Two high-profile films featuring chimps are in theaters, Project Nim and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Project Nim is a moving documentary which tells the story of Nim, a chimpanzee born in a research lab in Oklahoma and used as a subject in a controversial language research study. Nim’s story from birth to death is told through the eyes of the humans who knew him, as well as archival photos, videos, and scene recreations. No chimpanzee actors were used. This moving film will take you on an emotional journey into the life of a chimpanzee trapped between two worlds—human and chimpanzee– and is a must-see. Save the Chimps feels a special connection to Nim, because two of his nephews, Jack and Zeke, and his niece, Sarah, are residents of Save the Chimps.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the well known Planet of the Apes series is being released this weekend. We applaud the filmmakers of Rise of the Planet of the Apes for their decision not to use any trained chimpanzees or orangutans in the production of the film, and viewers of the film can rest assured that all of the non-human apes in the film are computer-generated images (CGI). The use of chimpanzees and other non-human primates for human entertainment has always been an inhumane practice. Now, thanks to advances in digital animation, the practice is on its way to becoming obsolete. Unfortunately, 20th Century Fox did not follow the lead of the filmmakers and chose to use trained chimpanzee actors in a series of viral YouTube videos intended to promote the film—so our need to educate the entertainment and advertising industries continues. But we are hopeful that the example set by the Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ filmmakers will set a precedent for a new, more responsible era for the entertainment industry.