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To The Arctic

Surviving at the top of the world

New IMAX film shows struggles of mother polar bear, twin cubs in the frigid Arctic

Syracuse summers can get pretty hot, but starting Aug. 3, you can cool off at a showing of our new film, "To The Arctic," in the Bristol IMAX Omnitheater at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology.

The film takes audiences into the lives of a mother polar bear and her twin 7-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home. Captivating and intimate IMAX footage brings moviegoers up-close and personal with this family's struggle in a frigid environment of melting ice, immense glaciers, spectacular waterfalls and majestic snow-bound peaks.

"When you're in the Arctic, you're confronted with nature in its rawest form," said director Greg MacGillivray. "You see how difficult it is for wildlife to survive there and how everything is interconnected. It's our hope that audiences who see 'To The Arctic' will get the same sense of wonder and appreciation for this incredible environment that I was lucky enough to experience during the four years it took for us to make this film."

The MacGillivrays and their filmmaking team visited the Arctic seven times over those four years, logging a total of eight months on the ice and in the Arctic sea to gather the information and images for the film. But it wasn't until nearly the conclusion of their odyssey that they discovered the stars of the show.

"We were extremely fortunate. In the final month of our seven-location shoot, we were privileged to be given our central characters," MacGillivray said, citing the mother polar bear with the twin cubs whose uncharacteristic nonchalance about strangers on her turf resulted in the most captivating footage.

"Sometimes this happens when you're on location for a documentary, and it's a real gift," he added. "Never before had filmmakers tracked a polar bear family at such close range, 24 hours a day, for nearly a week. We knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience." MacGillivray and Stephen Judson, the film's screenwriter and editor, adjusted the film's initial storyline to feature the mother and cubs.

"To The Arctic" is a MacGillivray Freeman Film, presented by Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Filmed Entertainment and directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray. The film is narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep and features a score by Steve Wood and songs by Paul McCartney.

Five Fun Facts

To The Arctic  

The polar bear is a marine mammal. Its scientific name is Ursus maritimus, meaning "sea bear".

Polar bears live in the Arctic regions of five countries: Greenland, Norway, Canada, Russia, and the United States.

Scientists believe polar bears are descended from brown bears that became isolated in the Arctic 150,000 years ago. Their bodies grew bigger for protection from the cold and their snouts grew longer so they could smell prey better.

Their white fur is actually transparent with no white pigment. It is the reflection of the sun that causes the fur to appear white.

They are so well adapted to the Arctic that they are more likely to overheat than suffer from cold. They have two layers of insulating fur, and their small ears and tails help prevent heat loss.



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