Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quick takes about new underwater movies now on the BIG screen .... or soon will be

Cutline: An outtake of Bebe Pham from the 2007 Nautical Angels Underwater Calendar Photo by Mick Gleissner
Cutline: Bebe Pham, the free diver, comes out of the water to attack the unseen bad guys,


• Underwater model and sometime actress Vietnam’s Bebe Pham and Singaporean actress Jaymee Ong have wrapped up shooting Deep Gold earlier this month in Manila. In this action-thriller Pham plays a record-setting freediver who hunts for her missing boyfriend, a sunken plane and millions of dollars in gold underwater off the coast of the Phillipine islands. Pham is best known for modelling skimpy bathing suits underwater for Fashion TV’s “Nautical Angels Underwater Calendar”.

• Newly minted Canadian and now Toronto resident, horror movie maker George Romero is reported to be working on a new zombie movie which will include underwater undead! Romero, the maker of classic zombie movies including Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Land of the Dead, has begun filming in Toronto on an as yet unnamed zombie movie. Apparently set on an island, the local residents in the Blood ‘n’ Bubble film must fight off their dead relatives, who at times come out of the water to grab and eat the living.

• This fall the ABC network in Australia will be airing a four-part series about Aussie Navy Divers. Beginning October 28 this observational action-packed series is a warts and all account of what it takes to become a clearance diver. The series is aptly named, Navy Divers.

• There are very few Bollywood movies made that include underwater scenes, however, that will soon change. ‘Jaganmohini’, a classic Indian movie is about to be remade. The film is set in the 1700s and tells the story of a female pearl diver. It will star Namitha Kapoor (the former Miss Surat) who will spend much of the movie free diving for pearls.

• ‘OCEANS 3D: Voyage of a Turtle’ is set to become the first feature-length documentary ever filmed and released in Digital 3D. The 85-minute long feature will be completed this fall for an anticipated North American release next summer. The film tells the story of Aris a sea turtle that embarks on a journey across the oceans in search of the origin of a mysterious voice he hears. “We spent over 1,200 hours in the water to capture 200 hours of what we believe is exceptional footage, ” said Director of Photography Gavin McKinney. The underwater film is produced by 3D Entertainment and McKinney Underwater Productions, and is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme.

• Earlier this year Diver Magazine featured an interview with actress and conservationist Daryl Hanna. Hanna talked about her role in the "Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean" IMAX film. According to the company that made the documentary, the film is doing very well. 3D Entertainment released box-office data late last month that shows as of the end of August, the film has been seen by one million viewers worldwide since its US launch on February 15th. So far the film, presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau and narrated by Daryl Hannah, has grossed $8.3 million in ticket revenues.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Mysteries of the Great Lakes

Cut line: Science North’s David Lickley and Jim Marshbank flank a poster for their new made-in-Canada Imax movie Mysteries of the Great Lakes. Canadian actor, Gordon Pinsent, narrates the documentary. Photograph by Dave Tollington.
Cut line: In a scene from the Imax movie a diver swims across the deck of Tobermory, Ontario shipwreck. Press Photo


For the Canadian makers of the Mysteries of the Great Lakes, Imax film, the sturgeon is one of Lakes’ biggest mysteries of them all. For divers attending this made-in-North Bay, large format movie, it is all about wondering how the underwater cinematography is so good!

Now playing in Science Centres and Museums across North America, Mysteries of the Great Lakes take audiences on a journey from the tip of Lake Superior to the edge of Lake Ontario to witness the lakes’ breathtaking beauty – both above and below the water. The movie perhaps should have been more accurately named “A Big Fish Story” because much of the movie looks at the enigmatic sturgeon and how civilization is threatening this strange long living beast.

Science North (Sudbury’s Science Centre and producer of the movie) estimates that there are only 20,000 sturgeons living in the Great Lakes as compared to millions before European contact. After 150 million years on the planet (predates the dinosaur), the species had been brought to the brink of extinction through over-fishing for fish oil and caviar.
The movie features an IMAX first – up close underwater segments of the shy giant sturgeon. It also shows audiences albeit briefly, an eerie, under water footage of the Edmund Fitzgerald (accompanied by the song of the same name by Gordon Lightfoot - as prominently displayed in all the promotional material). The film also goes underwater to look at shipwrecks near the Bruce Peninsula in Lake Huron.

Film director and biologist David Lickley told Diver Magazine photographer David Tollington “though the production took seven -years to complete, most of that time was spent research and fund raising and not filming. Still, one full year of solid shooting was involved, as well as the efforts of the 300 names listed in our credits.”

Jim Marshbank the Executive Producer of the movie attended the premier of the movie at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. He told Diver that the film company is in the process of placing the documentary with 70 theatres world wide, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.