One of the most endearing animals is about to make his big screen debut. His name is Oscar and the filmmakers of Disneynature’s Chimpanzee say he’ll melt your heart.

Disneynature takes moviegoers deep into the forests of Africa with Chimpanzee, a new True Life Adventure introducing an adorable young chimpanzee named Oscar and his entertaining approach to life in a remarkable story of family bonds and individual triumph. When the filmmaker’s found Oscar and his family in the Tai jungle, they immediately fell in love with his playful curiosity and zest for discovery his intelligence and ingenuity along with his kind. In the movie, we see Oscar’s chimpanzee family working together, —including his mom, Isha, and the group’s savvy leader, Freddy, and how they navigates the complex territory of the forest.

The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimpanzees, who’d rather make mayhem than join their parents for an afternoon nap. But when Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever.

“Making a film about chimpanzees for the big screen represents an exciting challenge because no one has really done it before,” says Alistair Fothergill, director. “This film is an amazing chance to take audiences into the middle of the rainforest with all its incredible sights and sounds and let them see chimpanzees as they have never been seen before.” Adds co-director Mark Linfield: “I have always wanted to make a film about chimpanzees and I don’t think there could be a more fascinating wildlife subject,” he says. “They can be playful and tender, cunning, loving, competitive, curious and simply full of fun. They’re just like us, or we’re just like them, however you want to think of it, and when they look out at us from the big screen, it’s impossible not to feel an extraordinary connection and be completely engaged.”

The film not only teaches audiences about Chimps but hopes to draw awareness of their dwindling population due to deforestation and poaching, even though the film doesn’t bring the issues to light in the story.

To help the cause, For every moviegoer who sees “Chimpanzee” during the film’s opening week (April 20-26, 2012), Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect chimpanzees today and tomorrow.


Meet the Main Characters:

OSCAR is a feisty, funny and adorable young chimpanzee. His high-energy spirit and sense of adventure shine as he plays with his little friends and learns the ways of the world under the watchful eye of mom Isha. “The first time you see tiny Oscar and he looks out at you with those wonderful eyes,” says Fothergill, “you just can’t help but go ‘aah!’ It happens every time we show the film: the whole theater falls in love with him from the very first moment he appears on screen.” But life in the rainforest isn’t always fun and games and Oscar has a lot to learn. He teams up with a very special and unexpected teacher who shares the most valuable tool of all: love.

ISHA is Oscar’s loving mother and sole caretaker. “The bond between the two of them is immediately tangible,” says director Mark Linfield, “and the level of nurturing Isha shows is incredibly touching.” She grooms Oscar, nurses him and serves as his personal taxi throughout the rainforest. Like all mothers, she is challenged with Oscar’s restless ways—often missing out on well-deserved naps due to his shenanigans. But she loves her son dearly and would do anything for him.


FREDDY is the powerful and highly respected leader of Oscar’s chimpanzee family. He is in charge of keeping everyone safe and knows just where to go to find breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Freddy is an impressive alpha male,” says renowned chimpanzee expert and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall. “There’s no mistaking his self-confidence and assertiveness. Even the way he walks let’s you know he’s the boss.” Freddy takes his responsibilities very seriously, so he has little time for fun

SCAR heads up a rival chimpanzee group that always seems to be lingering on the edge of Freddy’s turf. They’d love to get their hands on the tasty nuts that grow in Oscar’s neighborhood and their constant presence keeps Freddy on his toes. “Scar is a perfect villain,” says Linfield. “He has these great eyes and the beaten-up look of an experienced fighter.”



Fun fact:     Chimps love nuts! “One of the funniest things about the nut cracking scene is seeing the little ones like Oscar trying to learn it because they tend to get it wrong the whole time,” says Linfield. “They’re using a hammer but they miss the nut and hit their foot instead or they try with a piece of wood and the wood keeps breaking.”

Oscar gathers nuts, which he will then crack open using the rock he is carrying.

Oscar attempts to crack nuts open with a wooden log.










Reaping his rewards. Oscar eats a nut.

It's all in a day's work for Oscar.










Chimpanzee opens Friday and is narrated by Tim Allen.

—Toni-Marie Ippolito

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