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The Stories of Dolphins

bigImage Shark Attack

In the Patagonia segment of Dolphins, the research team and film crew hoped to study and film a dolphin behavior few people have ever witnessed-the dramatic technique of herding fish into giant "bait balls."  It wasn't an easy endeavor, however, as Paul Atkins, an award-winning natural history cinematographer and the leader of the underwater film team in Patagonia, found out.

One of Atkins' more memorable moments in Patagonia occurred when he was pushing the unwieldy camera through the water, trying to get close to a baitball which he thought was nearby.  Visibility underwater was only about 10 feet.  The water in Patagonia is dark, deep and filled with plankton.  Suddenly, a shark slammed into Atkins' ribcage.  Assistant cameraman Zuccarini saw it, but Atkins didn't, at least the first time.  When the cameramen went back under, the dolphins started circling them, like they were the bait ball, which may have cued the shark that it was feeding time for him, too.  He came up again, hitting Atkins in the arm.  Zuccarini said, "I wouldn't say it was a terrifying experience because both Paul and I have been in a lot of ocean situations over the years.  I'm sure the shark quickly realized Paul wasn't the soft, squishy fish he was expecting so he immediately backed off.  It's just very intense to see a shark swimming vertically toward you, because you know it's after something!"

Playing With Dolphins

Though the film crew set record film-loading times-they could hoist the camera housing back into the boat, remove the camera, clean the port, change batteries, and re-pull the new film in under five minutes-this seemed like an eternity to a waiting cinematographer and the stars of the show:  the dolphins.  Assistant cameraman Pete Zuccarini, an accomplished underwater cinematographer himself, played with the dolphins to keep them near.  He says, "They want to be moving, so body language was our dialogue.  I'd swim and dive, mimicking them, and then add something unpredictable to my motion to keep them interested in me."  Zuccarini was free diving, using only mask, snorkel and fins.

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Film Info

Video Clips

BMZ Originals:

Dolphins: What the Kids Are Saying Real 300 K

Dolphins: What the Kids Are Saying Real 56 K

Clips & Trailers:

Dolphins Trailer MPEG

Dolphins: Trailer Real 300 K

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A MacGillivray Freeman Film, in association with the National Wildlife Federation. Producers: Greg MacGillivray, Alec Lorimore. Director: Greg MacGillivray. Distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films Distribution. Japanese Distributor: Sarai Inc. Executive Producer: Christopher N. Palmer. Writers: Tim Cahill, Stephen Judson. Directors of Photography. Greg MacGillivray, Brad Ohlund. Narrator: Pierce Brosnan. Music by: Sting.


BMZ Reviews:

BMZ Review of Dolphins By Herb Lash

I Need You Like This Hole In My Head By Ross Anthony

Outside Reviews:

"Dolphins" By Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly

"Dolphins" By Vladimir Zelevinsky, The Tech (MIT)

"Dolphins more than IMAX eye-candy." By Bruce Kirkland, Jam! Movies

"Under the Sea" By Maryann Johanson, The Flick Filosopher

"Dolphins" By Norm Schrager, 24 Frames Per Second

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BMZ User Reviews

Rating: Excellent
Posted by: jodidemom
...

Rating: Excellent
Posted by: Dirv
...

Rating: Excellent
Posted by: ken_vandine
Great movie! Makes me want to move to the Bahamas and play with the Dolphins everyday :-) ... Read More >>