I was recently fortunate enough, because of my association with Got2BeGreen, to be able to sit in on a call with Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, the award-winning directors from Disneynature. They were both involved with the television series Planet Earth and co-directed the forthcoming feature film Earth. Earth is a companion piece to the Planet Earth series, and was filmed concurrently, but the film contains mostly footage that was not seen during the television program.
Both Fothergill and Linfield came across as men who believe very strongly in the environmental messages contained in what they are doing, but they were also quite enthusiastic and obviously found great joy in their work. The directors seemed to comprehend that they had to walk a fine line, to keep the film from being either heavy-handed or too light-hearted, but rather keep it as realistic and true to nature as possible. Each man had his favorite animal and his favorite location for filming and each seemed moved by what they were able to witness.
The directors said that over the course of the 5 years it took to make the movie, they knew the helicopters and airplanes necessary for taking footage of this type has had an environmental impact, but that they had reduced the impact in every other way that they could do, from a bare bones crew to using sustainable products to reduce waste. Linfield and Fothergill both stated that they also hope that the positive impact on the planet from the message in Earth would ultimately outweigh any negative impact the filming had had.
There will unquestionably be a positive impact on the planet from the movie, too, even in the rare event that no one who sees it were to change his or her behavior. Disney has stated that for every ticket purchased for Earth during its first week of release in the United States, a tree will be planted in the North Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil, a highly threatened ecological area. Disney is also committed to looking after those trees “long-term” after they are planted.
Earth, which is narrated by James Earl Jones, will premiere in theatres on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. It is the first film for the new Disneynature label. The different conservation and science organizations that assisted the crew during filming can be found on the Disneynature website, as well as additional information on the movie, the tree planting initiative and on purchasing tickets in your area.