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Ultimate X: Production Notes

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.


Touchstone Pictures' motion picture ESPN's "Ultimate X" takes audiences inside the excitement and explosive drama of ESPN's massively popular Summer X Games. ESPN's "Ultimate X" will debut on the exhilarating giant screen when the film is released exclusively in IMAX® Theatres and Large Format Cinemas worldwide. Chronicling the breathtaking highlights and dramatic stories behind the 2001 Summer X Games in Philadelphia, ESPN's "Ultimate X" showcases the eye-popping skateboarding, BMX biking, Moto X, and street luge competitions on the giant screen for the first time. In the film, X Games stars including skateboarders Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, and Bucky Lasek, BMX stunt riders T.J. Lavin, Dave Mirra, Cory "Nasty" Nastazio, Ryan Nyquist, and Mat Hoffman, and Moto X riders Travis Pastrana, Brian Deegan, and Carey Hart share their experiences as they prepare for and compete in the ultimate championship event for action sports.

Touchstone Pictures presents ESPN's "Ultimate X," written and directed by Bruce Hendricks and produced by Art Repola. The directors of photography are Reed Smoot, Rodney Taylor, and C. Mitchell Amundsen. The film is distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in IMAX® Theatres and Large Format Cinemas worldwide.


"Every generation is looking for something that defines them," says Bruce Hendricks, director of ESPN's "Ultimate X." "People become fascinated by the events, or the films, or the music, that speak to them. I think that this generation identifies with action sports. In time, we're going to look back on people like Carey Hart, Travis Pastrana, Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek, and say that these were the pioneers of action sports, and I feel privileged that we have the opportunity to capture them now."

Now in their seventh year, the X Games attract the world's top competitors in Skateboarding, Street Luge, Wakeboarding, Downhill BMX, BMX Stunt, Aggressive In-Line Skating, Moto X, and Speed Climbing. Multiple film crew units covered all the practices and competitive events with large-format and 35mm cameras, and "Ultimate X" filmmakers orchestrated P.O.V. (point-of-view) shots through special camera mounts on bikes, skateboards and street luges, giving audiences a firsthand experience of the exhilaration and speed of these fast-paced, thrilling sports. Among the featured athletes in the film are skateboarders Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek, BMX stunt riders Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, and Mat Hoffman, Moto X riders Brian Deegan and Carey Hart.

Films such as "Michael Jordan: To The Max" and "Olympic Glory" demonstrated the outstanding result obtained by filming sports in large format, which is projected onto a screen six stories high and eight stories wide. The growing popularity and gravity-defying appeal of action sports made ESPN's X Games a perfect topic for such a project.

For director Bruce Hendricks, however, the aim of the film was to show something with depth as well as dazzle. "The real story comes about through the eyes of the athletes," says the director. "It's one thing to show great tricks and stunts, but we wanted it to become more than just a highlight reel."

Producer Art Repola agrees. "We've met some fascinating athletes with fascinating stories; we want the audience to know them both in and out of competition."

Hendricks and Repola decided that they would cover all the events as well as follow a few particular athletes more closely. "We chose the athletes based on the history of the sport and their personal stories," says Hendricks. "It doesn't necessarily have to be those who are in the run for the gold. There are great stories in those who just compete for the love of the sport."

One of the first steps to getting ESPN's "Ultimate X" in action was assembling a top-notch crew. In order to capture many simultaneous events at different arenas, an interview unit shooting 35mm film and three directors of photography shooting large format film were required.

The key department of this project was camera, and the filmmakers were able to enlist three stellar directors of photography. Reed Smoot and Rodney Taylor are two of world's best photographers of large format films, and Mitch Amundsen had worked with Hendricks on such blockbuster films as "Pearl Harbor" and "Armageddon." "Combine the three of them and you are going to get some amazing images," says Hendricks.

"It was very lucky; we were able to get the dream team, our first choice of everybody for the camera crew," Repola notes. It was a reunion of sorts for the overall crew, many of whom had worked together previously on other projects, particularly "Pearl Harbor." Their familiarity with each other also aided the communication and preparation process.

In preparation for the shoot, the filmmakers did tests with the large format cameras using varied frame rate to determine the best slow motion speed in which to film the athletes. They also experimented with different lenses, so when the athletes would skate by or ride by, their movement would show them "streaking," says Hendricks. "We did the shutter effects that audiences have seen in movies like ŒSaving Private Ryan' or ŒGladiator' to give that extra-heightened realism to the image," he notes.

