TORNADO ALLEY STORMS INTO THEATERS
Nature’s Power is Revealed in the New Giant Screen Film
Opening in IMAX® and other Large Format Theaters
March 18th, 2011
CLEVELAND (March 3, 2011) — Tornado season is fast approaching in the region of America’s heartland known as “the severe weather capital of the world”—and on March 18, 2011, Tornado Alley, an explosive new film narrated by Bill Paxton (Twister, Titanic), will bring nature’s most dramatic weather phenomena to giant screens around the globe.
Widely considered the most eagerly awaited IMAX release of the decade, Tornado Alley follows daring large-format filmmaker Sean Casey (star of the Discovery Channel's wildly popular Storm Chasers series) and the researchers of the VORTEX2 initiative on a thrilling quest to witness the birth of a tornado from its very heart. Armed with an IMAX® camera, a fleet of customized vehicles designed to withstand gale force winds, torrential rains and unrelenting hail, and an arsenal of the most advanced weather measurement instruments ever created, Casey and the VORTEX2 scientists take audiences on a heart-pounding mission to experience a tornado's destructive power while gathering the most comprehensive extreme weather data ever collected.
Carrying a ninety-two-pound IMAX® camera, director Casey and his crew race after storms in TIV-2, a seven-ton armored “tornado intercept vehicle” engineered and built by Casey to help him capture what he considers a cinematic “holy grail,” a shot of a tornado from point-blank range. Tornado Alley is the culmination of Casey’s efforts and will give audiences the chance to ride along—and to experience a visual powerhouse of never-before-captured tornado footage on the giant screen.
“Tornadoes are surreal, unimaginable,” Casey says. “I want to witness something that I am truly in awe of. My dream has always been to get footage that’s as powerful as the subject matter. There’s a huge difference between filming a tornado from a couple miles away with a telephoto lens, and filming a tornado that’s on top of you with a wide-angle lens. After eight years, I’m thrilled to finally share these incredible experiences with audiences everywhere.”
Tornado Alley is also a heart-pounding science adventure, following leading researchers Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba and Don Burgess, along with the scientists of VORTEX2, on their quest to penetrate a tornado’s inner workings. The most ambitious scientific mission of its kind, VORTEX2 was comprised of over a hundred severe-weather researchers from all over the world and their fleet of radar trucks, mobile mesonet vehicles and the most sophisticated weather-measuring instruments ever created—used to literally surround tornadoes and the supercell storms that form them. Their ultimate goal: to better predict where and when tornadoes will strike, and to provide warnings that give those at risk a few more minutes to protect themselves and their families.
Don Kempf, producer of the film and president of Giant Screen Films, said “Tornado Alley is just an incredible film for the giant screen market—it’s the perfect topic, really. This medium is, after all, about taking audiences to places where they cannot go themselves, and doing so via the most immersive cinema experience in the world. Just as audiences were taken to the top of the world in Everest, audiences will now be taken into the very heart of a ‘perfect storm’ in Tornado Alley, and on six-story-high screens all over the world. Practically no one in human history has ever ventured to the inside of a tornado—certainly not on purpose and with their eyes open. Now, millions of people around the world are going to experience this very phenomenon, but in the comfort and thrill of a giant screen theater experience. This truly represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”
In addition to the powerful immersive experience Tornado Alley will provide in the theater, an innovative outreach campaign will allow audiences to connect with the science and technologies of severe weather research up close and in person. Sean Casey and the TIV will make appearances at museums across the country, beginning in Chicago. A generous grant from the National Science Foundation will send the TIV’s scientific counterparts, the “Doppler on Wheels” radar trucks, known as DOWs, along with members of the VORTEX2 research team, on a similar tour. They’ll provide demonstrations of the vehicle and its research tools and will participate in special public events, offering a truly unique opportunity for audiences to engage with cutting-edge science and to meet some of the world’s most daring researchers.
Tornado Alley is a production of Giant Screen Films and Graphic Films. Major funding was provided by the National Science Foundation with additional support from the Giant Dome Theater Consortium. The film is distributed by Giant Screen Films of Evanston, IL.
For more information, visit the Web site: www.tornadoalleymovie.com
About Giant Screen Films
Over the past decade, Giant Screen Films (GSF) has established itself as a pioneer in the large format/ IMAX® industry. Since 1997, the company has built a reputation for producing and distributing films that, through the magic of immersive sight and sound technologies, offer viewers an inspiring perspective on the world presented on giant IMAX® canvas. GSF’s mission is to create and share films that push the boundaries of the large-format medium, challenging the imaginations of children and adults around the world. At the core of this mission is a dedication to the partnerships that bring a diverse range of subjects to the screen and, through meaningful educational collaborations, extend each film’s impact far beyond the theater.
About the Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center is one of the nation’s leading science and technology centers and home to Northeast Ohio’s NASA Glenn Visitor Center and Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s MC2STEM High School’s freshman class. Its mission is to stimulate interest in and increase understanding of the sciences, with a particular emphasis on the interdependence of scientific, environmental and technological activities in the Great Lakes region. It features hundreds of hands-on exhibits, themed traveling exhibits, daily demonstrations, the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX® Theater and the Steamship William G. Mather. The Science Center is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discounted parking is available for guests in the attached 500-car garage. Great Lakes Science Center is generously funded by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. For more information, contact the Science Center at (216) 694-2000 or visit www.GreatScience.com.
Back to index