Thursday, 1 January 1998

"Antarctica" IMAX at Dreamworld

The magnificent Australian produced Imax film Antarctica returns to Dreamworld, after being premiered at the park by the then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke six years earlier.

Dreamworld's Chief Executive Fred Maybury said "Antarctica" had been the most breathtaking and well received film shown in the park's 400 seater Coca Cola Imax Theatre.

The screening of "Antarctica" co-incides with the opening of Dreamworld's first tourism venture in Tasmania "Antarctic Adventure". Located in Salamanca Place, in Hobart, "Antarctic Adventure" features over 50 exhibits in an entertaining, educational and interactive attraction.

"The content of the film reflects that of "Antarctic Adventure" covering the biological aspects of the continent, human presence and planetary forces," Mr Maybury said.

"Antarctica was produced by an Australian team, Heliograph Productions, headed by leading Sydney-based film producer, John Weiley. Funding was provided by the Australian Film Finance Corporation and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Major logistical support was provided by the Australian Antarctica Division and the US National Science Foundation, with additional assistance from the Italian, Russian and Chinese Antarctic expeditions.

The Imax/Omnimax concept is considered the ultimate in cinematic technology. It is based on a 70 mm film size which produces the image ten times larger than the standard 35 mm image area. As a result, the Imax image yields the largest, clearest and most life-like of all modern picture images.

The production of "Antarctica" was two years in the making and was instigated by John Weiley's life-long fascination with the continent. Filming was conducted by a six member crew in two eight week seasons commencing in early 1990.

"During the first season - as guests of the Australian Antarctic Division - we travelled thousands of miles along Antarctica's eastern coastline by ship, filming the work of scientists at Australian, Chinese and Russian bases," Mr Weiley said.

"Hosted by the US National Science Foundation, the second season took the crew to McMurdo - Antarctica's largest science research centre, the iceless Dry Valleys, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, and one of the world's largest Emperor Penguin rookeries near Terra Nova Bay."

"We wanted to give the world a close insight into Antarctica, as most people will never get the opportunity to visit this great and very important continent," said Mr Weiley.

"We focused on the work of scientists and research stations, the diverse landscapes and seascapes, and the range of fauna to inhabit the region.

"We also traced the challenges that confronted the early explorers and have included actual black and white footage of Sir Ernest Shakleton's 1914 expedition, as well as a powerful re-enactment of Robert Falcon Scott's trek to the South Pole," he said.

To illustrate the many fascinations of Antarctica, Mr Weiley was supported by advanced film and cinematic technology, some of which was specifically developed for the unique conditions.

"To fully capture the scope and grandeur of the landscape, for example, we used a special wide angle lens which had never before been used in an IMAX/Omnimax film," he said.

Developed by leading aurora researcher, Dr Robert Eather - an Australian living in the USA - the design of the lens combined a Zeiss 250mm telephoto and a Nikon 6mm fisheye connected by special optics. The resulting hybrid lens captured a 220 degree field of view - 40 degrees wider than lenses previously available.

"Antarctica" opened to the public from December 20 and will run in conjunction with "Destiny in Space". Entry to the film is covered by standard admission prices into Dreamworld.

"Antarctica" Production team
John Weiley -Director, producer and co-writer
Malcolm Ludgate - Underwater Cinematographer and Co-director of Photography
Nick Holmes -Editor
David Flatman - Co-producer
Tom Cowan -Director of Photography
Michael Parfit - Co-writer
Nigel Westlake - Composer