Film producer Jake Eberts has a reputation for making films that no one else would or could make, films including Gandhi, Chariots of Fire and Dances with Wolves. The film he’s involved with now is even bigger - as big as the blue whales it depicts.Move over crittercam, torpedocam is the new hotness.
The picture is titled Oceans, and it’s the latest production by Jacques Perrin, the creator of the legendary “Winged Migration“, a beautiful film about birds in flight. Meeting Perrin shortly after Winged Migration was released, Eberts joked with Perrin, “I bet you’re thinking about birds”. Perrin responded that he wasn’t - he was thinking about whales, about sharks and octopus. This resonated with Eberts, who remembered seeing a Beluga whale while sailing as a boy, and always wanted to see the blue whale in the water.
The idea behind the film is to give an emotional connection to 70% of the earth’s surface, a part of the planet under threat from global warming and pollution. It’s not a narrative film in a conventional sense - instead, it’s an impressionistic portrait of the world’s oceans with foot shot on, above and under water. The technical challenges of the filming were substantial - Eberts tells us about a cinematographer who spent 28 days submerged with a camera, attempting to film blue whales underwater, and failing. To obtain footage, the team designed new camera mounts for helicopters, cameras on torpedoes, and cameras capable of filming dolphins swimming at full speed.
It’s cost more than $75 million to film thus far, a sum out of reach even for feature films, never mind documentaries. It’s been financed by investors, sponsors and foundations, and will be released in France in October 2009 on Pathé and in the US on Earth Day, 2010 by Disney. The film has required eight years of Perrin’s life and now exists as 300 hours of footage, which need to become a two hour feature. The nine minutes we got to see here at TED were breathtaking, and I can’t wait to see the rest.$75 million for a documentary on the oceans, now we are talking! Way to go Disneynature and keep these nature films coming.
Can't wait for this one to come out.
via Ethan Zuckerman