Interview with Dr. Sanjayan Disneynature Ambassador
Thanks to Disney I’ve had the opportunity to interview quite a few special people and this week that special person was Dr. M Sanjayan, Disneynature Ambassador and Executive Vice President & Senior Scientist for Conservation International. Dr. Sanjayan was our invited to talk to us about his role in the Monkey Kingdom movie. While sitting at our table he had a wealth of information to share with us about what it took to bring the movie to life. Monkey Kingdom took over 1000 days to film, with the last scene not being filmed until December of 2014. Talk about cutting it close and down to the wire. Documentaries can take a lot of work, especially ones like Monkey Kingdom. A good documentary can take about three days to film each minute of the film. Monkey Kingdom shattered that record with ten days of filming to make just one minute of their documentary.
Dr. Sanjayan shared so much with us about the film, but he wasn’t just interested in hearing himself talk about visiting Sri Lanka and working with the team on the film. He asked us about how we liked the film. What was our favorite scenes and how we felt about the movie in general. It’s was nice that he was so interested in hearing what we thought about the film. We asked about the filming schedule and how much the film makers were out filming each day. He shared that filming takes very long hours and that some days the crew would sit for long hours and not get any footage they could use. He also shared that their days consist of long hours, starting early in the morning and ending late at night. It does require a lot of dedication to bring movies like Monkey Kingdom to screen.
The monkeys in the film had been studied for over thirty years. They knew them pretty well so they had an idea that Maya would be a good choice for the story line. They also had secondary story lines in case they needed to make changes along the way. Dr. Sanjayan told us that he things the movie is like Downtown Abbey meets Game of Thrones. He said it’s very Machiavellian, and that he couldn’t believe that how aggressive the monkey’s could be at times. It was so great hearing him talk about his passion to preserve nature for us and for future generations. Monkey Kingdom opens in theaters on April 17th. See the movie during opening week (April 17th-23rd) and Disneynature will make a donation in your name to Conservation International to help save monkeys and other animals. Learn more athttp://nature.disney.com/monkey-kingdom. Check out the Monkey Kingdom trailer below and this video with Dr. Sanjayan about the movie.
The coolest thing about our time with Dr. Sanjayan is that when he was leaving he was so excited about sitting with us and talking about the movie he snapped a photo of us and shared it on his Twitter. That was super cool. Here’s his photo.
— M Sanjayan (@msanjayan) April 15, 2015
About Dr. M Sanjayan:
DR. M. SANJAYAN (Disneynature Ambassador) is executive vice president and senior scientist for Conservation International. The global conservation scientist, writer and Emmy®-nominated news contributor focuses on the connection between nature and human well-being. He serves on Conservation International’s senior leadership team as executive vice president and senior scientist.
Sanjayan holds a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a research faculty appointment at the University of Montana. His peer-reviewed scientific work has been published in journals including Science, Nature and Conservation Biology, and his expertise has attracted national media coverage in Outside, Time, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, AFAR, Grist and The New York Times. He is also the co-editor of Connectivity Conservation (Cambridge University Press).
Sanjayan is the host of “EARTH A New Wild,” the 2015 PBS television series. Filmed in 29 countries and produced by National Geographic and Passion Pictures, the series reveals how humans are inextricably linked with wild nature.
Sanjayan also serves as a science and environment contributor to CBS News. His 2013 “CBS Evening News” report on elephant poaching in Kenya earned an Emmy® nomination in the investigative journalism category. His guest appearances include NBC’s “Today,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “NBC Nightly News,” CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, and he is a featured contributor to the BBC’s “Power of Nature” series.
Sanjayan is a Clinton Global Initiative Senior Advisor, a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of National Geographic Society’s Explorer’s Council—a distinguished group of top scientists, researchers and explorers who provide advice and counsel to the Society across disciplines and projects.