O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists) announced their participation in the new MacGillivray Freeman Films production of Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, a film for IMAX Theatres and IMAX 3D Theatres. The film, presented by Teva and supported by Kohler Co. in association with Waterkeeper Alliance and the Museum Film Network, premieres on March 14, 2008 in anticipation of World Water Day (March 22, 2008). The movie chronicles environmental heroes Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Wade Davis, along with their daughters, as they journey down the Colorado River to raise awareness about the world's growing shortage of fresh water. O.A.R.S. provided production support as well as promotional support in the form of a national sweepstakes with a chance to win a 15-day Grand Canyon rafting trip for two. The film features songs and music by the Dave Matthew Band and an original score co-composed by the Dave Matthews Band's Stefan Lessard and Steve Wood.
Confident in O.A.R.S.' abilities to manage complex logistics, Teva and MacGillivray Freeman Films approached the California-based adventure travel company in early 2005 with the concept of an IMAX Theatre film in the Grand Canyon. O.A.R.S. has a long-standing, collaborative relationship with the National Park Service, as well as an elite crew of professional river guides who have been with the company since its inception over 35 years ago. Their intimate knowledge of the river, the canyon and the logistics necessary to provide an unforgettable journey is unparalleled. Widely recognized as an authoritative resource for environmentalists, conservationists, politicians and eco-celebrities, O.A.R.S. has guided more than 25,000 people through the Grand Canyon (and more than 400,000 people on rivers and coastlines of the Western U.S. and worldwide).
Nearly four decades have passed since a whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon captured the imagination of O.A.R.S. president and founder, George Wendt. His journey inspired him to establish an adventure travel company, which was the first exclusively oar-powered outfitter permitted to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon back in 1969. The company is now the largest and most geographically diverse river outfitter in the West, running rivers throughout Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Wyoming and the Grand Canyon. Upon reflection Wendt says, "The river's hypnotic rhythms altered the course of my life immeasurably. I had only a glimmer then of where the flow would lead me: dedicating my life and business to sharing with others, and safeguarding, such mesmerizing landscapes." Wendt is honored to be working with MacGillivray Freeman Films to bring his passion for rivers to the giant screen in 2008.
"In our film, the Colorado River becomes a metaphor for global water issues, revealing how interconnected our rivers, water supply and human actions really are," says the film's two-time Academy Award-nominated producer/director Greg MacGillivray. He adds, "A river trip is one of those amazing life events where you're ripped out of your daily routine and inspired to see the
world in new ways. With IMAX 3D images, we're able to put the audience even more into the action and let them participate in every twist and turn."
MacGillivray Freeman Films, the most experienced independent producer and distributor of special venue (70mm) motion pictures in the world and producers of the blockbuster giant-screen hit Everest, will literally make a splash with their first 3D film for IMAX Theatres, Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk. The giant-screen film combines exhilarating whitewater rafting action, family fun and the grandeur of the Grand Canyon to tell an engaging story of how ordinary people can make a difference for our parched planet – one that is running out of clean, fresh water so fast the U.N. estimates that 40% of the world could face life-threatening shortages by the year 2050.
"Safe fresh water is a human right like clean air, yet more than one-fifth of the world's people suffer without adequate clean water," says Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who recalls going down the Colorado just a few decades ago with his own father and seeing wide, sandy banks and animals that have since vanished. "My hope is that Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk will remind the world that restoring our waterways and conserving fresh water are important, not just in developing nations but here at home. The quality and survival of our civilization will depend on it."
The Colorado once flowed freely across 1,400 miles, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Today, however, the Colorado no longer consistently reaches the sea, and the river, which is a source of water and power to 25 million Americans, is literally shrinking due to a severe drought cycle now facing the American Southwest. Researchers predict this so-called "mega-drought" could last into the next century, threatening to wreak havoc among the seven states that depend heavily on the river's water.
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk is produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, presented by Teva and supported by Kohler Co. in association with Waterkeeper Alliance and the Museum Film Network. The film is directed by Greg MacGillivray, produced by Greg MacGillivray, Mark Krenzien, and Shaun MacGillivray, and written by Jack Stephens and Stephen Judson. O.A.R.S. provided production support and guide services, as well as promotional consideration.