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Planning the Production

     For Greg MacGillivray, the priority in filmmaking whether with IMAX cameras or otherwise, is irresistible storytelling. As he says: "What we want to do with our films is what any great motion picture aspires to: combining fresh locations, fascinating characters, exciting action all with spectacular, ground-breaking photography."
     In order to capture sides of ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA that had never been seen or experienced before, the filmmakers at MacGillivray Freeman knew they would have to go to extraordinary extremes, bringing the burly yet sensitive IMAX camera into situations where it was never designed to go.

      From the very inception of nature photography, the aim was always to draw the viewer into the action of the frame, but IMAX technology has taken that impulse to the next interactive level: making the viewer a part of the action, evoking the feeling that the viewer not just watching but is among the snowboarders flying down the slopes or the brave souls freefalling from an airplane. It is such an astounding technique that filmmakers using the technology are constantly tempted to use it in new, innovative ways, expanding the cinematic experiences audiences can have. In ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA, Greg MacGillivray and his team repeatedly took the IMAX camera to California places it had never been before. The camera went not only to California's highest, wettest and most remote places - it also journeyed to the global phenomenon of the Academy Awards and to the pop culture playground of California's futuristic dreams, world-famous Disneyland.


         It is one thing to capture California's most daring and dynamic adventurers with small, hand-held cameras that can easily plunge down cliffs and fall out of planes - and quite another to do so with the renowned 70-pound behemoth IMAX camera. As writer/producer Mark Krenzien explains: "You can pretty much define the production of ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA as putting a big, heavy, awkward camera in incredible situations where it doesn't really fit in - and doing amazing things creatively to make that work. The IMAX camera requires stability and precision - and we were seeking wild unpredictability. It made for some interesting situations!"

      To make sure he had the most unusual, rare and visceral footage, director Greg MacGillivray, a noted perfectionist, did much of the shooting himself, but also hired expert cinematographers gifted in certain environments such as diving, flying, surfing and snowboarding. "The spectacular visual imagery of the film is the result of Greg mixing his own incredible expertise with the expertise of other people he expertly chose," explains Mark Krenzien. "You end up with cinematography that gets to the very soul of the activity being performed."


     Krenzien emphasizes the above-and-beyond mentality that ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA team members brought to the production - and he knows exactly what drove them to such creative and technical breakthroughs: "I think when crew members realize what an emotional and immediate impact these images are going to have, it inspires them to go the edge and get something unique," he says. "I've never seen a more dedicated and hard-working group of people who knew that the end results would justify the risks, obstacles and adventure of trying to get unprecedented shots."

      In the end, making ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA added a touch of the wild's unpredictability and joy to the lives of the filmmakers. "I don't think any of us, whether native Californians or transplantees, had ever seen the state like this or appreciated more the riches it has given us - environmentally, spiritually and culturally," summarizes Mark Krenzien. "We certainly haven't captured every aspect of California's fascinating landscapes, but I think we captured the spirit of California in images that will light up the audience and carry them to unexpected places. It's an incredibly entertaining way to explore they ways in which the wild out there impacts the wild ideas and wild feelings we have inside."