Journey to the Top of the World When To The Arctic Arrives at Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s Heikoff Dome Theater on Friday, April 20
Latest IMAX® Documentary Adventure Narrated by Meryl Streep VIP Reception and Advance Press Screening on Tuesday, April 17 – Doors open at 6PM; Screening at 7PM; RSVP to Schicoine@rhfleet.org!
April 13, 2012
Swimming polar bear.
Brad Ohlund, Director of Photography
A polar bear mother protects her two 7-month cubs in Svalbard, Norway.
Shooting in glacial waters.
Polar bears on a glacial iceberg.
Polar bear taking a break.
This herd of walruses cools themselves in the Rankin Inlet of Baffin Island, Canada.
A polar bear roams in search of its next meal in Churchill, Canada.
This polar bear skates on thin ice in Svalbard, Norway.
This polar bear mother is focused on protecting her two cubs from the dangers that surround them.
A story of this mother's love and struggle for survival.
This polar bear lays low in Churchill, Canada.
Glaciers like this one in Svalbard, Norway are melting at a rapid pace.
These mountains found in Coldfoot, Alaska have seen drastic changes over the years.
Photo: Shaun MacGillivray
This mother caribou nurtures and protects her newly born calf in Coldfoot, Alaska.
San Diego, CA, April 5, 2012 – – Through the power of IMAX®, audiences will be transported to one of the most remote and spectacularly beautiful places in the world and experience an emotional story of love, family and hope, when the documentary adventure TO THE ARCTIC comes to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center‘s Heikoff Dome Theater on Friday, April 20!
An extraordinary journey to the top of the world as few people have ever seen it, TO THE ARCTIC tells a compelling tale of survival, with global implications.
“Warner Bros. and IMAX share our commitment to bring audiences the highest quality documentary films that entertain and inspire,” said director Greg MacGillivray. “The film‘s universal themes of love, hope and the power of family, as set against the back drop of the breathtaking Arctic, is sure to capture the imagination of audiences everywhere.”
Narrated by Oscar® winner Meryl Streep, the film takes audiences on a never-before-experienced journey into the lives of a mother polar bear and her twin seven-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home. Captivating and intimate footage brings moviegoers up close and personal with this family‘s struggle to survive in a frigid environment of melting ice, immense glaciers, spectacular waterfalls, and majestic snow-bound peaks.
TO THE ARCTIC is sponsored locally by ScholarShare, California‘s 529 College Savings Plan.
Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX® Filmed Entertainment present a MacGillivray Freeman Film, TO THE ARCTIC, a One World One Ocean presentation, directed by two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray (THE LIVING SEA, DOLPHINS). Filmed in 15/70mm IMAX®, TO THE ARCTIC is written and edited by Stephen Judson (EVEREST), and produced by Shaun MacGillivray (GRAND CANYON ADVENTURE: RIVER AT RISK). The musical score is by Steve Wood, with songs by Paul McCartney.
The film has been rated G and has a run time of 40 minutes.
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center‘s Heikoff Dome Theater is located at 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, in San Diego. For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 619 238-1233 or visit the website at www.rhfleet.org.
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TO THE ARCTIC BACKGROUND MATERIAL:
POLAR BEAR FUN-FACTS
Polar bears probably first appeared 200,000 years ago during the Pleistocene and were much larger than they are today. They descended from brown bears and are the most recent of the eight bear species.
Scientists believe polar bears descended from a group of brown bears that became isolated by glaciers in an area near Siberia. These bears underwent a rapid series of evolutionary changes in order to survive—from changes in the color of their fur and shape of their body to keener senses to sharper teeth.
Polar bears inhabit five different nations: the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.
The polar bear is a marine mammal. Its scientific name is Ursus maritimus, meaning “sea bear.” It is also the world‘s largest land-based carnivore.
Brown and polar bears can interbreed and produce fertile young, which by some definitions suggests they are the same species. However, they are adapted to different habitats and behaviors and, under the climate conditions that have prevailed since the last ice age, cannot survive very long in each other‘s habitat, a factor that keeps them isolated and continuing to evolve away from one another.