The idea was to stretch the boundaries of the format and attempt things that had not yet been seen in large format. "We can slow down a trick, we can dissect it. We present a view of the stunts that you wouldn't have been able to see, even if you had been there in person. And we felt we had to do that ­ the action goes by so fast that we wanted to suspend it a little bit and break it down."

With the intense viewing experience that is possible with large format, however, "you actually have to be careful that you don't get an audience sick or dizzy," Hendricks adds. "But we wanted to really rock and roll the format."

The combination of such a high-tech filmmaking process and the unpredictable documentary-style requirements of live sports events comprised a great deal of the challenge of making the film. It is also one of the elements that made the shoot so vital, however, says Hendricks. "The biggest surprise for me coming into this project and delving into documentary style filmmaking was that I never could have scripted anything as exciting and dramatic as the spontaneous action we captured."

Three large format units and an interview unit (a total film crew of about eighty people‹much larger than an average documentary crew) were dispatched to begin simultaneous filming of the events and practices at the games. The X Games were primarily held at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, with additional events such as downhill BMX racing taking place at Camp Woodward, a gymnastics and action sports facility located out in western Pennsylvania near Pennsylvania State University.

With a typical documentary, crews can chase down their shot with video or 16mm film cameras. However, ten large format cameras were required to shoot the film, some of them weighing over 75 pounds. Says Repola, "The cameras are huge ­ some of them take two people to carry, and add to that the size of the film, the magazines, the cranesŠ" An incredible amount of daily planning was required to "minimize the moves" of the cumbersome equipment.

Also crucial to the making of "Ultimate X" was the collaboration with ESPN. Unlike films like "Olympic Glory," where the large format crew had to bid on and negotiate for camera positions, ESPN's cameras and the "Ultimate X" crew were both always in the best position to capture the action.

Rich Feinberg, senior coordinating Producer of the X Games, notes, "The X Games production is the largest single production ESPN has ever done ­ we had over one hundred cameras shooting the games." However, through continual communication, the "Ultimate X" crew and ESPN's enormous, Olympic-scale, live-coverage team were able to work in perfect harmony, says Feinberg. "For ŒUltimate X,' the filmmakers were naturally most concerned about angles and closeness to the action," he says. "And, of course, we have the same desires as we cover it for television. So, every day, we went through every sport and coverage patterns for both groups to ensure that neither of us were getting in the other's way."

Another element that necessitated a strategic approach to the shoot was the great expense of the large format film, says Repola. "The camera is running at high speed‹we burn through film pretty quickly," he notes. "We have to be judicious about what we shoot." Because of its higher frame rate, a large format camera runs one thousand feet of film in just under three minutes, as opposed to a 35mm camera, which takes ten minutes to run the same amount of film.

The crew had less than two weeks to shoot the competitions and interview athletes, as well as set up special shots that would immerse the audience in the action. Director of photography Reed Smoot observes, "Rather than just record the events, the opportunity is there to put the audience in the middle of things."

"Most of these athletes are filmmakers themselves, so it's really cool to get them involved in how to get the shot," says director of photography Rodney Taylor.

Camera operator Kim Marks agrees: "They have a great eye . . . these guys know where to put the camera a lot of the time because they are all videographers, always shooting each other."

However, this film takes the usual coverage of action sports to an entirely differently plane, explains skateboarder Bob Burnquist: "Usually, we'll have a beat-up camera. We're constantly scrounging up money to buy cameras so we can capture what we do. It's just amazing to be able to perform with all these gadgets and technological advances."

The flexibility of the athletes enabled the "Ultimate X" crew to orchestrate P.O.V. shots through special camera mounts on everything from bikes, skateboards, motorcycles, and the luge. They were also able to place cameras in the middle of ramps and racecourses. The results, says Reed Smoot, are fantastic. "We've had skateboarders and BMX riders literally just clear the cameras," says Smoot. "The TV audience will never have that perspective."

The crew had to embrace a little bit of what makes these sports "extreme" as well as in some cases the athletes barely cleared the camera operators. In one instance, Moto X rider Brian Deegan actually crashed into one of the camera units; camera operator Kim Marks and a production assistant were knocked down, but fortunately, only a dolly track received serious injury. "Deegan came off a jump, landed, lost it on the back wheel, slid out and crashed into our camera," Marks says. Deegan took it in stride as part of the games, but Marks made sure to let his wife and daughter know in advance that he was unharmed in case they were alarmed by the sight of the crash on ESPN's television coverage.

