The DisneyNature studio label has shifted from theatrical release to Disney+. That’s perfect for this uncommon time when we all find ourselves sequestered at home. Two new films, “Elephant” and “Dolphin Reef” will both debut on the streaming service next month.
As it turns out April is Earth Month, which makes it the perfect time for DisneyNature to release its next two films. Meghan Markle, aka The Duchess of Sussex, narrates Disneynature’s ‘Elephant’ and Natalie Portman is narrating Disneynature’s ‘Dolphin Reef.” Both films will be available to stream starting April 3rd on Disney+.
Watch the trailer for both films here:
Following its theatrical release last year, the Disneynature film “Penguins” will also make it’s Disney+ debut on April 3.
For those of you who love behind-the-camera bonus features, which are often just as informative as the actual documentary, the Earth Month collection on Disney+ will also contain additional Disneynature titles premiering on the service on April 3 including “In the Footsteps of Elephant,” “A Life on the Edge” and “Diving with Dolphins” which provides insight into the unique filmmaking process of all three films.
These captivating films will join an already expansive collection of animal and nature titles highlighted throughout the month including National Geographic’s “America’s National Parks,” “Wild Yellowstone,” “The Flood,” “JANE,” “Before the Floods,” “Planet of the Birds,” “Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures,” “Kingdom of the White Wolf,” “Tree Climbing Lions,” Hostile Planet” and “Wild Russia.”
Directed by Mark Linfield, co-directed by Vanessa Berlowitz and Alastair Fothergill, and produced by Mark Linfield, Vanessa Berlowitz and Roy Conli, “Elephant” follows African elephant Shani and her spirited son Jomo as their herd make an epic journey hundreds of miles across the vast Kalahari Desert.
Led by their great matriarch, Gaia, the family faces brutal heat, dwindling resources and persistent predators, as they follow in their ancestor’s footsteps on a quest to reach a lush, green paradise.
In recognition of “Elephant,” Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund are supporting Elephants Without Borders (EWB), an organization working in Botswana to ensure people and elephants thrive. Elephants Without Borders works on strategies to protect Botswana’s elephant haven, helping to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, economic development, and solutions that either redirect elephant migration away from people, or provide communities with tools that help to protect themselves and their properties when elephants are nearby.
Elephants without Borders is an organization that Megan and Harry have long supported. EWB posted a message to Instagram sharing their appreciation for the film and the royal couple’s support. Here are a few excerpts:
“Elephants Without Borders (EWB) is delighted to be involved with the Disneynature Film “Elephant” and to help share the amazing story of elephants. EWB extends enormous gratitude to the Disney Conservation Fund for choosing our organization as the beneficiary for the film, enabling support for communities living alongside many of the elephants featured in the film.”
“Harry and Meghan’s dedication to conservation is inspiring. Together, we will continue to work to conserve Africa’s natural heritage, with a focus on empowering the people who coexist with elephants. Everyone at EWB is grateful for their friendship and their unwavering support of our efforts to conserve this iconic species.”
“Harry and Meghan have both visited us in Botswana, and have no doubt that their passion and dedication will mean they continue to use their platform to make our world a better place. Thank you Meghan, because of you, this film brings knowledge and information to a global audience which in turn brings them closer to elephants. The impact will be global, reaching schools, more homes and more countries.”
“Dolphin Reef” dives under the sea to frolic with some of the planet’s most engaging animals: dolphins. Created with Disneynature’s signature storytelling style, the film introduces Echo, a young Pacific bottlenose dolphin who can’t quite decide if it’s time to grow up and take on new responsibilities.
Dolphin society is tricky, and the coral reef that Echo and his family call home depends on all of its inhabitants to keep it healthy. But Echo has a tough time resisting the many adventures the ocean has to offer. Keith Scholey, who directed Disneynature’s “Bears,” helms the film.
Disney has a long history of supporting oceans and marine life around the world. Grants from the Disney Conservation Fund and expertise from Disney Conservation Team Wildlife have helped leading conservation organizations and communities to establish coral nurseries to help to re-grow their damaged reefs, build fisheries that save fish and provide local job opportunities, rescue stranded dolphins, and inspire children to explore and protect coastlines, reefs and other marine habitats.
Remember, when Walt Disney World completes its reopening after the coronavirus related closures, you can see both Elephants and Dolphins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and EPCOT respectively.