Friday, March 28, 2008

White Sharks of South Africa - short film upsizes sharks

Swimming with Sharks. It lasts only about 4 minutes but a Great White Shark film shot with an underwater super 16 mm film camera has already attracted hundreds of thousands of eyes to
White Sharks of South Africa was made by Greg Huglin, and shows snorkeller Andre Hartman swimming freely with a super sized shark. Not only is Hartman outside a shark cage, he is also shown being towed through the water by the Great White as he hangs onto his fin. The short ends with the shark attempting to bite the camera’s housing.
The film was made 6 miles (10km) off the shore of Gansbaa, South Africa.

Open Water 2, Adrift in the reject bin at Blockbuster

The new Open Water sequel is adrift! Last month Vancouver based Lions Gate Films released Open Water 2 Adrift straight to DVD in North America. Although the movie has been branded as a sequel to the 2003 surprise indi-hit Open Water, it is actually a German-made film – Adrift - that had some success when it was released last summer in Europe.
Open Water 2 Adrift is supposedly based on a real event. The 95-minute movies tells the story of six long-time friends and a little baby who get together for a Mexican cruise aboard a luxury yacht. The baby ends up alone in the boat when the adults jump into the sea for a swim forgetting to lower a ladder. Adrift, unable to climb back into the boat the swimmers end up in a fight for their lives against each other and hypothermia.
Open Water, told a similar story of two divers who were left to dive after their boat accidentally abandoned them at a Caribbean dive site. While much of Open Water was filmed underwater, Open Water 2 was shot right at water level with a wide angle 16 mm camera and housing placed between two pontoons.
The film was directed by Hans Horn and stars Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, James Niklaus Lange and Ali Hillis.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Daryl Hannah - from mermaid to reef champion to schlook shark move star

I recently interviewed Daryl Hanna for a feature that Diver Magazine will be publishing about a new Imax 3D movie (Whales and Dolphins). She talked at length about her passion to protect the marine environment. She also talked about her 1984 movie Spash. I also write a paragraph or two about her newest movie, Shark Swarm, which is a remake of Jaws with eco-twist.
Knowing that the editor of Diver has a passion for rewriting stories in his own voice, I have posted the story in its original voice and included a brief synposis of the Whales and Dolphin movie.

DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D - Tribes of the Ocean, will immerse viewers in the daily lives of small and giant cetaceans as they interact socially, play, communicate through their highly complex system of sound, feed, breed, migrate and fight for their survival. The film delivers a powerful message in favor of both ocean conservation and the protection of its tribes. It marks the first time humpback whales, belugas, orcas, bottlenose dolphins and manatees have been filmed in 3D for the world's biggest screens. Unlike other IMAX (R) -type films, DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D was shot entirely in the wild and consists solely of underwater footage. The documentary, voiced by Daryl Hannah is now showing in Imax theatres across North America and Europe.

Film star and eco-warrior Daryl Hannah Splashes into Theatres with 3D underwater movie about whales

