Friday, May 30, 2008

Wild Ocean Takes IMAX® Audiences at Fernbank Museum on a Spectacular Underwater Adventure Where Africa Meets the Sea

Embark on an underwater adventure where Africa meets the sea, in the new large-format film Wild Ocean showing in Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s IMAX® Theatre from July 19 through November 14, 2008. This action-packed, inspirational IMAX® documentary explores the relationship between man and the ocean ecosystem.

Highlighting one of nature’s greatest migration spectacles, Wild Ocean plunges viewers into an underwater feeding frenzy—an epic struggle for survival where whales, sharks, dolphins, seals, gannets and billions of fish collide with the most voracious sea predator, mankind. Filmed off the Wild Coast of South Africa and set to the rhythmic dances and songs of the local people, Wild Ocean reveals the economic and cultural impact of the ocean while celebrating the communal efforts to protect our invaluable marine resources.

Wild Ocean chronicles the annual migration of billions of sardines that travel up the KwaZulu-Natal shoreline, known to locals as the Wild Coast. This migration has provided a food source not only for countless generations of people living along the African shore, but also for the ocean’s residents, including predators that journey from great distances to feast.

An amazing array of ocean life converges on the migration route in a dramatic and frenzied fashion. Bottlenose dolphins create superpods thousands strong to track down the huge shoals. Sharks sense blood in the water and join the hunt. Seals and common dolphins chase the fish from cooler currents up the coast into the warmer tropical waters. Cape Gannets, a species of diving birds, join the battle with aerial attacks from the sky. All of these animals are drawn to the scene, enmeshed in one of the most incredible mass feeding melees in the natural world.

Unfortunately such a richness of life is now rare in our seas. For centuries the ocean was considered a vast, limitless resource. As fishing practices grew more industrialized and efficient throughout the 20th century, entire fish stocks around North America, Europe and Asia began to collapse. The fish, hauled onto boats by the ton, were an integral part of a complex marine ecosystem, a link in a great food chain on which many predators depend. Eventually, entire fish species were decimated and the ocean predator populations went into a steep decline.

Now a new threat, global climate change, threatens to further damage the fragile ocean ecology. While Wild Ocean explores the causes and effects of man’s impact, it is an inspirational film looking toward a bright future, taking audiences to a rare and unspoiled marine wilderness to glimpse what the oceans of the world once looked like and reveals the steps being taken to help restore a healthy ocean ecosystem. The film champions the creation of marine reserves, ecologically friendly fishing practices, fishing limits and other measures necessary to bring our oceans back to life—with South Africa leading the way.

“Wild Ocean is a timely and uplifting film that celebrates the life in our oceans,” said Heather Heimmer, Fernbank’s Director of Environmental Education. “It’s an incredible look at how a balanced ocean needs healthy numbers from the bottom of the food chain to the top and how the South African culture has embraced this annual feeding event while doing their part to keep the ecosystem in check.”

Wild Ocean shows daily at Fernbank Museum of Natural History from July 19 through November 14, 2008. IMAX® tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students/seniors, $11 for children ages 3-12, $8 for Museum members, and free (on a space-available basis) for children ages 2 and younger.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road, NE in Atlanta. To reserve tickets by phone call 404.929.6400. For Museum information call 404.929.6300 or visit

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