Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Growing up in 3D

Penguin tale latest adventure film


By JENNIFER LIEBRUM
Express Staff Writer

Atlantic Productions’ latest 3D film from, “The Bachelor Penguin,” charts the journey of a typical king penguin from adolescence to adulthood, from party animal to fatherhood. Courtesy photo

Anthony Geffen is on a roll and he knows it.

The director of award-winning Imax films like "Flying Monsters 3D" and triple Emmy-winning series "First Life With David Attenborough" is propelled by those successes to keep pushing the envelope with his cutting-edge production team.

Geffen and Atlantic Productions are soon to release "The Bachelor King 3D," and Geffen will be spending the holidays in Sun Valley with his family in advance of its release. While he's in town, he will bring a preview to the Community Library in Ketchum and give a free talk about his experience in film on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 6 p.m.

"We've had a phenomenal year—it's been a great year," Geffen said. "It's not about winning awards, but it's very nice and it helps us to be continually backed in these things that we know we want to and can do."

Geffen said his ideas all come from an internal inquisitor.

"I think every subject has something at the heart of it that is fascinating," he said. "I'm fascinated to find that story and then tell it in a very accessible way to a worldwide audience. Fact is always more interesting than fiction."

The trick, with all the technological advances and temptations to allow for fantasy to take the place of reality, "is not to water down the subject," he said. "You want to take the integrity of the story with it."

His shoots are complex and require massive crews and often exotic locales, like Antarctica for the latest film, and Mount Everest for the film "The Wildest Dream," about George Mallory's legacy since he died on the mountain.

Atlantic Productions is one of the world's leading factual production companies with television and theatrical films, which are seen around the world. Founded in 1992, the company specializes in new techniques and technologies and has built pioneering cross-platform projects.

Among the films and series are "The Promised Land," "The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization," "Egypt Unwrapped" and "When Rome Ruled," a National Geographic Channel show that looks at the most iconic names and places of ancient Roman history using a combination of innovative computer-generated imagery and expert opinion.

"We're lucky enough to be telling a lot of great stories right now," Geffen said.

The latest story is about an adolescent penguin told through the eyes of the penguins.

Stunning 3D cinematography takes the viewer into an extraordinary sub-Antarctic island. The Bachelor King has returned from a three year party to the place where he was born and raised: Penguin City. This is one of the most densely packed, sought-after pieces of real estate in the entire Southern Hemisphere and somehow he must establish his own place in it. He must find a mate. He wants to be a dad.

What follows is a journey through the most challenging time of the Bachelor King's life.  There is joy and terror, and a ton of hard work. He meets the female penguin of his dreams, and together they set out to raise a family. Before long, they produce an egg. The two of them take turns nurturing it—one incubating, while the other zooms off to sea to find food. And then, one happy day, their chick hatches. And the hard work really begins.

Geffen said he's learned from past speaking ventures to bring a lot of clips, which he promised to do this time. 

For those whose curiosity about the Antarctic is piqued by Geffen's talk, it dovetails nicely with the Center for the Arts' multidisciplinary exhibit "Thin Ice" with photos, speakers and art from the Antarctic.

For Geffen, he feels just fortunate that he is able to come back to Sun Valley, a place where he feels at home.

"It's great to talk to people in Sun Valley," he said. "I feel very much a part of the community. It's a great place to be because people share their experiences and the library is a great place to do that.

"It's always great to come back after traveling all over the world and to be back where we can always find our old friends and relax."




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