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

Like Disneynature on Facebook:

Follow Disneynature on Twitter:

Follow Disneynature on Instagram:

Visit the official BORN IN CHINA website:

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

Big Hero 6: Thoughts From the Cast & Creators

Big Hero 6: Thoughts From the Cast & Creators

By Mindy Marzec

Last month I had the great privilege to see a screening of “Big Hero 6” and attend a press junket with some of the film’s creators and voice actors. It was a fun afternoon at the Disney studios in Burbank, CA, and I want to thank Erin at Horsing Around in L.A. for the experience! My review of the film is coming up, but first I wanted to introduce you to some of the creative geniuses behind “Big Hero 6,” then be on the look out for the scoop on the short film that runs before it, called “Feast,” tomorrow!


First we got a little background about how the film was made from Don Hall (Director), Chris Williams (Director), and Roy Conli (Producer). They were asked about how the project came to be and how similar it is to the original Marvel comic of “Big Hero 6.”

Don: “The project came from my love of comic books. It was a dream project to take these things (Disney and comics) and combine them. We inquired about the project because I liked the title, found out it was a Japanese super hero team and then became more intrigued, then actually read the comics and got really intrigued. And so when we met with Marvel and said, ‘We want to do Big Hero 6,’ they loved it, they loved the idea we were going to do, and they said ‘don’t worry about setting it in the Marvel universe. Do your own thing. Use your own creative and create your own world.” So then we created San Fransokyo, because that’s what we do first, right off the bat, what’s the world we’re dealing with here? We love fantasy and we do fantasy very well, and so we wanted to create a fantasy world. That’s what led to this mash up of San Fransokyo. We wanted this world to not be super powered beings walking around, there’s a reality to this world. And then super technology became everybody’s super power. So a lot of these little decisions took us farther away from the comic book.”


What about criticism from Marvel fans?

Don: “One thing about our process is, no matter what story you think you’re going to tell when you start out, it is going to be something else by the end. That’s just the way it is. (Changing the story) was always going to be that way. I will say that Duncan Rouleau, who is one of the co-creators of the original comic, just saw (the film) and loved it.” 

Continue reading »