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MacGillivray Freeman Films Greenlights Giant Screen Mountain Adventure Film


Written by: MacGillivray Freeman Films
Date: July 12, 2005


Category: Press Releases

The Alps Is The Company’s Seventh Great Adventure Film® Following Such Mega Hits As Everest, Dolphins and Coral Reef Adventure; Holcim Ltd. of Switzerland Signs On As Presenting Sponsor

Laguna Beach, California, July 12, 2005 -- MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) today announced plans to produce THE ALPS: GIANTS OF NATURE, a large format adventure film set in Europe's greatest mountain range. The Alps: Giants of Nature will be shot in the giant 15/70 format using IMAX® cameras and will be released exclusively in IMAX® theatres and other large format cinemas. The $6-million film is fully-funded and production is set to begin in fall 2005 with an anticipated release to the worldwide IMAX® theatre network in 2007. The Alps: Giants of Nature is MFF's second mountain adventure film following its 1998 blockbuster EVEREST, which set worldwide box office records for a documentary and remains the most successful giant screen film ever produced.

Centered in the heart of Europe, the Alps are home to some of the most famous peaks in the world including the Matterhorn, the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. Each year they attract a pilgrimage of climbers who set out to test their strength and endurance on the peaks' craggy slopes. Featuring dramatic footage shot under extreme filmmaking conditions, The Alps: Giants of Nature will follow the footsteps of some of the most famous climbing pioneers and explore the beauty and uniqueness of this landscape. At the heart of the film is the story of climber John Harlin III and his attempt to climb the Eiger -- the mountain that took the life of his famous climbing legend father, John Harlin, nearly 40 years ago. Accompanying him will be climbing partners Robert and Daniela Jasper of Switzerland.

Filming will take place in the Swiss Alps, on the Matterhorn, the Eiger, and in the surrounding areas. The filmmaking and climbing teams will face daunting physical and logistical challenges as they attempt to capture footage in these formidable environments using the massive 65-pound, cold weather-ready IMAX camera -- the same model camera that was taken to the summit of Mt. Everest during the filming of Everest. The 6,000-foot North Face of the Eiger is considered the most difficult climb in Europe.

Holcim Ltd of Switzerland will be the presenting sponsor of the 40-minute film. The global company is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, aggregates, concrete and construction-related services. Headquartered in Switzerland and active in more than 70 countries worldwide, Holcim is proud of its strong local ties. Holcim is rooted in the Alps, both geographically and philosophically. Once a barrier to trade, the Alps became a trade route only after they were laced with an extraordinary network of roads, bridges and tunnels. Achieving this seemingly impossible feat took unparalleled engineering skill and staunch determination -- hallmarks of the people of the Alps, and of Holcim, a company that puts a high value on human endeavor. Even today, the Alps inspire people who are driven by strength, passion and aspiration for outstanding performance. Shared experience, dynamic teamwork, dedication, and trust: these values, which are embodied by Holcim, have always been crucial survival skills for those who live and thrive in this rugged mountain environment. Holcim is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this remarkable initiative about the Alps, the mountains that stand as the proud foundation of the company's worldwide success.

Producer Greg MacGillivray, two-time Oscar®-nominee and director of Everest, stated: "We look forward to returning to the mountains to make a film that has everything a great IMAX® theatre film should have: magnificent locations, spectacular photography, great adventure, and at its heart an emotional story that will move viewers and stimulate their imaginations."

The Alps: Giants of Nature is directed and edited by Stephen Judson. As a producer, director and writer, Judson played a key role in the company's blockbuster hit, Everest. The film is produced by Greg MacGillivray; executive produced by Alexander Biner, Chairman of 4iS Four Eyes Ltd.; and written by esteemed alpine climber and writer, Stephen Venables.

"Making this film presents a serious challenge because of the extreme environments and physical demands involved," said Judson. "But we're assembling an A-list filmmaking and climbing team with lots of experience on the world's top mountains, so I'm confident we'll succeed in bringing home amazing footage that will treat audiences to the majestic panoramas and unforgettable beauty of the region."

"The Alps provide a superb location that can be spectacular in the IMAX format," stated Biner. "The film is to portray significant unique features of the Alps, embedded in an emotional, at times dramatic, story in an inspiring, fascinating, way -- giving the audience insights into the Alpine range's distinctive culture and societal diversity."

MacGillivray Freeman Films Distribution Company will distribute the film under the company's Great Adventure Film® brand, which has included such mega hits as the number one giant screen adventure film of all time, Everest, 2003's large format box office champion CORAL REEF ADVENTURE, 2001's critically acclaimed JOURNEY INTO AMAZING CAVES, 2000's Academy Award®-nominated documentary DOLPHINS, and this year's new hit, MYSTERY OF THE NILE.

"This film has extraordinary potential," stated Mike Lutz, Director of MacGillivray Freeman Films Distribution Company. "We view it as a tremendous opportunity to continue moving the Great Adventure Film brand forward. Past successes like Everest and Mystery of the Nile give us confidence that the work we do with our partner theatres will bring this film to a wide global audience."

More About MacGillivray Freeman Films
MacGillivray Freeman Films is the largest, most experienced independent producer and distributor of giant screen 70mm films in the world. Throughout the company's 40-year history, MFF films have won numerous international awards including an Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2000 for Dolphins, and a 1995 nomination in the same category for The Living Sea. In 1998, the giant screen film Everest achieved unprecedented acclaim and box office success for a large format film. More recently, the company's film Coral Reef Adventure was named Best Film of the Year by the Giant Screen Theater Association. MacGillivray Freeman's films are known for their artistry and successful blend of education and entertainment, as well as their celebration of science and the natural world.

More About Holcim Ltd
Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. From its origins in Switzerland, the Group has grown into a global player with strong market presence in over 70 countries on all continents. The Group employs some 57,000 people (

More About 4iS Four Eyes AG
4iS Four Eyes AG specializes in the funding and project management of large format film productions.

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