Size and Characteristics:
Polar bears are so well adapted that they are more likely to overheat than to suffer from cold. They have two layers of insulating fur, and their small ears and tails help prevent heat loss.
They are strong swimmers and have blubber up to 4 inches thick, for buoyancy as well as warmth. Their large feet act as paddles and also help spread their weight for walking on ice.
They have curved, non-retractable claws, and bumps on the pads of their feet called papillae so they don‘t slip while walking or running on ice. The claws also help hold on to prey.
Adult males can grow to 10 feet long and 1,500 lbs. During breeding season, they fight fiercely for a mate. Females are much smaller, reaching 8 feet and 550 lbs.
You can sometimes tell male polar bears from female by the hair on the males‘ front legs. Once mature, males tend to have much longer hair on their forelimbs.
Maternity and Family:
Females usually bear two cubs. Single cubs and triplets also occur depending on the health and condition of the mother. Cubs stay with their moms for up to 2.5 years.
Polar bears are born blind and toothless in a den built by their mother. They spend a few months in the den, growing rapidly from their mother‘s rich milk.
A mother polar bear stays with her cubs for about 2.5 years. After they leave the den, the protective mom leads them to the sea ice to teach them how to hunt and survive.
Adult polar bears are, for the most part, solitary animals. They have large home ranges, or territories. When they do gather, there is a distinct social order dictated by size and age.
Polar bears walk at about three to four miles per hour. Females with small cubs slow their speed to one and a half to 2 and a half miles per hour.
Polar bears expend more than twice the energy of most other mammals when walking or running—probably because their bodies are so bulky.
Polar bears can run as fast as 25 miles per hour—but only for short distances. Younger, leaner bears are the best runners. They can cover two kilometers without stopping. Older, larger bears quickly overheat.
Polar bears have been clocked swimming as fast as 6 miles per hour. The longest documented single swim by a polar bear was 426 miles. The trip took nine days through waters that were 2-6 degrees Celsius!
Polar bears use a combination of body language and vocalizations to communicate.
Head wagging from side to side often occurs when polar bears want to play. Adult bears initiate play—which is actually ritualized fighting or mock battling—by standing on their hind legs, chin lowered to their chests, and front paws hanging by their sides
Nose-to-nose greetings are the way that a bear asks another bear for something, such as food. The guest bear will approach slowly, circle around a carcass, and then meekly touch the other bear‘s nose. Bears who use proper manners are often allowed to share a kill.
Chuffing sounds are a response to stress, often heard when a mother bear is worried for her cubs‘ safety. Mother bears scold cubs with a low growl or soft cuff. When a male approaches a female with cubs, she rushes toward him with her head lowered.
Hissing and snorting and a lowered head all signify aggression.
Loud roars or growls communicate anger.
Deep growls are warnings, perhaps in defense of a food source.
Attacking polar bears charge forward with heads down and ears laid back.
Submissive polar bears always move downwind of dominant bears.
Busted myths and misconceptions:
Left pawed. Great white bears are not left-pawed. Scientists observing the animals haven't noticed a preference. In fact, polar bears seem to use their right and left paws equally.
Use of tools. Polar bears do not use tools, including blocks of ice, to kill their prey. Scientist Ian Stirling believes that this idea may have come about because, after failing to catch a seal, a frustrated and angry polar bear may kick the snow, slap the ground—or hurl chunks of ice.
Hollow hair conducts UV light. A polar bear's hollow hairs do not conduct ultraviolet light to its black skin. This theory was tested—and disproved—by physicist Daniel Koon.
Symbiosis with arctic fox. Polar bears do not share food with arctic fox in exchange for the fox's warning system. Zoologists discredit the notion. Arctic fox do travel behind polar bears and scavenge on scraps. In fact, foxes often annoy bears by nipping at their heels in an attempt to drive a bear off its prey. Polar bears sometimes lunge at or slap a fox. During the spring season when both polar bears and arctic fox hunt ringed seal pups, they can be considered competitors.
Bi-polar bears? Polar bears live only in Arctic areas that surround the North Pole—not in Antarctica, which surrounds the South Pole. School children often see illustrations of penguins and polar bears together, but this could never happen. In fact, the word arctic comes from the Greek word for bear, and Antarctic comes from the Greek meaning the opposite, without bear.
