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Presenting the new Giant Screen underwater adventure Humpback Whales, opening exclusively in San Diego at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on Friday, February 13.

Narrated by two-time Golden Globe® nominee, Ewan McGregor.

January 29, 2015

San Diego—Take an extraordinary journey into the mysterious world of one of nature’s most awe-inspiring marine mammals. Humpback Whales, the latest Giant Screen adventure from MacGillivray Freeman Films, presented by Pacific Life, makes its world premiere at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center at a private VIP event on Tuesday, February 10. The film opens to the public on Friday, February 13. Two-time Academy Award®-nominated director Greg MacGillivray brings giant-screen storytelling to one of the most enormous and vastly fascinating creatures on Earth in this spectacular new film. 

Narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor, Humpback Whales is a stunning mix of underwater cinematic splendor and scientific exploration. The film asks the compelling question: What is life like from a humpback whale’s point of view?

Humpback Whales takes audiences to Alaska, Hawaii and the Kingdom of Tonga for an immersive look at how these magnificent creatures sing, feed, play and take care of their young. The film follows a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of the humpback and find out what makes them the most acrobatic of all whales and why these intelligent 55-foot, 50-ton animals migrate up to 10,000 miles round-trip every year.

Humpback Whales is also a story of survival. Once very nearly hunted to extinction, today humpbacks are in the midst of a slow but remarkable recovery. Much of this turnaround is attributed to growing human understanding and concern for these animals, highlighted by our enchantment with the humpback whales’ distinctive underwater songs.

“Whales are awesome animals,” says the film’s director, Greg MacGillivray. “They are critical to the ecological health and survival of the ocean, and since they are among the largest animals to ever live on Earth, there is no better subject for audiences to experience life-size on the giant screen.” 

“San Diego has always had a fascination with whales,” adds the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center CEO, Steve Snyder. “Living by the ocean, we have the opportunity to take whale watching tours and see these amazing creatures in their natural environment. But the breathtaking underwater footage in Humpback Whales takes audiences even closer to whales. You will experience incredible, rarely seen whale behavior in the immersive environment of the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.”

Humpback Whales will make its world premiere in the world’s first IMAX Dome Theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. In attendance will be director Greg MacGillivray; researcher Fred Sharpe, who is featured in the film; Fleet CEO Steve Snyder; representatives from Pacific Life; Fleet board members; local leaders and members of the media.

Humpback Whales marks MacGillivray Freeman Films’ first film focused exclusively on whales.  Following such giant-screen hits as The Living Sea, Dolphins and Coral Reef Adventure, the filmmaking team applies all of their cumulative cinematic experience to the telling of one of the most compelling wildlife stories of our time: how humpbacks were brought back from the brink of destruction to set off a new wave of scientific discovery and human fascination with their gargantuan beauty. Humpback Whales is the third film to come out under MacGillivray Freeman’s One World One Ocean series, following To The Arctic and Journey to the South Pacific.

Humpback Whales is presented by Pacific Life and is locally sponsored by ScholarShare.

The film is family friendly and has a run time of 40 minutes.

For more information and a complete film schedule, please visit:



To schedule a special screening or interview with one of the experts related to the film, please contact Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org. A list of available experts related to the film is below.

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You’re invited to the World Premiere!

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is excited to announce that in addition to being the exclusive theater for viewing Humpback Whales in San Diego, we will also be hosting the World Premiere screening of Humpback Whales on Tuesday, February 10!

Special guests that will be in attendance include Greg MacGillivray, President of MacGillivray Freeman Films and director of Humpback Whales, and Fred Sharpe of Alaska Whale Foundation, who served as the leading on-camera expert in the film. Mr. MacGillivray will be introducing the film. After the film, Mr. MacGillivray and Dr. Sharpe will conduct a brief Q&A.

Members of the media are invited to join us for our world premiere party. Refreshments will be served. Attendees will also have the opportunity to watch a special performance of the Fleet's new live science exhibition, Don't Try This at Home, featuring all the science that’s too loud, messy and shocking to try at home.

If you would like to attend the World Premiere party for Humpback Whales, please RSVP to Nathan Young, Reuben H. Fleet Public Relations and Promotions Manager, at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org. Space is limited. RSVP by February 3, 2015.

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Media Interviews

The Fleet is pleased to have a number of representatives available for interview in conjunction with the film Humpback Whales. Representatives include the filmmaker and underwater cinematographer from MacGillivray Freeman Films, the humpback whale expert featured in the film and also local experts who can talk about the whales in the waters right off of the San Diego coast.

