Friday 21 October 2011

Disney Nature: African Cats UK release

Sita aka Shakira

Meet Sita, star of the new Disney Nature film, African Cats, which was due to be released here in the UK this October 2011. Unfortunately it has now been delayed until Spring 2012 and it is still unclear if this film is to be released into the cinemas or straight to Bluray/DVD, although I believe it may be the latter.

So, why the interest? Well, here in the UK, Sita will already be familiar to those who were viewers of the BBC series Big Cat Diares, as Sita is better known here as Shakira. It seems strange that Disney decided to change her name when all the trackers out in the Masai Mara know her already as Shakira. Her name only has to be whispered over the radio and suddenly a myriad of jeeps rush to the sighting location. That was exactly what happened when I was out in the Masai Mara just two years ago, when I too observed this 'cover girl of the Mara Vogue' on several occasions.

Cheetah watch - Shakira and her cubs are lower far right.

Taking the successful BBC observational formula of the Big Cat Diaries, originally fronted by Simon King, and Jonathan Scott, (our expert guide during my visit to the Mara) Disney Nature focused on this cheetah and her cubs plus two groups of lions from the Marsh pride- also well known to UK viewers.
 My photographer companions, oh - and the Disney Nature film crew

Over a period of more than two years, Disney Nature filmed these big cats in the wild, Simon King being one of the team, and respecting the natural space in which they lived. They edited the footage together, bringing in Samuel L Jackson to narrate this wildlife documentary film. Reviews from the US release have been quite favourable, so if you enjoyed Big Cat Diaries, then you might just enjoy this latest offering from the Disney stables.

I'm really hoping this film will portray the magic of big cat life in the amazing Masai Mara, just as I experienced it. I will, of course, let you know.

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