SOURCE: www.polarbearsinternational.org, www.oneworldoneocean.org
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Destination: Arctic, the Top of the World
Director Greg MacGillivray has lifted audiences to the world‘s highest peaks with “Everest” and plunged them into the deep with “The Living Sea.” His latest great adventure takes them to the mammoth glaciers and ice fields that lie at the planet‘s northernmost latitudes: the Arctic Circle. Colder than cold. It‘s a place of extreme conditions and pure, breathtaking vistas that few people will ever experience firsthand. Remarkably, it‘s also home to a variety of animals that have adapted to thrive in this forbidding climate, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
It‘s a place where IMAX® cameras have never gone. Until now. “I‘ve wanted to make a film about the Arctic for a long time,” says MacGillivray, a twotime Academy Award® nominee and a master at capturing the natural world on the giant canvas of an IMAX® screen. “In 45 years of producing films, many of which have been about oceans or remote areas, I was still unprepared for what I found in the far North. Everything exists on a grand scale and the sky seems to stretch into
eternity. The beauty and sheer grandeur of it make it an irresistible subject, and shooting in IMAX® gave us the opportunity to bring home some spectacular shots in a way that has never been seen before.”
“It‘s one of the last truly wild places in the world,” adds producer Shaun MacGillivray. “When you‘re in the Arctic, you‘re confronted with nature in its rawest form. You see how difficult it is for wildlife to survive there and how everything is interconnected. It‘s our hope that audiences who see ‗To The Arctic‘ will get the same sense of wonder and appreciation for this incredible environment that I was lucky enough to experience during the four years it took for us to make this film.”
The region encircling the North Pole is a place of dynamic change: alternately freezing and melting, with great masses breaking apart and crashing together again. Hundred-foot waterfalls rain icy water and chunks of glacial melt into the sea. It‘s also teeming with life, from the walruses and seals that populate the frigid water and shoreline to the myriad birds that travel north to nest and breed; from herds of hearty musk oxen and migrating caribou to the majestic polar bears…the apex predators of the tundra.
One polar bear family, in particular, became the focal point of “To The Arctic” when the filmmakers unexpectedly encountered a young mother with a pair of cubs who, unlike all the others, appeared comfortably indifferent to the cameras and crew. Over the course of several days, she allowed them an unprecedented window into her life at close range—hunting, playing, nursing, and teaching her youngsters how to escape from danger, or stand their ground.
“I don‘t know anyone who doesn‘t fall in love with polar bears,” states Greg MacGillivray. “As cubs they‘re unbelievably cute and cuddly, and as adults they‘re thinking animals. They‘re very clever in their approach to finding food and protecting themselves. They really are the heart of the story.” Nowhere is that more evident than in the bond between mother and child, so plainly depicted in the daily routines of this family unit.
Meryl Streep, who narrates the film, calls it “an intimate look at a vast place. It centers on this polar bear mother and her cubs and the protective relationship she has with them, as do all polar bear mothers and their little ones. That‘s something we human mothers can empathize with very strongly, the desire to safeguard our children and make their future secure. You‘ll do anything, anything, to help them survive.” This is the third time Streep has served as narrator for a Greg MacGillivray film, following their collaborations on “Hurricane on the Bayou” and “The Living Sea.” She says, “I have so much admiration for him and his team, how they capture these nearly Impossible subjects and bring distant, often hostile environments to us in the most vivid ways and take us to places that we would never go. The photography is amazing. It‘s as if you can feel the ice.”
To the casual observer, that ice seems endless and indestructible. But it‘s not. “Everyone knows the planet is changing but what they may not know is that the Arctic is changing two times faster,” Greg MacGillivray notes. “With average temperatures rising faster here than anywhere else, the once-permanent summer ice pack is shrinking at an alarming rate and could ultimately become nonexistent. For the animals and the native people, these changes are already bringing hardship and may eventually threaten their very survival.” This is one of the themes “To The Arctic” touches upon.
