Disneynature starts up two new films

Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill directing 'African Cats'

CANNES -- Disneynature, the studio's new film label, has begun production on two feature-length nature films, "Chimpanzee" and "African Cats: Kingdom of Courage."

The new productions, announced by Disneynature executive vp and GM Jean-Francois Camilleri, extends the banner's relationship with filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, who directed Disneynature's first release, "Earth," which bowed stateside in April and has grossed $29.1 million.

"Cats" is being directed by Keith Scholey and Fothergill for worldwide release beginning in 2011. It focuses on two families of African cats and is being shot in Kenya's Masai Mara. Scholey and Alix Tidmarsh are producing for Big Cat Prods.

"Chimpanzee" is being written and directed by Fothergill and Linfield for a worldwide theatrical rollout beginning in 2012. It will revolve around a group of chimps living in the rainforests of the Ivory Coast and Uganda. It will be produced by Tidmarsh and Fothergill in association with the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute.

Disneynature's second release in the U.S. is "Oceans," from French co-directors Jacques Perrin ("Winged Migration") and Jacques Cluzaud, which is scheduled for release next year on Earth Day.