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Front Page - Friday, February 27, 2015

Humpback Whales on IMAX March 6

Underwater cameraman Howard Hall filming humpbacks in Tonga. - (Copyright 2014 MacGillivray Freeman Films and Pacific Life photographer Michele Hall.)

There are 78 whale species in the world, but among them all, Humpback Whales are the only ones that sing.

Specifically, the males do the crooning, which occurs primarily during mating season. Researchers are still trying to understand these vocalizations.

Greg MacGillivray, director of “Humpback Whales 3D,” now showing at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater, says these titanic troubadours look amazing on the big screen. “Humpbacks can maneuver like no other whales and turn on a dime,” he says. “They also have a unique love of leaping, or breaching, from the water. I think of them as the ocean’s acrobats.”

Narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor, “Humpback Whales 3D” sails from the turquoise waters of the South Pacific to Africa, Hawaii, and Alaska, following their epic migration, coordinated group feeding behaviors, and tender moments between mother whales and their calves. “I was awed by their majesty, their agility, and their curiosity, and moved by the instinct the females have for motherhood,” says MacGillivray. “We have a great underwater shot of a mother who let her baby get about ten feet away from us.”

Once feared as monsters and nearly hunted to extinction, Humpbacks appear to be in the midst of a slow recovery. Now protected by global bans on whaling, the image of the Humpback has transformed 180 degrees. The result has been a golden age of cetacean science that’s now tackling the many puzzles of their intriguing behaviors. “Humpback Whales are at the center of an environmental story that offers great promise,” said MacGillivray. “With their increasing numbers, we now have an opportunity to learn more about just how magnificent, intelligent, and vital to oceanic ecosystems they really are.”

The filmmakers employed an arsenal of cameras, crew members, and techniques to make “Humpback Whales 3D” the largest production to film a story of whales in the wild. “It’s an experience we hope will allow people to get to know whales,” said MacGillivray. “The more people fall for whales, the more strongly they’ll feel about protecting them and their habitat.”

“Humpback Whales 3D” is approximately 40 minutes in length and is rated G. Go to www.tnaqua.org/imax for show times and to purchase tickets. 

Source: Tennessee Aquarium