Press Release from California Science Center
Los Angeles – For thousands of years, culture, faith and innovation have flourished alongside each other in the desert wonderland of the Arabian Penninsula. Now, MacGillivray Freeman Films’ ARABIA 3D offers filmgoers a deeper look at a fascinating culture told through powerful storytelling that bridges cultures and promotes understanding. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren, ARABIA 3D will begin a seven-month engagement at the California Science Center IMAX Theater, opening on May 27, 2011.
As the first major production filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia, the film explores the extraordinary 2,000-year history of Arabia through the eyes of three contemporary citizens: Hamzah Jamjoom is a film student at Chicago’s DePaul University who returns home to Saudi Arabia to make a movie about his country; Nimah Nawwab is a poet, writer and photographer who offers the female perspective on Arabia; and Dr. Daifallah Al-Talhi is a leading Arabian archeologist who is excavating the lost Nabataean city of Madain Saleh. All three are deeply invested in both their homeland’s luminous past and rapidly evolving future.
“No other medium can convey the culture and atmosphere of another land as well as a 3D IMAX film,” says the film’s producer/director Greg MacGillivray, who has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. “We spent months shooting in places where no cameras of any kind have ever been so that we could better understand this important part of the world and offer a fresh, honest portrait. This is a film full of surprises, including the surprise of how much, underneath it all, our people and cultures share in common.”
With unprecedented access to more than 20 locations, including Islam’s two holiest sites of Mecca and Medina, images of contemporary life in Saudi Arabia are masterfully weaved in with recreations of the past, utilizing state-of-the-art computer-generated effects. Audiences explore sights ranging from the lost oasis city of Madain Saleh, to sand dunes via camel caravan along an early frankincense trade route and are welcomed into a Bedouin family tent. They travel back in time to the Islamic Golden Age when monumental mathematical, scientific and philosophical breakthroughs paved the way for the Renaissance, ultimately contributing to developments in modern technology. Journeying through a breathtaking desert storm, diving among the coral reefs and ancient shipwrecks of the dazzling Red Sea and joining three million Muslims as they arrive in Mecca for the sacred Islamic Hajj – the largest gathering on the planet – gives filmgoers a sense of the complex tapestry that is Arabia.
“This film is a wonderful way of presenting Arabia, evoking all the extraordinary colors and textures of the place, the feeling off being surrounded by history and at the same time, the palpable sense of change,” says celebrated British author and historian Robert Lacey, who served as the primary consultant on the project. “I think 3D does particular justice to it, because you get the sense of a vast landscape that stretches to the horizon and a culture rooted in both its spiritual and practical past and present.”
ARABIA 3D is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films and presented in association with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. The co-producer is Mark Krenzien and the screenplay was written by Jack Stephens.
About the California Science CenterThe California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. Its mission is as follows: “We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.”
The Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, call 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $5.00 to $8.25. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213.744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th / Exposition Park Drive at $8 per car, and $25 for commercial buses or oversize vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.
About MacGillivray Freeman FilmsMacGillivray Freeman Films is one of the world’s foremost independent producers and distributors of giant-screen 70mm films with 36 films to its credit. Throughout the company’s history, its films have won numerous international awards including two Academy Award® nominations (The Living Sea, Dolphins), and three films have been inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame. In 1998 the company’s hit film Everest achieved unprecedented box office success for a giant-screen film and is currently the highest grossing giant-screen film of all time with nearly $150 million earned worldwide. MacGillivray Freeman’s films are known for their artistry and celebration of science, culture and the natural world.