Earth Day is coming up later this week, and what better way to celebrate than with the new movie Chimpanzee from Disney/Disneynature — in theaters on April 20.
Chimpanzee is a true-life adventure deep in the forests of Africa, featuring an adorable young chimpanzee named Oscar and his chimpanzee community. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. When Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself — until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever.
Directed by Alastair Fothergill (African Cats and Earth) and Mark Linfield (Earth), the footage is both astonishing and heartwarming. Somehow the filmmakers managed to capture this incredible story as it unfolded in the jungle, and, as narrated by Tim Allen, it’s an engaging story for all ages.
Being one of those people who loves to read movie-making trivia, we were fascinated to learn more about the filming process. (While you’re watching it, you feel so much like you’re in the moment that you forget that there were filmmakers and cameras involved.) Some fun facts about the filming include:
- Making Chimpanzee took more than 700 days of filming.
- Getting to the forest where the chimpanzee tribe lived took two days, including a 14-hour drive along bumpy dirt roads where the car would frequently break down miles away from the nearest village. The crew would then carry all the equipment on an hour-long walk to camp.
- Before filming, the crew had to spend eight days in quarantine to ensure that they did not bring diseases into the forest that could be transmitted to the chimpanzees. They wore masks while filming.
- While filming, the crew had to stay at least 23 feet away from the chimpanzees. If a chimpanzee looked at them, it meant they were too close.
- During filming, the crew suffered bee stings, ant bites, a lightning strike, and the constant threat of snakes and predators.
One last reason to go and see the movie: For everyone who sees Chimpanzee during opening week (April 20-April 26), Disneynature will contribute $.20 per ticket to the Jane Goodall Institute for the Disneynature Tchimpounga Nature Reserve Project with a minimum of $100,000 pledged to this program.
In the meantime, go ahead and enjoy this fun little clip from the movie: