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"Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure"
brings amazing survival story to
Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater

 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2001) - Experience a treacherous ocean voyage, the unforgiving cold of the Antarctic and a trek over uncharted glaciers in one of the greatest survival stories of all time during "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure," opening Jan. 3 at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater.

The large-format film is narrated by Kevin Spacey and tells the true story of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated 1914-1916 British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Although the expedition never accomplished its goal of the first crossing of the Antarctic continent, it has become a larger-than-life testament to heroism and human endurance. Despite harsh conditions, all 28 men survived two years in the barren, frigid Antarctic when their ship, the Endurance, was caught in pack ice and eventually crushed.

"Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" recounts a true story of epic proportions that is ideally captured in the giant-screen format," said Susanne Simpson, executive producer. "Viewers will feel as if they have been transported back in time to experience what is considered to be 'the greatest survival story of all time.'"

In December 1914, Shackleton set sail with his 27-man crew, many of whom, it is said, responded to the following recruitment notice:

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success. -Ernest Shackleton.

Ice conditions were unusually harsh, and the wooden ship-which Shackleton had renamed the Endurance after his family motto, Fortitudine Vincimus, translated "by endurance we conquer," became trapped in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. For 10 months, the Endurance drifted, locked within the ice, until the pressure crushed the ship. With meager food, clothing and shelter, Shackleton and his men were stranded on ice floes, where they camped for five months.

When the floe on which they were living drifted into open leads of water, the men sailed the three small lifeboats they had salvaged to a bleak crag called Elephant Island. They were on land for the first time in 497 days; however, the island was uninhabited and, due to its distance from shipping lanes, it provided no hope for rescue.

Recognizing the severity of the physical and mental strains on his men, Shackleton and five others immediately set out to take the crew's rescue into their own hands. In a 22-foot lifeboat named the James Caird, they accomplished the impossible-sailing 800 miles through the world's worst seas to South Georgia Island, where a whaling station was located-a feat considered one of the greatest open boat journeys of all time.

The six men landed on an uninhabited part of the island, however, so their last challenge was to cross 26 miles of uncharted mountains and glaciers, considered impassable, to reach the whaling station on the other side. Starved, frostbitten and wearing rags, Shackleton and two others made the trek and, in August 1916, 22 months after the initial departure of the Endurance, Shackleton himself returned to rescue the men on Elephant Island. Although they had withstood the most incredible hardship and privation, not one member of the 28-man crew was lost.

Beyond including the super-sized, crystal-clear, "you-are-there" images for which giant-screen films are best known, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure features the remarkable original still photography and 35mm motion-picture footage of Frank Hurley, the official photographer for the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Hurley, known as a man who would go to any length to get a shot, documented the ordeal, which will provide viewers of Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure with an intimate look at the experiences of these 28 men as they struggled to survive and save themselves.

To provide perspective on what Shackleton and his men accomplished, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure highlights the experiences of three of the world's most-accomplished mountaineers-Reinhold Messner (Tyrol), Stephen Venables (England) and Conrad Anker (USA)-who retraced the historic steps of Shackleton and his two crew members across glacier-clad South Georgia Island.

SHOWTIMES:
Sunday - Thursday: 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM & 5 PM and
Friday - Saturday: 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM & 9 PM ET

Shackelton's Antarctic Adventure is sponsored by Morgan Stanley and Comcast.

www.shackletonsantarcticadventure.com
www.pbs.org/nova/shackleton
www.aande.com/tv/shows/shackleton/scenes.html

The Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater is located in Chattanooga. Ticket prices are $7.25 per adult and $4.95 per child, ages 3-12. Admission to the Tennessee Aquarium is $12.95 per adult and $6.95 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX 3D Theater are open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas and are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited Aquarium visits and IMAX discounts. To join, call 267-FISH.


 

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