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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hurricane Katrina, in IMAX


Wow - this is an unbelievable story from Tuesday's USA Today: before Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, writer and director Glen Pitre was working on an IMAX documentary about what might happen to New Orleans if a powerful hurricane ever hit the city. The film's producer is MacGillivray Freeman Films, which also made the Imax documentary "Everest."


USA Today's Scott Bowles writes:


    The writer and co-director of the movie [Pitre] owns a home in the city and flew back before the storm to board up his house. When Katrina finally passed, he says, "I realized we needed to show people what really happened here, because TV news wouldn't do it justice."


    Pitre and [co-director Greg] MacGillivray sent gear and photographers back to the region. They borrowed a helicopter from Universal Pictures, which was filming Miami Vice in Florida.


    "The helicopter still had all of the police logos from the movie," Pitre says. "So while the media was getting shooed away, we could fly anywhere we wanted."


    But he wasn't prepared for what he saw. Bodies littered the roadside. Residents begged for help.


    The filmmakers became rescue workers, giving out food and sodas from their van to parched residents. They offered their radios to those who were desperate for communication. They rescued a Labrador retriever that had been trapped in a home. The dog, now named Hurricane, lives in Los Angeles with a photographer.


No release date is yet set for the movie. Hard to imagine that it won't be one of the most widely-seen IMAX movies to date. (Though I do pray there won't be a 3-D version.)