On Friday October 5th a breathtaking new giant screen adventure from SK Films, is coming to the Heikoff Dome Theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Based on a remarkable true story, the epic film immerses viewers in a triumphant journey of perseverance that spans thousands of miles and several generations. Audiences will join scientists in tracking monarch butterflies to their mysterious Mexican winter haven where they will discover a truly spectacular sight: hundreds of millions of live butterflies in one of the most amazing places on Earth!
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES is the awe-inspiring story of two unlikely heroes that share a common strength. Based on true events, it follows the epic journey of the iconic monarch butterfly in one of the most incredible migrations on Earth and the equally epic quest of determined scientist Dr. Fred Urquhart, who spent 40 years trying to discover the mysteries surrounding their journey and secret winter hideaway.
What began with a small boy daydreaming about where butterflies went each winter became a lifelong pursuit by Urquhart, who ingeniously enlisted the help of legions of volunteers, known as “citizen scientists,” to help with tagging and tracking the butterflies. The decades-long quest yielded the ultimate discovery of the monarch butterflies’ wintering sites in the sanctuaries of Mexico.
Through spectacular Giant Screen/IMAX® technology, audiences are transported into the tiny world of one intrepid creature—Dana (Danaus Plexippus)—and her offspring as they migrate north from Mexico, through the U.S., to Canada and back south again to the captivating hidden butterfly sanctuaries set 10,000 feet high in the mountains of the states of Michoacán and México.
The iconic monarch butterfly is a true marvel of nature. Weighing less than a penny, it makes one of the longest migrations on Earth across a continent, with pinpoint navigational accuracy, to a place it has never been. While much has been learned, scientists are still unraveling the many interrelated aspects of this phenomenon of the natural world. As the film illustrates, it takes two to three generations of butterflies to migrate north from Mexico through the U.S. to Canada and one “super generation” to complete the migration back south to Mexico.
In the immersive Giant Screen environment, moviegoers will experience this journey up close and see the evolution from egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly captured for the first time, thanks to MRI and micro CT scans—which bring audiences closer to the action than ever before. The close-up/macro photography work was undertaken in collaboration with Oscar® winner Peter Parks (The Tree of Life). The film team also travels high into the mountain ranges and up tree canopies into the monarch sanctuaries of Mexico to capture stunning real footage of hundreds of millions of these magnificent creatures.
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES is a trilateral co-production between Mexico, Canada and the U.K. Director Mike Slee co-wrote the script with co-Executive Producer Wendy MacKeigan (Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta, The Water Brothers). The film’s Executive Producer is Jonathan Barker (Bugs! 3D, Into the Deep 3D).
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES received major funding from the National Science Foundation and includes an extensive educational outreach program, built in partnership with The Maryland Science Center. The world’s top monarch butterfly experts, including Dr. Chip Taylor, Dr. Karen Oberhauser and Dr. Lincoln Brower, served as scientific advisors to the film. Major support has also come from the Mexican Federal Government (Environment & Tourism) and the states of México and Michoacán, as well as from two of the most important companies in Mexico: Coca-Cola FEMSA, and Grupo Bimbo (the world’s largest baked goods company).
In 2008, UNESCO declared the monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico a World Heritage Site. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed and milkweed habitats for survival. Despite efforts by the Mexican government to protect the sanctuaries, enforcement is difficult in remote regions and several forces persist in threatening the survival of the monarch butterfly migration, including the degradation of forest habitats, climate change, and side effects from industrial farming.
Significant portions of the film’s box office revenue will go toward monarch butterfly conservation through Mexico’s leading conservation organization, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza.
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES opens Friday, October 5, 2012, and will run in an open-ended engagement. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Heikoff Dome Theater is located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. IMAX admission (1 film + access to all exhibit galleries): Adults $15.75; Children $12.75; Seniors $12.75. The Fleet’s normal hours are Monday–Thursday 10AM–5PM, Friday & Saturday: 10AM– 8PM, and Sunday: 10AM–6PM. For information on tickets and showtimes, call (619) 238-1233 or visit their website