  Approximately 180 feet of feather light satin organza was used to create Belle’s yellow dress. The dress, which required 3,000 feet of thread and took over 12,000 hours to create, was accentuated with 2,160 Swarovski crystals.

*Emma Watson (Belle), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Nathan Mack (Chip) all share the same birthday, April 14, which was also the date of the cast read through.

*Froufrou, the dog belonging to Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), is played by Gizmo, a rescue from one of the U.K.’s oldest and most famous animal rescue centers.

*The coat of arms in the Beast’s castle is a lion and a boar with a WD anagram (the WD is meant to represent a fictional character, William Devereaux, but could also stand for Walt Disney).

Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful movie filled with some catchy tunes both new and old. Audiences of all ages can enjoy this beloved classic. Be sure to go see it now! I know you’ll love it just as much as I do! Follow the magic at #BeautyAndTheBeast and #BeOurGuest.

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