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  • Disneynature celebrates 15 years with a new film, TIGER.

Disneynature celebrates 15 years with a new film, TIGER.

We chat with the filmmaking team about capturing these beautiful wild animals in the forests of India.

Before that story, here’s what you should also know this week

  • Pixar Fest, the resort-wide celebration of all things Pixar Animation Studios, begins this week at the Disneyland Resort. Here’s an overview of what’s happening including new decor, food and beverage, and nighttime entertainment.

  • DisneylandForward, the billion-dollar expansion plan for Disneyland Resort in California that is due to include a new Avatar land, was approved by the Anaheim City Council in a unanimous 7-0 vote. A secondary and final vote in June is needed before crews break ground.

  • Disney+ debuted a special 30-minute episode of Bluey called The Sign, which has already gained 10.4 million views and making it one of the most viewed episodes of the series and on the platform.

Eye of the [Disneynature] Tiger

Over a decade and a half ago, the Walt Disney Studios launched a film franchise called Disneynature with the goal of giving a new definition to the nature film genre. Now 15 years later, their latest film, Tiger, is cementing in that goal of bringing Disney-branded entertainment value blended with calls for nature conservation.

For Tiger, Disneynature brought back producer Roy Conli who was a producer at Walt Disney Animation Studios to help the filmmaking team. Conli said that since tigers are fierce and dangerous towards humans, photographing and videotaping them in the wild would require special care and technology.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this film when Disneynature first started,” said Conli to us during a virtual interview. “We’re using high-magnification lensing and high-definition cameras that allow us to photograph these magnificent animals from a very safe distance away. Anything closer would pose a great danger to Mark [Linfield], Vanessa [Berlowitz], and the team on the ground,” said Conli.

Director Mark Linfield, who previously worked on many previous films like Monkey Kingdom, Earth, Elephant, and Chimpanzee, was joined by his wife and experienced wildlife photographer Vanessa Berlowtiz as co-director for Tiger.

Both did agree with Conli, adding that the quality of the footage they captured was unlike anything they’ve shot before. “We’ve always strived to create a cinematic experience that equitable to the narrative we’re crafting with our narrator and script,” said Linfield with Berlowitz adding “We were honored to have the most incredible production teams work with us to get those very rare shots of nature and wildlife.”

For this Disneynature film, the teams traveled to India where the largest population of tigers are still living in the wild. In the same spirit, filmmakers also tapped Priyanka Chopra-Jonas to be the narrator of the story that centers around a tiger they photographed they named Ambar, a young tigress raising her cubs in the fabled forests of India. “It’s just wonderful to be able to be a part of something so special and to tell the story of this magnificent animal that comes from my country—I was very honored,” Chopra-Jonas said. “I have always loved tigers and I feel a kinship with the female tiger—I feel very protective of my family. Ambar’s journey is something I think every mom would really relate to,” she continued.

In the film, the cubs—curious, rambunctious and at times a bit clumsy—have a lot to learn from their savvy mother Ambar who will do all she can to keep them safe from pythons, bears and marauding male tigers.

All the filmmaking team did feel, however, that the story of Ambar and her cubs should lead to a conversation about nature conservation. “Like the previous Disneynature films, we love to have heard stories of people who now give of their time and resources to become an advocate of these animals and our planet,” said Mark Linfield.

Roy Conli also pointed to a companion film that was made called Tigers on the Rise, which further explains the conservation efforts that are currently happening in India to grow the number of tigers in the wild there. “These animals were close to no longer being a part of our world, but this effort that we’re seeing [in India] and other places show how much we should and can benefit from living in harmony with wildlife,” Conli said.

Both Disneynature TIGER and TIGERS ON THE RISE debuted on Earth Day this year, April 22, and are now streaming exclusively on Disney+.

STILL TO COME: More inside INSIDE OUT 2 & ALADDIN on Broadway touring company comes to Southern California.

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