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Stunning new IMAX film sets sail at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 16, 2003) – A silvery wall of sharks darts around the corner straight at you. Then you find yourself in a dazzling marine metropolis. An octopus hides among the corals, perfectly camouflaged, while a lionfish waves its feathery, venomous spines. Suddenly, a 300-pound potato cod, feeling threatened, changes its spots right before your eyes.

This is life on a coral reef -- where some of the planet’s most diverse, fascinating and mysterious landscapes and creatures are hidden from our sight. The story of the reefs and how they’ve come to face worldwide decline is brought to life six stories tall in “Coral Reef Adventure,” an all-new IMAX theater experience that takes audiences on a fantastic voyage of discovery to the South Pacific’s reefs.

Following husband and wife cinematography team Howard and Michele Hall on a 10-month quest across the Pacific Ocean, the film captures unprecedented, mesmerizing underwater images of beauty as well as sobering images of reefs in decline. In vivid detail, the giant screen adventure reveals the vast array of unusual creatures that inhabit the reefs; introduces everyday heroes hoping to help save the reefs; and teams up with scientists exploring the reefs for clues about their health and for never-before-seen species that are adding to what we know about life on earth.

“Our film was born out of passion for the world’s oceans,” says Greg MacGillivray, producer and director of MacGillivray Freeman Films. “Howard and Michele have taken the IMAX camera into these underwater worlds so audiences will experience these far-off, magical places that are absolutely vital to our survival as a species. Their story is one not only of great human adventure, but of real hope for the future of coral reefs.”

Found in more than 100 countries around the world in sun-drenched waters in the tropics, coral reefs comprise just 1 percent of the ocean, yet nurture one quarter of all marine life. Coral reefs are the underwater equivalent of tropical rainforests, rivaling and at times exceeding the diversity of broad kinds of organisms in their terrestrial counterparts. Built over hundreds of thousands of years by tiny coral animals, a reef is a metropolis in miniature, providing services to countless species, including humans.

More than 350 million people depend on reefs for food and survival while medicines derived from reef species treat heart disease and cancers, among other illnesses. Coral buffers entire nations and anchor a multi-billion dollar tourist economy. They even help to make better waves for surfing. In fact, the reefs are part of an ocean system that helps stabilize our climate, making the rain that feeds our crops and oxygenating the very air we breathe.

“While few people on earth will ever experience the intense challenges and rewards of ocean exploration, ‘Coral Reef Adventure’ opens up this world of unprecedented beauty and great
scientific importance to everyone,” says MacGillivray. “The result is a rare glimpse at what we could lose – and also an exciting reminder that maintaining a sustainable relationship with nature is in all of our hands.”

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Downloadable images can be found at: http://www.tnaqua.org/Newsroom/Photo_library.asp

For b-roll, call 423-785-3011 or 3007

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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.

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