Throughout the summer and early fall, polar bears rely on the food their bodies stored in winter months, primarily from seals, which they hunt from the ice platforms that have always extended for miles over the sea. “The earlier the ice melts, the more restricted their territory becomes, giving them limited access and less time to find seals, longer distances to swim without rest, and tougher competition. Local inhabitants are reporting more frequent sightings now around homes and campsites where bears were previously unseen,” the director adds.
An iconic symbol for conservation efforts, the polar bear may be among the well recognized and arguably the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, but is not the only potential casualty in this scenario. The receding ice impacts all Arctic life, from seal colonies seeking a stable place to bear and raise their young, to caribou on their annual trek who find that rivers once manageable to cross are now rising torrents that can sweep away the youngest members of the herd.
Shaun MacGillivray likens the still-pristine Arctic environment to “the canary in a coal mine, alerting us that there‘s a major problem. The changes we‘re witnessing here are a sign of global changes to come.”
Raising a Family Here isn’t Easy
The MacGillivrays and their filmmaking team visited the Arctic seven times over a period of four years, logging a total of eight months on the ice and on the Arctic sea, including one month aboard the 130-foot icebreaker MS Havsel, to gather the information and images for the film. But it wasn‘t until nearly the conclusion of their northern odyssey that they discovered the stars of the show.
“We were extremely fortunate. In the final month of our seven-location shoot, we were privileged to be given our central characters,” says Greg MacGillivray, citing the mother polar bear with the twin cubs whose uncharacteristic nonchalance about strangers on her turf resulted in the most captivating footage. “Sometimes this happens when you‘re on location for a documentary, and it‘s a real gift. Never before had filmmakers tracked a polar bear family at such close range, 24 hours a day, for nearly a week. We knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” He and longtime creative collaborator Stephen Judson, the film‘s screenwriter and editor, adjusted the film‘s initial storyline to feature the mother and cubs.
Bears are notoriously camera-shy. Those spotted on earlier scouts had warily kept their distance. Perhaps this female was savvy enough to understand that the human presence might afford her some protection against more dangerous company—roaming male polar bears hungry enough to see her babies as an easy meal. Even so, she was forced to repel four separate raids by much larger males in the five days the MacGillivrays and their team helplessly kept watch—rooting for her but knowing that, in any event, they could not interfere. The most dramatic of these clashes, caught on film, began when the ever-vigilant mother picked up the scent of an approaching threat. Greg MacGillivray recounts, “With a warning bark, she sent her cubs scurrying into the water ahead and dove in behind them to block the male during what became a grueling four-mile pursuit. Snarling and snapping whenever he got close, she finally stopped and held her ground, growling as if to say, ‗If you want to kill my cubs, you‘ll have to kill me first.‘ Finally, the male turned away, ending the longest and most thrilling chase I have ever captured. “Polar bear mothers have the hardest job in the world, providing for and protecting their young, and that job is getting harder every year,” he continues. “From July 19 to August 9, 2010 we visited the seas around Svalbard, Norway and spotted an amazing 132 bears. Normally we would have expected to see maybe 10 to 30. But the ice habitat has been greatly reduced; the ice field that would have been 50 miles wide was compressed into 10 square miles, creating an unusually tight concentration of bears.” Because the sun never sets on the Arctic summer, the filmmakers were able to use the light to work around the clock, always on alert.
Lead director of photography Brad Ohlund, for whom “To The Arctic” marked his 90th time on location with MacGillivray, explains, “We took shifts, with someone always on the bridge of the ship, keeping an eye on the bears, and we would sleep with our clothes on. It was like being a firefighter. If something happened—maybe a male was on the prowl—we‘d get a knock on the door and we‘d throw on our boots and jackets and race up to the deck. The camera was all set up. We‘d just put our eyes to the viewfinder and start shooting away.”
Their dedication paid off, not only for the drama of evading predators but for shots of the mother and cubs in more relaxed moments. The twins—likely one male and one female—roughhoused, explored the ice floes and played in the snow while their mother watched, all the while testing the air for danger that could be smelled sooner than seen. Sometimes she romped with them, nursed, or gave them a lesson in seal-hunting. Ohlund recalls, “She‘d be sitting on a chunk of ice and we‘d be about 100 feet away with the engine turned off, and the wind would come up and push us towards her. We‘d end up within 30 to 50 feet, and she would just look at us, take note and go about her business in a manner that surprised all of us, including our guides, who had never seen anything like it. It was quite astonishing.”
