Iain Kerr Attends Premier of IMAX Film 'Humpback Whales'

Earlier this week, I was invited to the San Diego premiere of the new IMAX film Humpback Whales, hosted at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego. The film is a collaborative project between MacGillivray Freeman Films and Pacific Life. The introduction to the film was made by Ocean Alliance’s founder and president, Roger Payne. Roger and his work was referenced a number of times during the film. Interestingly enough, back in 1989, Roger and Ocean Alliance co-produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the IMAX film WHALES, narrated by our good friend Patrick Stewart.
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Right out of the gate, it was great to hook up with old friends like Dr. Fred Sharpe who was featured in WHALES and now Humpback Whales. It was also a delight to meet up with an assortment of scientists who were at the premiere, including Dr. John Hildebrand, who runs the SCRIPPS Whale Acoustic Lab

From Left to Right: Dr. and Mrs. John Hildebrand, Dr. Fred Sharpe, Iain Kerr

From Left to Right: Dr. and Mrs. John Hildebrand, Dr. Fred Sharpe, Iain Kerr

As a small child I lived on Coronado Island, near San Diego, for a few years – so the real treat for me on this evening was that a good friend of the Kerr family for over 50 years, Blossom Sanger, was able to accompany me to the premiere.
Blossom Sanger and Iain Kerr

Blossom Sanger and Iain Kerr

I take my hat off to MacGillivray Freeman Films and Pacific Life for taking on the challenge of making this remarkable film. If you have ever tried to shoot a photo of a whale with a regular camera, you can only imagine how hard it is to use a camera the size of a small suitcase. Two minutes of 70mm film run through the IMAX film camera at a cost of over $2,000 per roll of film – so as soon as you start shooting you are majorly impacting the film budget and running out of film. With an IMAX film, the camera also can’t pan and zoom as you might with a normal camera – or you will have the misfortune of making the audience feel sick.
Humpback Whales was a spectacular film, must-see for all whale lovers. With shoots in locations like the Kingdom of Tonga, Alaska and Hawaii, the movie is a tour de force of humpback whale habitats, lifestyles and threats. I was most impressed by the breathtaking underwater footage, shot principally by Howard Hall – absolutely stunning.
The problem that all of us have in the whale and ocean conservation movement from time to time is getting across the immense size of these magnificent animals. No matter how big your TV screen is, it is hard to understand the perspective of an animal that is at least 48 to 62 feet long, sometimes even more, and weighs over 40 tons. This is where the IMAX film format excels – as you sit in your chair watching Humpback Whales, you are literally swimming with whales – without getting wet.  The film opens nationwide today (Friday 13th) including at the Museum of Science and the Boston Aquarium.  Don’t Miss it.
– Iain Kerr, CEO.
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The video below is the trailer for the IMAX film WHALES, from 1989, featuring Roger Payne.

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