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Another thing that the filmmakers learned about the athletes was that in spite of the individuality of their sports, they demonstrate overwhelming support for each other. Notes Art Repola: "There's a camaraderie that's remarkableŠ they all cheer for each other. It's something that I haven't noticed in other sports, certainly not among competitors."

"There was a moment where Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek were on the floor at the same time," says Marks. "They were first and second in the event and happened to crash at the same time. And they got up, slapped each other's backs, put an arm around each other and walked out. It was really neat- it showed that these guys are more comrades rather than competitors."

17-year-old Moto X phenomenon Travis Pastrana points out: "The greatest part about any extreme sport is that all the athletes are Œtouchable.' Since it's really still developing as a sport, we can talk to the fans, unlike baseball or something where they'll just kind of wave and go back into the locker room." Pastrana recognized the impact that this film could have on action sports. "Anything on a sixty by eighty screen is going to be larger than life, but it is also behind the scenes, more personal, in-depth."

Skateboarder Bob Burnquist agrees: "It's our chance to show our life. This is what we do, what we breathe."

"The amount of athleticism, artistry and expression that the athletes of action sports have is extraordinary," says Hendricks. "It's remarkable, and if you've never seen it before, you need to see it in large format, because you will be hooked as a fan forever."


BUCKY LASEK (Skateboarding) was born and raised in Baltimore. Bucky, whose real name is Charles, picked up a skateboard at the age of 12 after his bike was stolen. Now 27, Bucky is one of the world's most consistent vert skateboarders, with a contest repertoire that includes more difficult tricks than any other skater. Known for his smooth, fluid style, he placed in the top 10 at every 1998 contest and took home the gold at the 1999 and 2000 Summer X Games Vert Competition. He kicked off the new millennium with gold medals in the 2000 Australian Xtreme Games and the 2000 Tampa World Cup Pro Contest, and placed in the top three in every 2001 contest he entered. He has his own signature shoe, helmet and skateboard, a Bucky Lasek action figure toy, signature trading cards, was a guest star on the Disney Channel series "The Jersey," and has been on the road with Tony Hawk's Gigantic Skatepark Tour. When he's not traveling the world for contests and demos, Bucky makes time to relax with his beautiful wife Jen and their two daughters in Carlsbad, CA.

Anywhere you go within the Bicycle Freestyle scene, the name MAT HOFFMAN (BMX) is bound to come up. Hoffman entered the Bicycle Freestyle circuit as an amateur at the young age of 13. After quickly rising to the top of the amateur class within three years, Mat leapt to the pro ranks. At age 16, he was the youngest pro the sport had ever seen. To date, he has invented more than 100 tricks - defining the sport as it is today.

Hoffman's unparalleled accomplishments as a rider are equaled by his successes in the business world. By 1991, Mat had already surpassed the amateur rank, seized the pro division and brought the sport to new heights never thought possible. Hoffman left his primary sponsor and began his own promotion company, Hoffman Promotions. He assembled a team of the best Freestyle bike riders and began organizing show tours as the Sprocket Jockey Bicycle Stunt Team.

Hoffman's skills surpassed the limits on design technology the bike industry offered at the time and decided to design and build his own bike, thus creating his second business: Hoffman Bikes. Sold in every major market in the world, Hoffman Bikes will celebrate its 11th Anniversary in 2002.

All of these experiences could easily fill a lifetime. For Hoffman, however, it was all accomplished by the age of 20. Since then, he has been a key player in building the sport. He developed the Bicycle Stunt (BS) Series to give riders everywhere a place to compete and showcase their talents. The enormous success of the BS Series inevitably attracted the attention of sports media giant ESPN, which joined forces with Hoffman Promotions in 1995 to produce and televise the series each year. The event is now a part of the EXPN Invitationals and serves as a qualifying series for the X Games, which is broadcasted to more than 35 million viewers in more than 177 countries. Hoffman and his team also organized the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., in a production called "Sport as Art."

The growth of Hoffman Promotions gave birth to the Hoffman Sports Association (H.S.A.), the sanctioning body for the sport of bicycle freestyle. In 1999, H.S.A. developed Mat Hoffman's Crazy Freakin' Bikers Series (CFB), which provides amateur and professional stunt bikers a venue in which they can compete, and advance to the EXPN Invitationals and the X Games. The H.S.A. produces all the television programming for the CFB Series, employing bikers for every job from filming to editing.

In addition, the H.S.A. organizes the bicycle stunt portions of the Soul Bowls of Huntington Beach and Hermosa Beach; in Zurich Switzerland; the international X Games Qualifiers and the X Games.

