Walt Disney Co has launched a new film label charged with producing environmental and wildlife features for the big screen.

And the first Disneynature release, on April 22nd 2009, will be Earth, a movie adaptation of the landmark BBC series Planet Earth.

Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, told Variety the corporation's aim was "to bring event films, as only nature can tell, to audiences around the world and for generations to come".

Disneynature will be run by Jean-Francois Camilleri, a France-based Disney executive who was a co-producer of 2005's Oscar-winning documentary March of the Penguins.

Other upcoming Disneynature films include Africa-set documentaries Chimpanzee and Big Cat, both to be co-directed by British filmmaker Alastair Fothergill, a co-producer of BBC's The Blue Planet.

French directing duo Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud will produce undersea adventure Oceans and Naked Beauty: A Love that Feeds the Earth will use time-lapse photography to reveal the grandeur of flowering plants, Variety reports.

And Earth, to be narrated by James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, will tell a similar story to its BBC predecessor by tracking animal migration patterns - including those of polar bears, humpback whales and elephants - around the world.

With the film taking some 2,000 days to shoot in more than 200 locations, Fothergill said: "Nobody has spent so much time, ever, making a wildlife film.

"Cinema is the place that does justice to the natural world."

22/04/2008 11:03:15