For 1/ you can use remastersys. It hasn't been tested on monkeys but it works pretty well on humans
2/3/4/ should be basically the same under Mint than under Ubuntu.
There are less people here than on Ubuntu's forums so potentially you should get less answers but more attention.
As Mint is a liveCD and you can try it for free without much effort I strongly recommend you make your opinion as to whether it's suitable for you or not.