Hoffman has produced, directed and hosted several television series for ESPN including "Kids in the Way," "HBtv," "Mat's World" - a segment on "X2day," "Mat Hoffman's Crazy Freakin' Bikers Series," and, most recently, "Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 Tour." The shows focus on alternative sports as a way of life, and also touch on the undeniable effects of the music and personalities that laid the foundation and continue to shape alternative sports and athletes today.

Despite numerous injuries, 14 operations in all and more than 50 broken bones, and all the new business projects that he is involved in, Hoffman came back into the contest circuit and pushed the sport to new levels in 2000. Within the first six months of 2000, he worked his way back up to the top, becoming the Bicycle Stunt Series Champion, CFB Series Champion, European Champion and World Champion (10th time to receive World title), dominating once again.

Some of his current projects include the release of "Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 Tour," which is to be aired on ESPN2 in May and will be followed by the release of Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 video game, released by Activision. Including "Ultimate X," Hoffman is also involved in four films for the Summer and Fall of 2002: "Keep Your Eyes Open," produced by Tamra Davis; "XXX," a Rob Cohen film, starring Vin Diesel; and "Jackass-The Movie." In April, 2002, he was awarded ESPN's Action Sports and Music Award's Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently in the process of writing an autobiography, which will be released by Harper Collins in Fall 2002.

DAVE MIRRA (BMX) started riding at age four with his brother, and was jumping curbs and flying over dirt ramps by the time he turned five. He did not realize the potential he possessed until he entered his first BMX freestyle contest in Columbus, Ohio, at age ten and placed second to last. Mirra's love and commitment to riding his bike led him to discover he was best on the ramp. He quickly mastered the vert slopes and got on sponsored teams, with Haro Bikes beinghis first at age 13. By the time he graduated from high school, Mirra was a professional BMX rider and considered one of the top ramp riders in the world.

Over the years, Mirra, the most decorated athlete in BMX history, earned the nickname "Miracle Boy" for his amazing talent and innovative stunts, such as the first-ever double back flip in competition. He holds the record for the most gold medals won by any X Games athlete, with a combined total of 12 X Games medals in street and vert ­ 10 gold and 2 silver.

Mirra is one of the most recognized and respected athletes in action sports. He was voted BMX Rider of the Year at the inaugural 2001 ESPN Action Sports & Music Awards, and in 1999 he was voted Freestyler of the Year by BMX Magazine. Mirra's media exposure, action figures, TV commercials, trading cards, signature bikes and shoes make him one of the most recognized professional athletes by today's youth. In 2000, Mirra was one of two alternative sports athletes to be recognized as a notable sports icon in all of mainstream sports, with his media exposure alone reaching an approximate $2.5 million value.

Mirra has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids, and has been featured in countless magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, and ESPN the Magazine, as well as appearances on Good Morning America, Disney's "The Jersey," several celebrity challenges, and "The Late Show with David Letterman," to name a few. Outside of Mirra's BMX lifestyle, he is continuously contributing his time to give back to his fans. He has a scholarship with Camp Woodward for six kids to spend a week at the famed training facility camp in Pennsylvania, has been involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Sports Spectacular, and created the Mirra X-Treme Fun for X-Treme Causes, which benefits the American Cancer Society. Currently, Mirra resides in Greenville, North Carolina.

TRAVIS PASTRANA (Moto X), at age 18, is the world's best freerider. He started at age of four with a one-speed Honda Z-50, and soon after hammered his way through a string of National Amateur Motocross titles (five-time National Amateur Champion), becoming World Freestyle Champion at age 14, and an icon in the world of moto. He has yet to lose a freestyle contest he has ridden, taking the gold in Freestyle two years in a row at the X Games, clinched the 125 Nationals, and became the youngest rider on the winning Motocross des Nations team. In addition to racking up a full resume of jump-contest victories and video parts, Travis graduated from high school three years early, and is taking classes at the University of Maryland. Travis, well-known for his innocent, Mr. Nice Guy attitude, is on his way to become one of the sport's all-time greats.

