Thanks to Disneynature for the chance to interview Keith Scholey, one of the directors of Disneynature African Cats. African Cats is the third Disneynature film.
Keith Scholey: I think first and foremost you don’t often get to see the African cats on the big screen. When you actually see our movie you see the animals in such great detail, you see the behavior in such great detail, once more you get to hear it, with the surround sound of the cinema, you can really be submerged in the African savanna. So I think that’s one thing, but the second thing is, it’s very much a character-driven drama you actually get to experience these cats in a similar way you would movie stars in a movie. But you get taken through a true-life drama that’s really compelling, I think it has a number of elements that are quite unique.
Me: What lessons will the film teach future generations?
Keith Scholey: The first most import thing is I think to value nature, you have to experience these animals in a way that really excites you. That you really get to understand how beautiful they are but also their way of life but more the challenges wild animals have to face to be able to succeed in the wilderness. And this film I think does this very very well. I think after than what happens after that is you say build up a sense of value for the animals. And value is the starting point of anything that follows in term of conservation.
Keith Scholey: I always view my job as the marketers of the natural world. I think there is a huge danger right now as our society becomes more and more separated from the natural world, people become disconnected. And I think what our films do is they reconnect people with the wonders of the natural world. I think TV does that job quite well, but I think the thing about cinema is it can reach a different audience. But also really, really give you the full wonder and impact of what the natural world has to offer.
Me: How has making natural and wildlife films impacted your life?
Keith Scholey: I was lucky, I was brought up in Kenya as a kid, I grew up with wildlife. I’ve always kind of loved it. It’s saddening to see what has happened over the past decades as it gets tougher and tougher for the natural world. And I have seen a lot of that change. I’ve had this very privileged life of being able to go out and see these animals and experience them. But what’s been really important in the film making world is being able to somehow communicate some of that to a broader audience. That’s been very rewarding
Me: What challenges did you face directing a film for such a broad audience?
Keith Scholey: I think the main kind of challenge is to create a compelling story with compelling characters. And I know these animals well, I know each of them has their own character, and they are all in my view superheroes. But actually making sure that comes across in the movie was very very important. I think African Cats is a very emotional film and it was crucial that it was that. That people were sort of pulled in to those characters and really sort of experience there lives.
Me: What was your favorite animal you filmed for the movie?
Keith Scholey: [Laughing] I love them all. But I guess I spent a lot of time personal time with Sita the cheetah and I watched those cubs grow up and actually seeing a cub grow up from a tiny half blind little sort of ball of fluff into a fully grown adult cheetah is an amazing experience.
Disneynature African Cats is now availible on DVD. Watch it today with your family.
Disneynature contributed $0.20 per ticket to the African Wildlife Foundation for the Amboseli Corridor project for everyone who saw Disneynature AFRICAN CATS during the opening week (April 22-April 28) with a minimum of $100,000 pledged to this program.
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