By Stephen Weir

For just the second time in her long film career, Daryl Hannah is about to Splash onto the big screen. Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean, is a new big budget underwater film that is now being shown in Imax theatres across North America. And, while Hannah won’t be seen in this 3-D glasses-friendly documentary about cetaceans, her voice will be heard.
The Hollywood star who first came to the public’s attention as the mermaid who hydrated herself in Tom Hank’s bath tub in the 1984 blockbuster hit, Splash, narrates the new film. The two projects share a zest for the underwater world, however the similarities end there. Splash was pure fun while Dolphin and Whales is all science.
The Hannah-narrated 3D movie has been made in collaboration with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, PADI’s Project Aware, and Reef Check. (The Reef Check Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs)
“ I guess it has been a longer evolution than you might think (from Splash to Dolphins and Whales),” the Colorado based actress and environmental activist, told Diver Magazine. “ I fell in love with the ocean at a young age. My parents taught me to dive when I was 12 and I continue to dive whenever I can. But my involvement with Reef Check began only recently when I saw Dr. Sylvia Earle on CNN talking about reef conservation and protecting California’s kelp bed. I was so impressed I interviewed her out on my boat and posted the video on my own website”
“ It wasn’t long after, that I signed Reef Check’s Declaration of Reef Rights,” she continued. The Declaration is both a petition and pledge to recognize the high value of coral reefs and to encourage all people and governments to support coral reef conservation.
It was through her commitment to Reef Check that she met the Mantello Brothers -- Jean-Jacques and Francois Mantello produce the new movie. “They immediately asked me to be the voice of the film. I was ecstatic I was thrilled to do it. I understand the crisis facing our sea – all of our seas. I am doing as much work as I can to help promote the movie”
“ The movie will be opening in 30 cities across North America, and I will go to as many of those openings as possible,” said the 48-year old actress. “ We have to get the word out. As the Mantello Brothers have learned, there are now only about 300 Northern Right Whales left. We have to make people aware of the perils facing these amazing creatures.”
“ I live to dive. I have a personal goal of diving the so-called 7-Wonders of the underwater world. I love Palau but I haven’t been to the Galapagos yet,” said Hannah. “ I have my own special place where I have swam with dolphins (the location of which she wouldn’t tell Diver for fear of jeopardizing the dolphins’ safety). One time I was there, and there were leaves floating on the water. We played with a leaf for hours!”
She plans to go back one day and film the dolphins for her website Dhlovelife. The site appears almost childlike but carries a powerful ecology message. The “V-log” focuses on healthy living, renewable energy, sustainable farming and saving the marine environment.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t enough being done to protect the ocean, it doesn’t factor as large as it should in the climate crisis debate,” explaining why she uses her website to voice her concerns about how society is hurting the environment. ‘All these things are interconnected -- it is all one big system. I have participated in many different actions to fight – from opposing over-fishing to the protection of kelp beds.”
“Less than 1% of human beings have had the incredible opportunity to visit the underwater world,” said Daryl Hannah. “With this beautiful family adventure projected onto IMAX 3D screens, viewers can virtually touch some of the most incredible mammals in the world,” she said. “It is amazing how much we share with these beautiful creatures - play, family, education, community, struggles. Unfortunately, because we often are so unaware of these underwater tribes and our negative impact upon them through slaughterings and uncontrolled human activities, they are facing the greatest challenge of all: to survive the destruction of their habitat and depletion of food resources."
The actress lives the life she preaches about. Her home is off the power grid – it is solar powered and is totally sustainable. She drives a car that is fueled by recycled fast food grease and once competed in a car race driving a pink Range Rover Hybrid using cooking oil as fuel.
The American actress has made over 60 movies over the past three decades. Her best known films – Splash, Blade Runner, Steel Magnolias and Kill Bill – are not known for having a strong eco message. In fact, at the start of her career, her biggest statement was made when McCall’s Magazine named her to the list of "10 Best Female Bodies In America".
“People don’t realize how much I had to dive in Splash,” said Hannah in reminiscing about her first underwater film. “ You’d see me on screen free diving (as a mermaid) but off-camera there were safety divers ready to hand me a regulator. We did all the underwater filming in the Bahamas – Nassau and Chub Key – and in a studio tank.”
Hannah’s next film – a made-for-TV movie, will combine the science message she delivers in Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean, with the whimsical Splash. According to the Internet Movie Database, Shark Swarm is now in post-production. The film is “about how a fisherman and his family fight to take down a greedy real estate developer who has released toxins into the ocean, turning the area's sharks into bloodthirsty hunters”. Hannah plays the wife of the fisherman and fights to protect not just her family but the marine eco-system of California ‘s Half-Moon Bay.

Daryl Hannah / Dolphins and Whales 3DSidebars

Sidebar 1

Interesting websites:

Reef Check’s website.
Daryl Hannah’s website.
Jean Michel’s website.

Side Bar 2

German movie goers will not hear Daryl Hannah when they see
Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean. Actress Martina Gedeck recorded the German narration for the film. It had its European premiere last month in Berlin and is now being shown in Imax theatres across Germany.

Side Bar 3

Daryl Hannah and Martina Gedeck are the voices of Dolphin and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean. Jean-Michel Cousteau is the presenter of the film and a high priced Beverly Hills PR firm has been hired to roll the movie out around the world. Not your usual launch plan for a movie that is probably more at home at a Science Centre theatre than the local multi-plex. However the Mantallo Brothers and their 3-D Entertainment company have found success by going big!
Dolphins and Whales is the third ocean-themed film they have made. The first two have proven to be very successful. OCEAN WONDERLAND and SHARKS 3D, have grossed a cumulative $56 million at the box office worldwide and continue to show (and bring in money).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Follow-on to Daryl Hannah story - 3D movie makes money in Germany

DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D Makes Film History in Germany With Most Successful 3D Documentary Opening at IMAX(R) Theatres and Digital Cinemas

IMAX theatrical rollout continues in the US with upcoming launches at the Tennessee Aquarium's IMAX 3D Theatre, Tempe's IMAX 3D Theatre at Arizona Mills and the IMAX 3D Theatre at Providence Place Cinemas 16

SANTA MONICA, Calif. and BERLIN, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Filmmakers Jean-Jacques and Francois Mantello (the Mantello Brothers) and film presenter Jean-Michel Cousteau are pleased to announce that their new IMAX 3D Theatre film DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D has grossed USD 607,000 at the box office in Germany in its first two and a half weeks of exhibition, making it the most successful release ever for a 3D documentary film in the country. 47,000 German spectators have seen the film since its March 13th opening on just 17 screens.

Pictured above is Jean-Michel Cousteau and German narrator Martina Gedeck with their polarized IMAX 3D glasses at the film's European premiere at the CineStar IMAX 3D Kino in Berlin on March 10.