BOB BURNQUIST (Skateboarding) has long been regarded as one the best vert skaters by his peers. Bob grew up in San Paulo, Brazil, and began skating at age 11. In May, 1995, as a virtual unknown at the Slam City Jam in Vancouver, Canada, he competed against every top skateboarder in the world, amazing everyone with his technicality, entirely switch-stance lines, and a first-place finish. His first sponsors were Brazilian skate companies, Slide and Urgh!, and currently he is now sponsored by The Firm, Es, Oakley, and Hurley. In the past few years, he's won almost every award and contest possible ­ Thrasher Magazine 1997 Skater of the Year, Transworld Skateboarding Best Overall & Best Vert Skater in 1999, one of Rolling Stone's Athletes of the Year for 1999, and 1st Overall in the Vans Triple Crown for Vert Skating. In the 2000 X Games, Bob took home the Gold for best trick, followed by a Gold in Vert at the 2001 X Games.

Although he's now recognized around the globe as a leader for the progression of skateboarding, Burnquist hasn't forgotten his roots and is a role model for other Brazilian skaters; he has brought notoriety to the country, and opened the gates for other gifted Brazilian skateboarders. The past year has been the biggest in Bob's life. He purchased a home in Vista, CA and added his own skate pool and ramp, and became a father when his girlfriend, fellow professional skater Jen O'Brien, gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Lotus. He has two action figures and a signature trading card series, and is co-owner of Melodia restaurant, in San Diego with his family.

CAREY HART (Moto X) is arguably freestyle motocross' most well-known athlete. Riding since the age of four, he entered a local race and turned pro after graduating at age 17. He made his start in the supercross circuit, but quit the structure regimen for the no-holds-barred freestyle scene in 1998.

The creator of the Hart Attack, one of the most explosive moves in the sport, Hart has progressed freestyle motocross jumping to a level previously thought unattainable. Hart has also invented many tricks such as the Superman Seat Grab, Double Superman Seat Grab, the Hart Breaker (the back flip), and more. The Hart Breaker raised him to a whole new category as an amazing innovator for the sport and a world record holder, risking his life when he did the first ever back flip in competition on his 250cc motorcycle. His amazing stunt was featured on "Ripley's Believe it or Not" in January 2001.

Hart has traveled the globe in a quest to put freestyle motocross on the map, and attained his dream to play bass with the band Pennywise last year on the Australian Warped Tour. He is a household name in jump videos (12 so far), a regular feature in magazines with his own column (Hart On), and he's also the guy who jumped the trailer park in Kid Rock's video, "Bawitdaba". He has also been featured numerous times in Rolling Stone.

He traveled with the Warped Tour, and proved his talent in freestyle motocross' most prestigious contests. He has an action figure, trading cards, and recently released the much-anticipated "Good Times with Carey Hart" video. Hart has broken close to 20 bones, including two femurs, but will ride until he stops having fun.

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Fans are not sure if he is more gymnast, acrobat or magician. The only thing certain about TONY HAWK (Skateboard) is that he is skateboarding's primary icon. His physical skill and dazzling artistry have left fans in slack-jawed awe ever since he turned pro at age 14. Tony's talents have brought a level of attention to and respect for skateboarding which, in turn, has helped to legitimize all action sports.

Ever since older brother Steve had given him his first Bahne fiberglass model some years before, Tony wanted to skate. Two years later, to the surprise of his father, Frank, the local Little League president, Tony quit baseball at age 11 to pursue his true love. The decision proved to be fortuitous. Skateboarding eventually evolved from a favorite pastime of rebellious, tattooed teenagers to a respected action sport requiring talent, self-discipline, and intense training. Today, top skaters can earn six-figure incomes.

By placing 1st or 2nd at nearly every event in his career, and by inventing more than 80 tricks, Tony has earned fiercely loyal fans here as well as Europe, Australia, Japan and the world over. At 33, Tony is best known for his 900 (a midair 360 degree somersault done 2 1/2 times), which existed only in theory until Tony landed it live at the Summer Œ99 X Games and then again at MTV's Sports & Music Awards. In 2000, Tony wrote a best-selling book, Hawk: Occupation Skateboarder, and was awarded the ESPY for Best Alternative Athlete. His idea for Tony Hawk's Gigantic Skatepark Tour took skaters and BMX bikers to skate parks across the US. These televised events quickly became the highest rated show on ESPN2.

In 2001, Tony received the 1st ever ESPN Action Sports Achievement Award for his unparalleled achievements in skateboarding. His best-selling Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video game won three Blockbuster Awards for Favorite PlayStation, Dreamcast and GameBoy Game. And, the Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards awarded Tony Best Male Athlete and Best Video Game. Tony has appeared in commercials and campaigns for such mainstream corporations as Got Milk?, GAP, Mountain Dew, Coca Cola, AT&T, and Gatorade. When not skating for millions of screaming fans, Tony resides in California with his wife Erin and three sons, Riley, Spencer and Keegan.