Greg MacGillivray
Producer, Director, Cinematographer
President, MacGillivray Freeman Films

Greg MacGillivray is a giant-screen documentary filmmaker who has produced and directed some of the most successful films in the IMAX® film format, including the box-office hit Everest and the Academy Award®-nominated films The Living Sea and Dolphins. With 35 giant-screen IMAX/IMAX 3D films to his credit, MacGillivray has shot more 70mm film than anyone in cinema history—more than two million feet. He is the first documentary filmmaker to reach the $1 billion benchmark in worldwide ticket sales. An ardent ocean conservationist, MacGillivray and his wife, Barbara, recently founded the One World One Ocean Foundation, a nonprofit public charity devoted to science education through giant-screen films and companion programming. The Foundation’s first initiative is the One World One Ocean campaign, MacGillivray’s most ambitious project yet: a sustained, multi-platform ocean media campaign aimed at changing the way people see and value the ocean. The campaign includes three IMAX films, a television series, a feature documentary, and a series of original online programming—all to be released in collaboration with MacGillivray Freeman Films over the next five years. Humpback Whales is the third film presentation of One World One Ocean campaign. (www.oneworldoneocean.com)

Dr. Fred Sharpe
Principal Investigator
Alaska Whale Foundation

Fred Sharpe is the primary cetacean expert featured in the film Humpback Whales. Fred’s work researching humpback whales’ distinctive “bubble-net” feeding technique has been the centerpiece of Alaska Whale Foundation’s research program since the organization’s inception. Tenacious in his research, he has spent more time in the field observing social behaviors of humpbacks than most could fathom. In 2001 he was awarded a doctorate from Simon Fraser University for his research and contributions to understanding humpback whales. Fred’s research has attracted some of AWF’s more eclectic collaborators, including the SETI Institute and National Geographic Society’s Crittercam team. In addition to being the leading expert featured in Humpback Whales, Dr. Sharpe has been featured in PBS’s Nature (2012), the BBC’s Ocean Giants featuring Stephen Fry (2011), National Geographic’s Crittercam (2003) and the National Wildlife Federation’s Whales: An Unforgettable Journey (1998).

Josh Jones
Local Whale Expert
Research Associate at Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Josh Jones is a Staff Research Associate at Scripps Institute of Oceanography's Marine Physical Laboratory. He has worked in whale research for the past 13 years and has a BS in Environmental Systems from UCSD. His activities at SIO include research on Arctic marine mammals and real-time detection and tracking of whales using passive acoustic monitoring. Josh is also the director of the project Whales: Voices in the Sea and manages the lab's involvement in SeaTech, a technology training and research internship program for teens from California to Alaska. Before coming to the Whale Acoustics Lab in 2003, Josh was manager of the whale research vessel, Odyssey, and led expeditions throughout the northern and central Pacific. Josh Jones is based out of San Diego.

Peter Kragh
Filmmaker, Cinematographer
Featured Cinematographer in Humpback Whales

Peter Kragh is a wildlife cameraman specializing in filming the marine environment. He was a primary cameraperson in the film Humpback Whales. His cinematic experience includes filming on the BBC’s Planet Earth series, National Geographic’s Secret Life of Predators and giant screen format films such as Deep Sea 3D, Under the Sea 3D and the MacGillivray Freeman Films Journey to the South Pacific and Humpback Whales. Peter Kragh is based out of San Diego.  

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About Humpback Whales

A MacGillivray Freeman film presented by Pacific Life, Humpback Whales is directed by Greg MacGillivray (The Living Sea, Dolphins, Everest) and produced by Shaun MacGillivray (To The Arctic, Grand Canyon Adventure). Filmed with 15perf/65mm IMAX® cameras, Humpback Whales is written by Stephen Judson (Everest, To The Arctic) with a musical score by Steve Wood (Journey to the South Pacific, To The Arctic).  A One World One Ocean production.

About MacGillivray Freeman Films

MacGillivray Freeman Films is the world’s foremost independent producer and distributor of giant-screen 70mm films with 38 giant-screen films to its credit. Throughout the company’s 50-year history, its films have won numerous international awards including two Academy Award® nominations and three films inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame. MacGillivray Freeman’s films are known for their artistry and celebration of science and the natural world. It is the first documentary film company to reach the one billion dollar benchmark for worldwide box office. www.macgillivrayfreemanfilms.comwww.oneworldoneocean.com

About Pacific Life

Offering insurance since 1868, Pacific Life provides a wide range of life insurance products, annuities and mutual funds, and offers a variety of investment products and services to individuals, businesses and pension plans. Pacific Life counts more than half of the 100 largest U.S. companies as its clients. For additional company information, including current financial strength ratings, visit www.PacificLife.com. Pacific Life refers to Pacific Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, including Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Client count as of June 2014 is compiled by Pacific Life using the 2014 FORTUNE 500® list.

About ScholarShare

ScholarShare launched in 1999 and is administered by the seven-member ScholarShare Investment Board, chaired by the California State Treasurer and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. The ScholarShare Investment Board also administers the Governor’s Scholarship Programs and the California Memorial Scholarship Program.

The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is California's 529 college savings plan, a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged investment vehicle designed to help and encourage families to save for future qualified higher education expenses. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer valuable tax advantages. Contributions are made with money that has already been taxed. Once funds are placed in the account, investment earnings, if any, are not federally or state taxed, if withdrawn to pay for qualified higher education expenses. For more information visit www.scholarshare.com.


About the Fleet Science Center:

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.