Apart from the footage that Ohlund, Greg MacGillivray and producer Shaun MacGillivray recorded, the MacGillivrays also called upon the specialized talents of numerous noted cinematographers to cover the enormity of their subject from land, air and underwater. It was a stellar roster that included Emmy Award winner Bob Cranston; fellow IMAX® documentary filmmaker and Emmy Award winner Howard Hall; Ron Goodman, designer of the SpaceCam, a gyroscopically stabilized camera system for which he earned a technical Oscar®; and veteran documentary cinematographers Jack Tankard and Adam Ravetch. Certified divers Hall and Cranston took the lead on the underwater photography with the specially equipped watertight IMAX® camera. Cranston, best known for his work with sharks, discovered that the best way to record bears swimming was to dive just a little deeper than they usually venture and focus upwards. Greg MacGillivray explains, “He waited for the animals‘ natural curiosity to cause them to investigate the cameras. Fortunately, bears don‘t like to dive too deep, so by staying just outside of their comfort zone he felt relatively safe.”
Equally inquisitive were the walruses, especially the pups. “We got great shots of a colony,” says Shaun MacGillivray. “At one point a mother walrus and her baby swam straight for the camera and he seemed to kiss the lens before bouncing back up to the surface.” It could have been a different story, though, if the mother had felt threatened. Undeniably gregarious and charming, walruses can be aggressive too. Adult Atlantic bulls weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, with some individuals surpassing 3,000, and both bulls and cows wield formidable tusks.
Says Greg, “To explore the diverse panoply of life under the sea ice, we dove into the subfreezing arctic brine with our 400-pound submersible IMAX® camera through a hole bored in the four-foot surface ice. As risky as cave diving, this experience has the added danger that beyond 45 minutes your hands will freeze stiff, your brain will numb to a crawl and you‘d better be finding the exit soon.” Standard equipment aboard the Havsel included so-called survival suits, heavy neoprene garments fitted snug as sausage casings, forming a watertight seal around the wearer‘s entire body and head and leaving only the face exposed. Unprotected, a person could expect to last only about three minutes in the 28-degree water before hypothermia literally stops the heart. The only reason the water here isn‘t frozen solid is because of its salt content. Though well prepared for the cold and the unpredictable wildlife, the team still had its share of unforeseen problems. On one occasion, a group set out on snowmobiles and traditional Inuit–designed sleds called komatiks to film beluga and narwhal whales at a point where the ocean meets the ice. Although they noticed a relatively small crack—approximately 70 inches wide—between their site and the larger ice floe, they determined it would be safe enough because the wind was blowing inland. Ninety minutes later, as they were engrossed in their work, the wind shifted and the crack they dismissed earlier had widened to a 300-foot breach, pulling their piece of ice, now a “float off,” away from land.
Knowing that the local authorities would only rescue people, not equipment, they struggled to grasp and hoist the two sections together with grappling hooks until they could drag their valuable camera gear across. No stranger to such hazards is internationally renowned nature photographer Florian Schulz, who has devoted his life to capturing images of wildlife, often in the most inaccessible places in the world, and has clocked thousands of miles on snowmobiles and dog sleds traversing the Arctic terrain in search of the perfect shot. He worked alongside the filmmakers for a portion of their multi-year expedition and collected thousands of stunning panoramic stills, 200 of which are reproduced in the film‘s companion book, To The Arctic, published by Braided River. Schulz felt an immediate kinship with his fellow lensmen. In the book, he describes how he has often lain immobile on the ice for hours or crept forward on his stomach, inch by inch against the biting wind, to catch an elusive Arctic creature at just the right moment, and cites patience and commitment as the most important qualifications for this kind of work. “I spent over 72 hours in a blind to photograph the snowy owls for the book and it took years before I saw my first polar bear,” he says. “The first trick to managing in this harsh environment is never press your nose to the metal part of the camera because it will freeze there,” he adds with a laugh.