RYAN NYQUIST (BMX Bike Park) started riding at the age of three, and remembers he always had a jump built in the backyard, or was riding in the front yard. Some local kids showed him a dirt jumping spot, and the rest is history in the making. Ryan entered his first competition in dirt at age 16 while attending Los Gatos High School, and in his junior year, he turned pro, and started traveling to Chicago, New York, just about anywhere he could compete. In 1998, he graduated and attended a year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but dividing time between studies and competing became too demanding, so he chose bikes. He started out riding in dirt, but competes in street and vert, and made a name for himself from this versatility. Ryan "Triple Threat" Nyquist is considered the best all around BMX rider in the sport. Constantly winning contests and tail whipping the competition, he's best known for his death defying backflip double bars spins (first to do a 360 back flip in a dirt competition) and is recognized as one of the best riders in BMX. He was named Dirt Jumper of the Year at the NORA Cup for 2000, crowned ABA King of Dirt from 1997-1999 and 2001, and swept the Dirt category at all three Vans Triple Crown Series events for 2001, earning him the championship and the Best Overall Dirt award. He has progressed further in a couple of years than many riders do in their entire careers, and has an action figure, trading cards, signature shoe, was recently a guest star on "The Jersey," and has numerous features in many varied publications.


BRUCE HENDRICKS (Writer/Director)

ART REPOLA (Producer)

REED SMOOT, A.S.C. (Director of Photography) has served as Director of Photography on dozens of feature films for television and theatrical release, including "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" for Walt Disney Pictures, "The Windwalker," "Russkies," the critically acclaimed NBC miniseries "The Long Hot Summer," and the Academy Award®-winning documentary feature, "The Great American Cowboy." He has specialized in the production and photography of large format films including "Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets," "To Be An Astronaut," "Yellowstone," the Academy Award®-nominated Novomax release "Special Effects," and the Academy Award®-nominated short subject films "The Rainbow War" and "Ballet Robotique." He directed, photographed, and co-produced the IMAX® film "The Great American West," served as Director of Photography on the National Geographic IMAX® film, "Mysteries of Egypt," and was one of the five large format cinematographers selected to film the Nagano Winter Olympics for the production of "Olympic Glory." He was Director of Photography on the GSTA Best Cinematography Award-winning IMAX® 3D film "Journey of Man" for Sony Pictures/Cirque de Soleil, and photographed "Shackelton's Antarctic Adventure" for NOVA large format films. He was also co-Director of Photography on the IMAX®-produced music film, "All Access." Most recently, Smoot has worked on three Giant Screen films: "China: The Panda Adventure," "The Human Body," and "Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees." He was presented with the Kodak Vision Award 2001 at the Large Format Cinema Association Conference in May for his contribution to the large format film industry and is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.

RODNEY TAYLOR (Director of Photography) has eleven years of experience in large format films. His credits include the Academy Award®-nominated "Alaska: Spirit of the Wild," as well as "Loch Lomond: Legend of the Loch," "Wildfire: Feel the Heat," "Amazing Journeys," "Twang," and "All Access." He began his large format career as a camera assistant with George Casey and Graphic Films on such films as "Ring of Fire," "In Search of the Great Sharks," and "Africa: the Serengeti." Some of his other credits include the feature films "Sparker, Morning, and Riders," which appeared at the 2001 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. He recently completed work as the 2nd Unit Director of Photography with director Michael Apted on Sony Pictures "Enough," starring Jennifer Lopez. He won the 1999 International Cinematographers Guild Film Showcase Award for his work on the 35mm short film "Grind." Taylor began his career in cinematography in 1982 shooting live sports for ESPN, ABC, TBS, and others. He continued to use this experience shooting the large format films "Michael Jordan to the Max" and "Olympic Glory." Over the last twenty years he has traveled extensively in Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Alaska, Scotland, Ireland, Christmas Island, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. He now lives in Venice, California with his wife Linda and daughter Chloe.

C. MITCHELL AMUNDSEN (Director of Photography) was the Second Unit DP on "Pearl Harbor" and "ED TV." He has worked for years behind the camera on such films as "Armageddon," "Man in the Iron Mask," "Conspiracy Theory," "Flipper," "Higher Learning," "Bad Girls," "In the Line of Fire," "The Handmaid's Tale," "Heathers," "House on Carroll Street," "Raising Arizona," and "Rumble Fish," amongst others.

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