Walt Disney Co. plans to start a film division dedicated to making feature-length documentaries about nature, the company said Monday.

The venture, to be called Disneynature, will make one movie a year, contributing to the Burbank-based studio's lineup of animated and live action movies. The movies will be shown in theaters.

Disney's Chief Executive Robert Iger said the unit marks a return to the Disney tradition of making nature films. The company also noted the movies will be cheaper than other productions.

The unit will be led by Jean-Francois Camilleri, general manager of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France.

The first production will be a film called "Earth," and will focus on the yearlong journey of a polar bear, elephant and humpback whale mother with their offspring. It is scheduled for release in April 2009.

Shares in Disney closed up 13 cents to $31.46 in trading Monday.

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