The Nature of Disney

Disney movies have captured the imaginations of children and adults for decades. The endearing characters, the colorful landscapes, and the epic tales of heroism carry a sense of wonder and playfulness. But what we rarely notice is that woven into many of these films is a deeper story about the natural world. In Disney movies we learn the rules of the forest, the hierarchy of the jungle, and humankind’s relationship to nature. Underlying every film is an implicit morality, one that seems so logical and universal that, as the audience, we hardly ever question its origin or message. In this interview, environmental historian Richard White helps us see the world of Disney with fresh eyes. Along the way, he challenges our assumptions about nature, and exposes how the stories of Disney are really stories about ourselves.

 

Image by wbeem
Licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

Chasing Ice

Director Jeff Orlowski takes us behind the scenes of his widely praised documentary Chasing Ice, which captured stunning time lapse images of retreating and melting glaciers.  He discusses the public reaction to his film, what it’s like working in harsh Arctic conditions, and his emotions witnessing firsthand glaciers the size of Manhattan fracturing and falling into the oceans.

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American Meat

Filmmaker Graham Meriwether discusses his new documentary American Meat: A Leave It Better Story that investigates the current condition of the meat production industry in the States.  He explains the importance of focusing on the farmers and why he’s optimistic about the future of farming.  After the interview, producer Leslie Chang had to call Graham back to discuss an unusual situation that developed during a screening of his film on the Stanford University campus.

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Critical Mass: A documentary on global population

Filmmaker Mike Freedman explains the creative process behind his debut documentary, Critical Mass. His film explores how the growing population alters the social and psychological environment, and the challenges of equality in a world of 7 billion people.

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