“There‘s a lot of waiting and searching for the animals,” Greg MacGillivray agrees. “We were in the field much longer for ‗To The Arctic‘ than for any of our other films, including ‗Everest.‘ It‘s essential to be always prepared. One morning our crew awoke to a herd of caribou serenely sauntering past their tent flaps and, grabbing their cameras, shot some wonderful close-ups.” Each spring, 400,000 to 500,000 caribou travel as far as 800 miles from their winter home in the western Arctic, Alaska and the Yukon, up to their summer range to give birth and feed on the nutritious new growth. It‘s one of the largest land migrations of any animal. Coinciding with the MacGillivrays‘ filming timetable, newlyweds Leanne Allison and Karsten Heuer—a filmmaker and biologist, respectively—chose the inhospitable Arctic as their unlikely honeymoon destination so they could follow and document the caribou migration. To understand what it‘s like from the animals‘ perspective, the pair committed to making the same grueling journey on foot. They share some of their observations in “To The Arctic,” including this from Heuer, who explains how climate change has been slowing down the herds: “It‘s been an especially warm spring, so the rivers are flooding. This year, the migration is three weeks late and so some of them have to give birth along the way.” Newborn calves, weak and unable to keep the pace, are easy prey for bears and wolves and can be lost while trying to ford the swollen rivers. Because the area the caribou cover is so wide, it‘s not easy to intercept the herd‘s progress at any given point so, eager as they were to catch these determined animals on the hoof, the MacGillivray camera crew wasn‘t sure they would ever get an optimal shot. Ohlund relates, “We were out there for a month, waiting. But sometimes, just when you think you‘ll never get it, the next thing you know, exactly what you wanted to
happen is right in front of you. It‘s what we at MacGillivray Freeman Films call MacGilli-Luck, something that‘s been bestowed upon us by the filmmaking gods. We‘re always proud and happy to be the recipients of the MacGilli-Luck and our audiences have also been its beneficiaries.”
Shaun MacGillivray knows exactly what Ohlund means. “The crazy, amazing, rewarding thing about wildlife filmmaking is that moment when you get it right,” he says. “All the variables line up at the same time—the perfect sunlight, the animals, the action, the right angles, the incredible beauty and the story attached to it. You hardly ever have that opportunity but when it happens, it‘s magnificent.”
“Maybe I’m Amazed”
“Music is the most important element beyond the photography that we go out there and work so hard to get,” Greg MacGillivray declares. The score for “To The Arctic” is composed by longtime MacGillivray associate Steve Wood, whose body of work includes more than a dozen documentary adventure films. “We spend more than a year doing a soundtrack for each one of these 40-minute films, working with Steve,” the director continues. “He‘s done all of our films for the past 30 years, and he loves finding the right music for each sequence. We want to convey something specific to viewers; it‘s storytelling through the music.” “To The Arctic” also includes several songs from legend Paul McCartney, who has become as renowned for his commitment to the environment and animal issues worldwide as he is for his music. The selections from his extensive catalogue evoke a range of moods seemingly tailor-made for the images they accompany. Among them, the playfully upbeat “Mr. Bellamy” introduces a montage of walrus antics; the tenderness of “Little Willow,” admonishing one to “hold on tight,” underscores the poignancy of a caribou mother bonding with her newborn calf; and the love song “I‘m Carrying” takes on a new interpretation as the female polar bear allows a break from her responsibilities to tussle with her youngsters. “It‘s hard to express how much it means to me to have Paul McCartney‘s emotional voice be a part of our film,” says Greg. “When we heard that he was inspired by the story and agreed to help our cause to bring awareness to the polar bears‘ needs, we really felt blessed. But it‘s not surprising, considering how much he truly loves animals.”
