Disneynature’s True-Life Adventures have engaged, inspired and educated theatrical audiences since The Walt Disney Studios introduced the label in 2008—from Earth in 2009 to the brand-new Born in China, opening April 21—and with the release of each film, Disneynature has invited moviegoers to join Disney as conservation partners.
Working with the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), every Disneynature film supports a conservation project through donations tied to opening week attendance. And these contributions have been made to a host of conservation initiatives around the world. Through Disneynature’s six releases to date, Disney, in partnership with leading environmental organizations, has supported efforts to plant 3 million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest; protected 60,000 acres of savanna in Kenya; established 40,000 acres of marine protected area in The Bahamas; protected nearly 130,000 acres of wild chimpanzee habitat, cared for chimpanzees and educated 60,000 school children in the Congo; supported habitat restoration projects across 400,000 acres of U.S. National Parks and protected 1 million acres of habitat across Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia. This year, the opening week of Born in China’s release supports the World Wildlife Fund’s protection of wild pandas and snow leopards.
A special introduction that will be shown before Disneynature’s Born in China (an online version of which can be viewed below) highlights Disney’s amazing legacy of wildlife stories and raises awareness of the Company’s commitment to conservation supported by the DCF and driven forward with the Disneynature film series. “We want everyone to understand how deep our conservation roots run at The Walt Disney Company,” Kim Sams, director, Corporate Citizenship, says of the introduction, and she also stresses the importance of Disneynature’s mission. “It’s one thing to provide inspiring and exciting content, and it’s another thing to make sure that you’re offering a way for viewers to have an impact, as well.”
The ongoing partnership with DCF is extremely valuable, helping Disneynature to identify the right environmental organization for each conservation initiative and define the program to ensure it aligns with the themes of the film, says Paul Baribault, a vice president at Walt Disney Studios and a key executive at Disneynature. “We work with them to develop in-depth, high-quality and innovative programs that achieve meaningful impact which everybody—both within the Company and external audiences—can be proud of,” he explains.
Baribault has met with numerous representatives of environmental organizations who point to their childhood viewings of the original True-Life Adventures, launched by Walt Disney himself, as what inspired them in their chosen career paths. “When you hear that from within the group that are leaders in conservation, you realize the power of this content, that it can make a big difference with families,” he states.
As audiences see the special introduction, Baribault hopes it inspires them as it underscores Disney’s continued commitment to conservation. “A few years ago, we had a special introduction that showed audiences all the conservation work they achieved by simply coming to see our Disneynature films over the years,” he says. “It’s great this year to remind them that they’re not only supporting panda and snow leopard conservation, but that Disney has been inspired by nature from the beginning—and the Company is committed to supporting strong conservation work every day.”