Production Information (Cont'd)
Filmmakers wanted to showcase Antarctica's expansive setting. "We wanted a
helicopter aerial to give a sense of the amazing scenery around Antarctica,"
Fothergill, who accompanied aerial cinematographer Ted Giffords and field
Jason Roberts and to the Phantom Coast. "I'm pretty certain helicopters have
flown over these areas because they're so remote. We got a wonderful variety of
scenery that appears all the way through the film."
According to editor Andy Netley, the aerial imagery is a highlight of the
film. "There are
big, sweeping aerials of the male Adelies marching out on the ice," he says.
quite cinematic. It's just terrific seeing it on the big screen. Magic."
For Wilson, who's probably spent more time in Adelie colonies than any other
in the world, telling their story is both a dream and a nightmare-in the best
way. "It's sometimes filled with dread and always filled with awe," he says.
amongst 500,000 screaming penguins, in 24-hour daylight, often for 30-hour days
(because you can), hauling more than 65 pounds of gear with temps dipping to 13
below (F) is mentally very challenging. Trying to develop a character story in
conditions takes focus and resolve. But more important than the achievement of
capture of the film is the fact that when I have shown the film to my boys, the
of delight, the stomach-originating guffaws and the endless questions about
doing something like this worthwhile. It is still hard to believe that I get
paid to make my
kids excited about the natural world. That's a double win."
DISNEYNATURE'S CONSERVATION TRADITION CONTINUES
Moviegoers Who See "Penguins" to Benefit Penguins Around the Globe
For every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2019), Disneynature will
donation to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) to help protect penguins
the southern hemisphere. "People love penguins," says Dr. Pablo Borboroglu,
and president of the Global Penguin Society (GPS). "We feel attracted and
connected to them. Maybe it is because they walk upright, or just because they
and cuddly. Perhaps it is their tendency to waddle, or just because they look so
well-dressed that we identify with them. Or it could be that we feel attracted by
to their partners and offspring, because they have to make a living, provide for
chicks and commute to find food.
Founded in 2002, WCN invests in a select network of on-the-ground
including top experts in the field of penguins like the GPS. The worldwide
science-based penguin conservation, GPS champions specific programs that align
Disneynature's conservation mission. "For example, one of our aims is to track
species of penguins' movements across four continents in the southern seas,"
Borboroglu. "Penguins swim thousands of kilometers to migrate and look for food.
they encounter during their journeys determines their survival, affects the
their species and informs science and conservation action. We are also dedicated
cleaning plastics from the beaches,
breeding areas and seas impacting
penguin populations. Campaigns to
clean up beaches around penguin
colonies along selected coastal sectors
will help secure a healthy and safe
habitat for penguins."
"Disneynature has an amazing platform,"
says Charles Knowles, president and cofounder of WCN. "They're able to reach
a global audience in a way that we can
hardly fathom. They are uniquely
positioned to tell the real story of
penguins and the challenges they face.
By teaming up with Disneynature-
which is so strongly aligned with our own
mission-we are able to uniquely
communicate about the species we care
so much about.
"We should care about penguins
because they are to oceans what
canaries are to coal mines," continues
Knowles. "They tell us about the health
of our oceans because that's where their
food source is. If oceans are not healthy
enough to sustain penguins, they're not
going to be healthy enough to sustain
The WCN's mission is to protect endangered wildlife by supporting
ensure wildlife and people co-exist and thrive. WCN invests in a select network
of on-the-ground conservationists, offering the financial resources, tools and
need to effectively protect wildlife. WCN also creates large-scale Crisis and
Funds, investing in projects that can protect a threatened species across its
habitat. As no one organization or person can save wildlife alone, WCN
collaboration, connecting conservationists and supporters and creating a
united in a passion for wildlife. Learn more about WCN's unique approach to
wildlife and the work of our conservation partners at wildnet.org.
HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE
Harry Gregson-Williams' Score and 1980s Songs Help Bring Steve's Story to
Disneynature is known for its unique storytelling style, and a major aspect of
storytelling is the music. "Penguins" takes it up a notch or two with a
dares moviegoers not to smile. "The music is twofold," says director Jeff
tone of the film is driven by drawing from a genre of music that should speak to
parent, regardless of whether you're an uber-cool parent or not."
According to Wilson, filmmakers turned to Steve to help populate the film
that serve as his tonal motif. "We say that Steve has chosen the songs because
are the kind of tracks that are playing in Steve's mind when he's wandering
colony, trying to find the stones, or when he's out there trying to get food for
The penguin-approved songs hail from the 1980s and include "Stir It Up" by
Patti LaBelle, "Can't Fight This Feeling" by R.E.O Speedwagon, "Work to Do" by
Average White Band, and "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake.
"Harry Gregson-Williams has written a massive orchestral score," says
Fothergill. "He's done an amazing job. It's a wonderful combination of intimate
amusing with big epic landscape-type pieces and we're pretty happy."
Adds producer Roy Conli, "Harry is an amazing artist. The spirit of the music
in this film
is flawless. It carried a significant weight and helps drive our story."
The score was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, utilizing a large
orchestra and a choir. Says Gregson-Williams, "It has a wide range of
mischievous and humorous for the young and rather clumsy Steve when we meet him,
to epic and awe-inspiring to reflect the extraordinary landscape and environment
these penguins live in."
The composer created individualized thematic material for Steve, Adeline, the
and predators like the leopard seals. Additional themes represent the changing
seasons as well as a central theme for the penguins as a whole. "The music in a
Disneynature film can be critical-just as it might be in a mainstream feature,
perhaps more so in this instance," says Gregson-Williams. "Given the fact that
is told via a single voice, the narrator, the music has to play a large part in
The orchestral score also features ukuleles, a saxophone quartet, guitars and
percussion. "The melody for the penguins' march was whistled by the choir, who
found themselves doing more than just singing on this score," says Gregson-Williams.
For "Penguins," the power of music is best summed up by the early directive
Gregson-Williams. "Alastair Fothergill wasted no time in pointing out to me that
penguins don't smile. They can't. So a lot of the fun and color had to come from
ABOUT THE NARRATOR
As an actor, writer and comedian, ED HELMS (Narrator) has established himself
one of Hollywood's most beloved performers with scene-stealing roles on both
His latest film, "Corporate Animals," co-starring Demi Moore, recently
premiered at the
Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Screen Media for a summer 2019
release. Helms produced the film under his production banner, Pacific Electric
Co., which he founded in 2012 with Mike Falbo. Pacific Electric also produced
Comedy Central special "The Fake News with Ted Nelms," a subversive, apolitical
show satire, hosted by a guy who kind of looks like Ed Helms. The special was
honored with the Writers Guild of America Award for the best comedy/variety
special. Among his diverse list of credits, Helms is known for his tenure on
award-winning comedy series "The Office," and the box office smash-hit film
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