Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Great White Shark" Comes to the Ontario Science Centre









Just in time for the PA Day and long Thanksgiving weekend, the Ontario Science Centre is debuting a new IMAX film on October 11. Great White Shark is a documentary, designed to teach us about these magnificent creatures and to help us see them in a new light.

"Our mission is to change people's attitudes toward the great white," said Steve McNicholas, co-director of the film. "It's not the menacing, evil predator it's made out to be. It's simply performing its crucial role at the top of the ocean's food chain. Great whites are not monsters any more than the polar bears or lions that we revere."

Little Boo and I were able to see this film on Tuesday night at a media preview event.  It was our first IMAX experience, and, given his love of sharks, it was a great opportunity for us. The visuals are stunning and we learned a lot.
William Winram freediving with a Great White Shark in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico This is a still frame from the movie, shot using Red Epic cameras Photo: D.J.Roller
William Winram freediving with a Great White Shark in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Photo: D.J.Roller
Great White Shark was filmed over the course of three years, with footage from Los Angeles, Guadaloupe, South Africa and New Zealand. The film studies the habits and personalities of these sharks, and follows the work of specialists as they tag the creatures in an attempt to track their migrations and learn more about their life cycles. Footage of great whites breaching, hunting seals, and swimming with free divers provides thrills and chills.

Conservation is a key message of the film and the filmakers have teamed up with the international conservation organisations Oceana and WildAid to help educate viewers. “Over one-third of all open-ocean shark species are endangered, and up to 73 million sharks are killed by fishermen every year to make shark fin soup that is sold throughout Asia,” said Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid. “A shark is finned, and 98% of the shark is dumped back into the ocean to die.”

It is difficult to raise sympathy for a creature seen as a monster. If this film can help to change our opinions of the great white shark, perhaps it can help to support efforts geared toward conservation of this important species.

For more information on this film, please visit http://www.greatwhitesharkfilm.com/. For screening times and admission information, please see http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/.

One personal note - I'd recommend sitting as close to the middle of the theatre as possible in order to get the best possible view of the IMAX screen. We were sitting fairly close to the front, and although most of the film was fine, there were a few scenes where the close-ups felt just a bit too close for me to fully take in. Overall, Little Boo and I give this two thumbs up :)

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