One Threat the Polar Bear Cannot Overcome
A mother polar bear will do anything to protect her cubs, including taking the offensive against a predatory male bear twice her size, but she is powerless against the threat of a changing environment that could make their way of life a memory. And, while the polar bear may be the animal most immediately endangered by current trends, Greg MacGillivray notes, “These magnificent creatures aren‘t the only ones climate change is pushing into a corner. The Arctic Ocean is much more than a mysterious realm of ice and snow. It serves as the thermometer of our world. With average temperatures rising two times faster there than anywhere else, its once-
permanent summer ice pack is shrinking and may be nonexistent by 2050. With much of the krill and plankton feeding the oceanic food chain born beneath the ice, and with its cold water run-off supercharging the currents of the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt that moderates weather everywhere, and with the polar ice cap acting as a climate-balancing shield that reflects 80 percent of the sun‘s energy back into space, it‘s easy to grasp how changes accelerating here will affect not just the Arctic but the rest of the world.”
For this reason, Greg and his wife, Barbara MacGillivray, established the One World One Ocean Foundation to foster awareness and mobilize support for the restoration and protection of the world‘s oceans. A major part of this effort is a planned 20-year multi-platform ocean media campaign, of which “To The Arctic” is the first release. “Just as Jacques Cousteau opened people‘s eyes to the beauty of the ocean, we are trying to open their hearts and minds through IMAX® films, features, TV specials and new media programming,” says Greg MacGillivray. Adds Barbara, “We hope people will fall in love with the ocean as we have.”
“I‘m very excited for audiences to see this film in the IMAX® format,” says Meryl Streep. “There is greater impact in seeing something on such a grand scale, especially a subject matter that is so monumental. The Arctic is one of the most beautiful places on the face of the Earth. And changes that are being made there are going to have implications for all of us.”
Shaun MacGillivray got a palpable sense of that global communion while on location. “Because we observed this family of polar bears so closely, we felt connected to them. Their struggles and their successes felt like our struggles and successes,” he says. “We‘d like to transport people to the Arctic with this film and let them fall in love with the wildlife the way that we did.” “I‘m not a scientist; I‘m a filmmaker,” Greg concludes. “But I have tried to learn as much as I can about these fascinating Arctic dwellers and their home. After all of that, culminating in our own unique filming and research voyage, I have grown to love these wonderful animals and this beautiful place. It‘s my intention with ‗To The Arctic‘ to inspire others as I‘ve been inspired.”
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NARRATOR: MERYL STREEP
For almost 40 years, Meryl Streep has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path from the theater through film and television. Streep was educated in the New Jersey public school system through high school, graduated cum laude from Vassar College and received her MFA with honors from Yale University in 1975. She began her professional life on the New York stage, where she quickly established her signature versatility and verve as an actor. Within three years of graduation she made her Broadway debut, won an Emmy Award, for “Holocaust,” and received her first Oscar® nomination, for “The Deerhunter.” In 2011, in a record that is unsurpassed, she received her seventeenth Academy Award® nomination, for her role as
Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” For this performance, which can currently be seen in theaters, she won the Academy Award® as well as the British Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. She will next be seen in “Great Hope Springs,” alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. Streep has pursued her interest in the environment through her work with Mothers and Others, a consumer advocacy group that she co-founded in 1989. M&O worked for ten years to promote sustainable agriculture, establish new pesticide regulations, and the availability of organic and sustainably grown local foods. Streep serves as spokesperson for the proposed National Women‘s History Museum. She also lends her efforts to Women for Women International, Women in the World Foundation and Partners in Health. She is a member of the Vassar College Board of Trustees and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has been accorded a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, a 2008 honor from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The 2010 National Medal of Arts by President Obama and, in 2011, she received a Kennedy Center Honor. Her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, and she are the parents of a son and three daughters.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
GREG MacGILLIVRAY (Director) is a giant-screen documentary filmmaker who has produced and directed some of the most successful films in the IMAX® film format, including the box-office hit “Everest” and the Academy Award®-nominated films “The Living Sea” and “Dolphins.” With 35 giant-screen IMAX® films to his credit, MacGillivray has shot more 70mm film than anyone in cinema history—more than two million feet. He is the first documentary filmmaker to reach the $1 billion benchmark in worldwide ticket sales. An ardent ocean conservationist, MacGillivray and his wife Barbara recently founded the One World One Ocean Foundation, a non-profit public charity devoted to science education through giant-screen films and companion programming. The Foundation‘s first initiative is the One World One Ocean campaign, MacGillivray‘s most ambitious project yet: a sustained, multiplatform ocean media campaign aimed at changing the way people see and value the ocean. The campaign includes three IMAX® films, a television series, a feature documentary, and a series of original Online programming—all to be released in collaboration with MacGillivray Freeman Films over the next five years. “To The Arctic” is the first film presentation of One World One Ocean. (www.oneworldoneocean.org).
SHAUN MacGILLIVRAY (Producer) is Producer and Managing Director of MacGillivray Freeman Films and Managing Director of the company‘s One World One Ocean campaign, a multi-year, multi-platform ocean media initiative aimed at restoring the world‘s oceans. Producer of the award-winning 3D giant-screen film “Grand Canyon Adventure,” MacGillivray is also producing the company‘s forthcoming films: “One World One Ocean” and Everest: Conquering Thin Air.” The son
of Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, Shaun grew up on film locations all around the world. To capture the breathtaking footage seen in “To The Arctic,” he and the crew spent more than eight months on location in the Arctic over a period of four years.
STEPHEN JUDSON (Writer/Editor) has directed five films for IMAX® theatres, including, most recently “The Alps” and “Journey into Amazing Caves.” He served as a producer, director, writer and editor on the IMAX® blockbuster “Everest.” Since 1982, Judson has edited all but two of MacGillivray Freeman‘s giant-screen films, making him the most experienced editor in the giant-screen field. He has written or co-written many MFF films, including the Oscar®-nominated “Dolphins.” He also serves the company‘s Vice President for Production and Post Production. Before joining the MacGillivray Freeman team, Judson worked as a writer/director/editor in Hollywood, including long stints at ABC and Universal Studios. A graduate of Yale University with an M.A. from the USC cinema school, Judson is a member of Writer's Guild of America, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
BRAD OHLUND (Director of Photography) has worked in the giant-screen industry for 25 years. His projects with MacGillivray Freeman Films include “Dolphins,” “Adventures in Wild California,” “Journey Into Amazing Caves,” “Coral Reef Adventure,” “Mystery of the Nile,” “Greece: Secrets of the Past,” “Hurricane on the Bayou,” “Grand Canyon Adventure” and “Arabia.” After attending Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, Ohlund began his career with the classic film “To Fly!” Since then, his broad and varied assignments have included filming underwater reefs in the South Pacific and primitive tribes in New Guinea and Borneo. He has filmed from a plane through the eye of a hurricane and captured on IMAX® film the fury of an approaching tornado.
STEVE WOOD (Composer) has been scoring films with Greg MacGillivray since MacGillivray‘s surfing cult classic “Five Summer Stories,” in 1975. Since then, Wood has worked on more than 20 giant-screen IMAX® films, including “The Living Sea,” “To Fly!,” “The Magic of Flight,” “Everest,” “Dolphins,” “Greece: Secrets of the Past,” “Hurricane on the Bayou” “The Alps” and “Arabia,” and “Grand Canyon Adventure” with Dave Matthews Band. He worked with Sting on both “The Living Sea” and “Dolphins,” and with George Harrison on “Everest.” Wood has been honored with six GSCA Film Achievement Awards for Best Soundtrack, which is presented by The Giant Screen Cinema Association.
About the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (the Fleet) is home to Southern California's only Giant Dome Theater and 100+ hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Watch immersive giant-screen films in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater, which reopened in 2012 after extensive renovations. Our theater is extraordinary in many ways. It is the world's first IMAX® Dome Theater, the world's first NanoSeam™ Dome screen in an IMAX theater, and it offers two unique experiences in one space: IMAX films and planetarium shows. The Heikoff Giant Dome Theater boasts a 76-foot tilted Dome screen and a 16,000-watt digital surround sound system, providing a stunning visual and audio experience. Experience eight galleries of fun, interactive exhibits, including major traveling exhibitions. A hurricane simulator thrills visitors with gusts of wind up to 80 miles per hour. Enjoy sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in Galileo's Café. Find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet Science Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology. For information regarding current admission prices, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at www.rhfleet.org.